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496 posts
  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), left, and Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) celebrate after the bail overhaul was approved by the Assembly.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), left, and Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) celebrate after the bail overhaul was approved by the Assembly. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California lawmakers on Tuesday passed a landmark bill that would overhaul the state’s cash-bail system, replacing it with one that grants judges greater power to decide who should remain incarcerated ahead of trial.

The proposal moved out of the chamber with a 26-12 vote and now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown, who last year pledged to work with lawmakers and the state’s top Supreme Court justice to pass the legislation.

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A landmark bill to end money bail in California passed out of the state Assembly on Monday, clearing a major legislative hurdle despite mounting opposition to last-minute changes that gave judges greater power to decide who should remain incarcerated ahead of trial.

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State Sen. Joel Anderson is facing a legislative investigation after a female lobbyist accused him of threatening to “bitch slap” her and harassing her at a Capitol-area bar last week, sources say.

  • Congressional races
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

President Trump threw his weight behind another California candidate in the closely watched midterms, giving his nod on Twitter to the GOP state tax board chair, Diane Harkey. 

It’s another sign that Republicans are concerned about holding on to the House seat being vacated by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), who announced he would retire after winning re-election by the slimmest margin in the country two years ago.

It’s a risky move, considering Trump lost by seven points to Hillary Clinton there in 2016, and that Trump’s approval ratings continue to be underwater in Orange and San Diego counties, where the 49th Congressional District is located. 

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  • California Legislature
High surf pounding the Wedge in Newport Beach on July 11, 2017.
High surf pounding the Wedge in Newport Beach on July 11, 2017. (Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times)

Let it be known that on Aug. 20, 2018, surfing became California’s official state sport.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday that enshrines surfing in the state’s code. The bill notes that surfing quickly became a California icon after being imported from Hawaii. Malibu, Trestles, Mavericks, Rincon, Steamer Lane and Huntington are California’s world-famous surf breaks. The Surfers’ Hall of Fame is in Huntington Beach. And the neoprene wetsuit, surfers’ unofficial uniform, was invented in the Bay Area.

“Nothing represents the California Dream better than surfing,” said Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), who authored the bill and has been a surfer since high school. “I’m stoked that we’re celebrating an iconic sport.”

Colorful straws sit on a counter at an L.A. restaurant.
Colorful straws sit on a counter at an L.A. restaurant. (Los Angeles Times)

The California Senate on Monday approved legislation barring dine-in restaurants from offering plastic straws to customers unless they are requested.

The measure, which goes back to the Assembly for concurrence in amendments, was introduced to address the environmental problems caused by plastic ending up in oceans and rivers.

Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) said plastic contamination is showing up in 25% of the fish sold in California.

  • California Legislature
More than a dozen protesters gather at the state Capitol to speak out against bail overhaul bill.
More than a dozen protesters gather at the state Capitol to speak out against bail overhaul bill. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Another major supporter behind a sweeping bill to end money bail in California has moved to oppose the effort after amendments unveiled last week granted greater power to judges to decide who should remain incarcerated while awaiting trial. 

Three executive directors with the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday released a statement moving the organization’s stance from neutral to opposed, saying the state legislation falls short of its intended goals and would compromise the rights to fair court proceedings for criminal defendants. 

“Unfortunately, this amended version of SB 10 is not the model for pretrial justice and racial equity that the ACLU of California envisioned, worked for, and remains determined to achieve,” read the statement from ACLU directors Abdi Soltani in Northern California, Hector Villagra in Southern California and Norma Chávez Peterson, representing San Diego and Imperial Counties.

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  • California Legislature
Investigators say a PG&E power line sparked 2015's massive Butte fire.
Investigators say a PG&E power line sparked 2015's massive Butte fire. (Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers have scuttled their effort to craft a new liability standard for electric utility companies in the aftermath of a wildfire, a leader of the negotiations said on Saturday.

“It clearly became a distraction,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), the co-chairman of a joint legislative conference committee that was convened earlier this summer to address wildfire prevention and liability issues.

California’s large investor-owned utilities contend that the existing liability rules are too onerous and costly. Under what’s known as “inverse condemnation,” a utility company can be held liable for costs related to a wildfire involving its equipment, even when the company followed all existing safety regulations.

No one needs to tell Kevin de León that his campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a long shot.