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594 posts
  • State government
A worker tends a vineyard in Napa County.
A worker tends a vineyard in Napa County. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra joined his counterparts in New York and Maryland on Wednesday in filing another in a string of lawsuits against the Trump administration, this time challenging a decision to suspend safeguards for agricultural workers.

The lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to reinstate a requirement that employers provide workers and their families with training to avoid pesticide exposure.

The lawsuit alleges that the suspension of the requirement by the EPA is arbitrary and capricious, and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Democratic candidate for governor Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters on a bus after departing San Francisco on a weeklong California tour.
Democratic candidate for governor Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters on a bus after departing San Francisco on a weeklong California tour. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would seek to model the budget-conscious ethos of Gov. Jerry Brown, but said he would be more active in the legislative process if elected to succeed him.

“I really do think Gov. Brown has created a new norm of expectations in terms of fiscal discipline,” Newsom told reporters aboard his campaign bus during a wide-ranging 80-minute interview on Tuesday. “It’s incumbent upon the next governor to model that.”

But he said on certain issues — notably healthcare and homelessness — he would be more engaged in legislative efforts in Sacramento than he believes Brown, who is termed out, has been.

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  • California Legislature
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Members of the California Legislature’s budget conference committee convene Wednesday with one task above all others: reconcile the plans put forth by their two houses, both of which would be more costly than the proposal crafted by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The 10-member committee, equally split between the Senate and Assembly but dominated by Democrats, will knit the proposals together to form most of the budget sent to Brown by June 15. The most contentious disagreements are usually settled in closed-door negotiations with the governor.

While both houses propose higher spending than Brown did in his blueprint, they also have noticeable policy differences with him on healthcare, higher education and social services. And in some cases, the Senate and Assembly disagree with each other on those topics.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans

Republican John Cox kicked off the final week of his campaign by starting a tour with GOP attorney general candidate Steven Bailey, first stopping in Bakersfield and then Fresno.

In Fresno, a small crowd of supporters gathered at the county’s Republican Party headquarters, where Chairman Fred Vanderhoof urged conservatives statewide to get behind Cox and Bailey to make sure they survive the June primary.

“Don’t let the Democrats steal the election,” Vanderhoof said.

Candidates, from left: Steven Bailey, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, Eric Early and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones at a recent debate.
Candidates, from left: Steven Bailey, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, Eric Early and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones at a recent debate. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s campaign manager disputed allegations in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Republican challenger Eric Early that the incumbent does not meet qualifications to hold office and should be kept off the November ballot.

The legal challenge alleges that Becerra is constitutionally ineligible to hold the office because he was an “inactive” member of the California Bar from 1991 to 2016, most of which was time he served in Congress.

The lawsuit argues that state law requires those holding the office to have been “admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the state for a period of at least five years immediately preceding his election or appointment.”

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa kicked off the final week of the gubernatorial campaign with a drive from Los Angeles to Fresno, where he nabbed the endorsement of Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, visited a boxing program for troubled youth and planned to end the day at a Teamsters union hall.

Dyer praised Villaraigosa for making good on his commitment to hire more officers at the Los Angeles Police Department while he was L.A. mayor, even in the heart of the recession. Fresno cut its force by 150 officers during that time, he said.

“As the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa demonstrated that continued support of the officers on the street, as well as the support of his police chiefs,” Dyer said at a noon news conference outside Fresno police headquarters. “He was responsible for ensuring that crime was rescued in the city of Los Angeles at a time with other cities were seeing an increase in crime.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Gavin Newsom speaks with media in San Francisco before departing on a weeklong California bus tour on Tuesday.
Gavin Newsom speaks with media in San Francisco before departing on a weeklong California bus tour on Tuesday. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

Gubernatorial front-runner Gavin Newsom on Tuesday predicted a bruising, divisive general-election campaign with $100 million spent against him if he and fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa emerge as the top two winners in the June 5 primary.

“You want a race that’s a just knock-out, drag-down [between] Democrats driving down turnout? I think that’s guaranteed to do that,” Newsom told reporters on his campaign bus.

He was pushing back at a narrative among pundits that his campaign’s efforts to boost the candidacy of Republican John Cox could ultimately hurt Democratic efforts to retake the House in the fall. The conventional wisdom is that having a Republican at the top of the ticket on the November ballot would increase GOP voter turnout, which could help vulnerable Republican members of Congress hold on to their seats.

A contaminated pond is left behind in an illegal marijuana grow area in Northern California.
A contaminated pond is left behind in an illegal marijuana grow area in Northern California. (Humboldt County Sheriff's Department)

Top federal and state prosecutors in California raised alarms Tuesday over the growing problem of illegal marijuana farms — including many tied to Mexico-based drug cartels — in remote public forests and parks.

They promised a stepped-up effort to shut them down.

“We are going to do everything in our power to get after this problem as vigorously and as strongly as we possibly can,” U.S. Atty. McGregor W. Scott told gathered law enforcement officials and reporters at the federal courthouse in Sacramento on Tuesday.

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  • State government

One week before the election, Jodi Remke on Tuesday submitted her resignation as chairwoman of California’s state campaign watchdog agency amid turmoil as other members of its governing panel were moving to reduce her powers.

The resignation, which takes effect Friday, comes after a majority of the state Fair Political Practices Commission supported the creation of two subcommittees to provide input on key decisions that previously have been made largely by Remke, who is the only member of the panel who has a full-time role.

Remke said she is “extremely proud” of accomplishments that include a crackdown on serious campaign finance violations and making it easier for the public to get information on lobbyists and personal finances of elected officials. 

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Mai Khanh Tran, left, is running against fellow Democrats Sam Jammal and Andy Thorburn in the 39th Congressional District.
Mai Khanh Tran, left, is running against fellow Democrats Sam Jammal and Andy Thorburn in the 39th Congressional District. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

Comedian-turned-activist Chelsea Handler made a prediction a few months ago.

“They had the ‘Year of the Woman’ in 1992,” Handler told a crowd, almost all women, who had gathered in a Los Angeles hotel ballroom over avocado toast and roasted tomatoes at a brunch for Emily's List, the group dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women.

"This is obviously going to be a bigger year for women.… Hopefully we'll win so much we'll be so sick and tired of winning."