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594 posts
  • State government
Gov. Jerry Brown at the National Press Club in April.
Gov. Jerry Brown at the National Press Club in April. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Gov. Jerry Brown warned Republicans on Tuesday that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would devastate the party’s political chances in the 2020 election.

Brown, speaking at a Sacramento Press Club event moderated by Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton and Brown family historian Miriam Pawel, said a federal judge’s ruling last week to strike down the 2010 law — if upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court — “will build such a backlash that the Democrats will not only take over the Senate, they’ll win the presidency and will win with the kind of momentum, particularly on the issue of healthcare, that [the law] will be replaced probably with something even better.”

The governor, who leaves office in less than three weeks, said he did not believe the ruling by a Texas judge would ultimately prevail.

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  • California Legislature
A bar in Sherman Oaks
A bar in Sherman Oaks (acuna-hansen)

For the third year in a row, a California lawmaker is trying to keep bars open until 4 a.m.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is reintroducing legislation that would allow Los Angeles, San Francisco and seven other cities to extend the sales of alcohol in bars, clubs and restaurants by an additional two hours.

“Nightlife brings people together, fosters creativity and innovation, supports small businesses, and creates middle-class jobs,” Wiener said in a statement. “It’s time to embrace our nighttime economy and give our cities the tools they need to foster the best nightlife possible.”

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  • California Legislature
A bar in Sherman Oaks.
A bar in Sherman Oaks. (Acuna-Hansen)

For the third year in a row, a California lawmaker is trying to keep bars open until 4 a.m.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is reintroducing legislation that would allow Los Angeles, San Francisco and seven other cities to extend the sales of alcohol in bars, clubs and restaurants by an additional two hours.

“Nightlife brings people together, fosters creativity and innovation, supports small businesses and creates middle-class jobs,” Wiener said in a statement. “It’s time to embrace our nighttime economy and give our cities the tools they need to foster the best nightlife possible.”

  • State government
A sign advertises a touch-screen voter registration process at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Santa Ana.
A sign advertises a touch-screen voter registration process at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Santa Ana. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Less than eight months after California’s new voter registration system went online at the Department of Motor Vehicle offices, a leading Republican lawmaker said the beleaguered project should be canceled.

"Enough is enough,” state Senate Minority Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said in a statement on Monday. “I've been deeply troubled reading the media reports highlighting the failed motor voter program.”

Bates introduced Senate Bill 57, which would return voter registration at DMV offices to a voluntary, “opt-in” process. In April, state officials formally launched the system designed to automatically register those eligible to vote unless they specifically declined.

  • State government
(Kent Nishamura/Los Angeles Times)

The director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles will retire at year’s end with a number of questions unanswered about the implementation of a major voter registration system and long wait times experienced by customers for much of the past summer.

Jean Shiomoto will not continue in her current role as Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom takes office, and “announced to staff several weeks ago her intent to retire at the end of the year after 38 years in state service,” spokesman Armando Botello said in an email to The Times on Friday.

Newsom’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on who might lead the department in 2019.

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For more than a decade, developers have tried to build new housing on the site of an all-but-empty mall in Cupertino, a city in the heart of Silicon Valley and home to Apple headquarters. A well-organized group of neighbors, upset about traffic, building heights and the potential loss of the community’s suburban lifestyle, turned away every plan.

Now, for the first time, the stalemate might be broken — thanks to a decision made in the state Capitol.

There’s no shortage of watery metaphors to describe the disaster that befell California Republicans this midterm election.

  • California Democrats
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Mark your calendars: Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom has a full slate of events planned around his inauguration, according to save-the-date announcements sent to California politicos this week.

The festivities include a “leadership circle” luncheon and “family celebration” at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento on Jan. 6 in addition to a previously announced concert called California Rises that Sunday evening to benefit those affected by recent wildfires.

The swearing-in ceremony itself will be the next day, Jan. 7, at 11 a.m.

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  • California Legislature
Apartments above the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles.
Apartments above the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Last year, legislation that would have allowed for increased apartment construction near transit across California became a national flashpoint for a debate over the future of cities in an era of high housing costs and pressures to address climate change. The bill suffered a quick death in the Legislature.

Now, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has brought a version of the legislation back as Senate Bill 50, which would allow four- to five-story buildings near rail lines and loosen local zoning rules near other mass transit and in wealthy neighborhoods.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” we talk with Wiener about what he learned from last year’s failures, how he has tried to mollify concerns from low-income tenant groups and the expectations for SB 50.

  • State government
(Los Angeles Times)

Officials at the California Department of Motor Vehicles said Friday that the agency failed to send information for 329 new voters to state elections officers in time for the November election, the latest revelation in a string of mishaps regarding voter registration.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla responded with a blistering letter, calling on Gov. Jerry Brown or Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom to replace Jean Shiomoto, the DMV director.

“The Director of DMV has lost my confidence and trust,” Padilla wrote.