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  • Congressional races
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans

President Trump’s reelection campaign released a video on Thursday touting his endorsement of GOP businessman John Cox for governor of California.

The video, which has been viewed more than 272,000 times and shared more than 2,500 times in less than 24 hours, could be a boon to Cox’s effort to consolidate the Republican vote and come in second in the June 5 primary.

“President Trump endorsed businessman John Cox in his campaign for governor because John Cox is the one person in this race who will cut taxes, secure the border and fight crime,” Lara Trump, the wife of the president’s son Eric, says in the 48-second video. “As a successful businessman, John Cox can reform California’s government by cutting taxes, including the regressive state gas tax, and reduce state spending.”

  • State government
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers on Friday shelved a proposal to reduce pot tax rates in an effort to help licensed businesses compete with the black market.

The sidelining of the proposal came a week after a report found pot tax revenue is far below projections.

The bill, AB 3157, would have reduced the state excise tax on cannabis from 15% to 11% and suspended a cultivation tax that charges $148 per pound.

  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose)
Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) (Jonathan J. Cooper / Associated Press)

A sweeping California proposal to curb healthcare costs by imposing price controls sputtered Friday, but backers vowed to continue the effort next year.

The measure, Assembly Bill 3087 by Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), would have created a state commission to determine prices for a large swath of healthcare services, including doctor’s visits, hospital stays and medical procedures. The bill would have applied to the commercial insurance market, including those who get healthcare coverage through their employers, but not those on public plans such as Medi-Cal.

The plan was sponsored by labor unions and consumer groups, and it faced fierce opposition from physicians and hospitals.

  • California Legislature
  • Governor's race
Gavin Newsom speaks at the California Democrats' state convention in San Diego on Feb. 24.
Gavin Newsom speaks at the California Democrats' state convention in San Diego on Feb. 24. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign filed a complaint Thursday against an independent political committee supporting Democratic rival Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the governor’s race, alleging that the committee failed to disclose its efforts to help the top Republican in the race.

The complaint, filed with the state Fair Politicial Practices Commission, accuses Citizens Supporting Gavin Newsom for Governor of assisting the campaign of GOP candidate John Cox with a television ad.

The complaint alleges that the effort is an attempt to help Cox finish in the top-two primary in June to advance the Rancho Santa Fe businessman to a general election face-off with Newsom, the front-runner in the race — instead of Villaraigosa or another Democrat. No Republican has won a statewide race in California since 2006, so facing Cox in the November election would be to Newsom’s advantage.

Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary.
Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Last year, a Santa Cruz medical marijuana group headed by Valerie Leveroni Corral gave away $230,000 worth of cannabis to low-income residents with medical problems including HIV/AIDS and cancer.

However, California’s new pot legalization rules that took effect Jan. 1 now require her to pay taxes on such donations. If she made the same level of charitable contributions of cannabis this year, her tax would be up to $85,000. “It’s just too costly,” said Corral, director of the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, which has been shut down for the last five months.

On Thursday, state lawmakers announced a new bill to exempt compassionate care programs from paying state cannabis taxes when they are providing free medical pot to financially disadvantaged people living with serious health conditions.

Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) speaks during an Intelligence Committee meeting.
Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) speaks during an Intelligence Committee meeting. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is raising money in Los Angeles next week. Donors will gather at a private home Wednesday for Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The reception for Warner, a former Virginia governor, is being hosted by local influential couples. It will be held at the Brentwood home of attorney Barry Porter and real estate agent Lea Porter. The other hosts are ICM Partners co-founder Chris Silbermann and creative consultant Julia Franz, and Universal Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jeff Shell and Laura Shell.

Contributions will go to the Friends of Mark Warner PAC, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Times. An attendee ticket costs $500, and prices go up to $5,400 for someone to be called a host.


California’s elections officials have found themselves with an unexpected headache ahead of the June 5 primary: potentially thousands of cases where two voter registration forms were created for one person, errors caused by the state’s “motor voter” program that launched last month.

California’s gubernatorial primary boils down to this: It will determine whether Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is a slam-dunk winner in November — or still must fight to be elected governor.