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  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) issued a statement late Thursday confirming there is an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct made against Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens).

“The Assembly is working to prevent sexual harassment and to ensure there is a strong process in place for responding to inappropriate behavior and holding perpetrators accountable. As in other cases, the Assembly Rules Committee has hired an outside firm to investigate the incident reported,” Rendon said. “I trust that while the investigation proceeds Assemblymember Garcia will respond appropriately and in a way that fortifies the Legislature’s effort to create a new climate. As in other cases, while the investigation moves forward, I am also asking Assembly Human Resources to reach out to Assemblymember Garcia’s staff to ensure they feel safe in their work environment.”

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the state Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 8
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the state Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 8 (John Myers/Los Angeles Times)

California’s most well-known Republican didn’t mince words Thursday in assessing the record of President Trump’s chief environmental adviser, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

“He is without any doubt the wrong person at that place,” former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. “He does not represent the people. He only represents the special interests. He should be removed immediately.”

Schwarzenegger was in Sacramento to meet with seven state Assembly Republicans who support environmental protection policies. Last month, the former governor agreed to help the group in creating a new political action committee for electing Republicans in 2018.

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  • California Legislature
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One, a former legislative staffer, said California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia groped him during a legislative softball game in 2014. She confirmed that she attended the game, but said she has “zero recollection of engaging in inappropriate behavior.”

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus who has been at the forefront of the movement against sexual harassment in the state Capitol, has herself become the subject of allegations of sexual misconduct. The Bell Gardens Democrat said she would “participate fully” in an investigation. 

Politico reported Thursday that two men said Garcia made improper advances toward them. One, a former legislative staffer, said Garcia groped his back and buttocks and attempted to grab his crotch during a legislative softball game in 2014.

The former staffer, Daniel Fierro, told his former boss, Assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) about the incident several weeks ago, his office said. Calderon then reported the incident to the Assembly Rules Committee.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment

The sexual harassment controversies that have consumed California’s Capitol in recent months have got the attention of the state’s residents — even more than the brewing race to be the state’s next governor.

Forty-six percent of California adults — and nearly 60% of likely voters — are closely following developments of harassment and misconduct in Sacramento, according to a new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California. By contrast, only around a third of likely voters say they’re closely tracking news in the governor’s race.

The issue of sexual harassment in state politics surged into the limelight several months ago as part of the #MeToo movement. An open letter signed by more than 140 women denouncing a Capitol culture they described as rife with misconduct set off a domino effect, with two legislators resigning after facing allegations of harassment and another lawmaker currently on leave pending an investigation into his behavior.

  • California Legislature
The LAPD-coached youth football team Watts Bears (in white) pursue a member of the Southern California Falcons during a 2013 game. The players are 7 to 9 years old.
The LAPD-coached youth football team Watts Bears (in white) pursue a member of the Southern California Falcons during a 2013 game. The players are 7 to 9 years old. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

California would become the first state to prohibit minors from playing organized tackle football before high school under a proposal made Thursday by lawmakers concerned about the health risks.

Just days after the Super Bowl, Assembly members Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) said they are introducing the “Safe Youth Football Act,” legislation that will be considered this year by state lawmakers.

Under the bill, organized tackle football would be allowed starting with high school freshmen.

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(David Brooks / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The FBI investigation into whether GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine misused campaign funds for personal expenses appears to be intensifying, according to a report by Politico. The website revealed that additional grand jury subpoenas have been issued to people close to the five-term congressman. Here are some key new pieces of information from Politico’s report:

• Hunter’s parents and a female lobbyist he knows have received grand jury subpoenas. That followed a raid last February in which the FBI seized computers and documents from Hunter’s campaign finance compliance firm. According to Politico, Hunter’s wife and former campaign manager, Margaret Hunter, is at the center of the investigation and made many of the purchases in question. A subpoena was also issued to a business in Hunter’s district in December, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

• Hunter was surprised by the results of a review by an outside law firm his campaign hired to look at spending. In April 2016, more than $1,300 in video game purchases caught the attention of the Federal Election Commission and the Union-Tribune. Afterward, Hunter hired a law firm to review his campaign spending. Sources told Politico that Hunter was “shocked” when the review turned up more than $60,000 in improper campaign expenditures, which he later repaid and blamed on his wife. They included payments to a dentist, nail salons, theme parks, trips to Italy and $600 to fly the family’s pet rabbit. Hunter has said his wife no longer has access to the campaign credit card.

Orange County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Puckett, left, checks a motorist's identification at a DUI checkpoint.
Orange County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Puckett, left, checks a motorist's identification at a DUI checkpoint. (Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

With recreational marijuana sales now legal in California, one lawmaker wants to find out whether drugged driving is going to be a significant problem.

Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Arcadia) has introduced a bill that would require all local law enforcement agencies to file annual reports with the state Department of Motor Vehicles detailing the number of arrests made for driving under the influence and the number of those arrests in which pot was suspected to be the substance causing impairment.

“Currently, the state has no uniform mechanism in place to evaluate cannabis drugged driving arrests as a result of legalization,” Chau said.

When you get a busy congressman like Adam Schiff on the line, you don't want to waste time with small talk. You want to get right to the point.

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  • Congressional races
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McClintock fields questions from an audience in Roseville on Feb. 4
McClintock fields questions from an audience in Roseville on Feb. 4 (Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee)

Following last week’s campaign finance reports, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report is saying Democrats have a better chance of winning two Republican-held seats in California.

Rep. Tom McClintock’s Northern California seat, was moved to likely Republican, down from solid Republican.

McClintock of Elk Grove was outraised by two of his opponents in the last three months of last year. The race was put on Democrats’ target list in the fall and this could be his first tough race since being elected in 2008.