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268 posts
  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

In the wake of new allegations against a California state senator and criticism of a "pervasive" culture of sexual harassment, the leader of California's Senate said Sunday that all abuse complaints will now be handled by independent investigators and more information will be released to the public.

“The people who work here and the public we serve must have complete confidence that no public official is above the law or our strict zero-tolerance harassment policies," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). "Those who violate these policies will be held to account — swiftly and justly."

De León announced on Sunday that the state Senate Rules Committee, the governing body that also handles human resources for the upper house's employees, will transfer "any and all allegations" of sexual harassment to an independent legal team with the power to discipline those who are found responsible.

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Five of the state's GOP members of Congress are being targeted in television advertisements that began airing Saturday about the Republican tax reform plan that would disproportionately impact residents of high-tax states such as California.

The ads, which urge constituents to order their representatives in Congress to oppose the plan, are airing on cable and network stations in districts represented by Darrell Issa of Vista, Steve Knight of Palmdale, Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa, Ed Royce of Fullerton and Mimi Walters of Irvine.

“The Republican tax plan will raise taxes on California families by eliminating middle-class tax deductions to pay for a massive tax break for the super wealthy and big corporations,” a narrator says during the 30-second ad. “Tell your member of Congress to vote ‘no’ on the Republican tax plan. California families can’t afford it.”

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  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Courtesy of Freeman Michaels for Congress)

Freeman Michaels says he's never paid much attention to party labels. A registered Democrat at the moment, he said he's previously been a Green Party member and an independent. 

He's running for Congress in 2018 as an independent, challenging three-term Democratic Rep. Scott Peters of San Diego. 

"I feel like it's my race to lose. I don't think he's doing anything special," Michaels said of Peters, who has built a reputation as moderate and business-minded. "He's just kind of a middle-of-the-road guy, exactly what the Democrats want. I feel like the divide is so strong in this country."

(Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

As part of his investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential campaign, FBI special counsel Robert Mueller is questioning witnesses about a meeting that allegedly took place shortly before the election between Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and former Trump advisor Michael Flynn, NBC is reporting.

Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) has long advocated for a friendlier relationship between the United States and Russia. His name has tangentially come up in relation to the investigation, but this is the first direct mention that the FBI is looking at a meeting in which Rohrabacher participated.

The congressman's staff did not immediately return a request for comment Friday, a federal holiday.

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  • California Legislature
  • 2018 election
  • 2018 governor's race

“I think he has been magnificent. I want to build off his legacy. He’s proven you don’t have to be profligate to be progressive.”

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Attorneys for California have asked a federal judge to block a Trump administration rule change that restricts access to birth control for some women.

State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed a petition late Thursday for a nationwide preliminary injunction to halt the new rule that allows employers to deny women birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 

“A woman’s birth control and health decisions should be made by a woman in consultation with her doctor – not by her employer and not by politicians,” Becerra said in a statement.

  • Ballot measures
  • California Legislature
Eric Henry buys gas in Sacramento in March 2014.
Eric Henry buys gas in Sacramento in March 2014. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Most California voters would scrap the higher gas tax and vehicle fees recently approved by the Legislature to provide money to repair the state’s roads and bridges and improve mass transit, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

When asked their preference if the matter were put to a vote today, 54.2% of registered voters surveyed said they would cancel the tax and fee hikes, and 45.8% said they would vote to keep the increases in place. 

The question is timely because two groups are working to put initiatives on the November 2018 ballot that would allow voters to repeal the 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase that took effect this month and motor vehicle fee increases that start next year.

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  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
A panel discussion hosted by the Orange County Young Democrats about sexual harassment within politics.
A panel discussion hosted by the Orange County Young Democrats about sexual harassment within politics. (Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

As Orange County Democrats grapple with sexual harassment allegations that have hit several local leaders, young Democrats in the region gathered this week to discuss how to move forward.

The Orange County Young Democrats, which sponsored a discussion on Wednesday, ignited a firestorm last month after it amplified and commented on allegations local activists had made about Orange County politicos. 

The issue is coming into focus as Democrats are gearing up for big electoral fights in the midterm elections, and as scrutiny of alleged sexual misconduct in Hollywood and political circles intensifies. 

State Sen. Tony Mendoza
State Sen. Tony Mendoza (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The state Senate Rules Committee said Thursday that an investigation is underway into complaints from former aides to state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) who have alleged that the lawmaker invited home a female legislative fellow who asked for a job.

In addition, Cal State Sacramento, which runs the legislative fellows program, said Thursday it is investigating whether one of its female fellows assigned to the Legislature was sexually harassed.

The Sacramento Bee cited multiple anonymous sources Thursday in reporting that Mendoza had invited the unidentified fellow from his office to review résumés at his home after she asked for a permanent job. The newspaper reported that two Mendoza aides met with Senate Rules Committee staff and detailed allegations that Mendoza engaged in a pattern of inappropriate behavior with the fellow.