The new sexual harassment reporting and settlement process for Capitol Hill staffers that was approved by the House Tuesday wouldput victims in control, said California Rep. Jackie Speier.
Speier (D-Hillsborough) and House Administration Committee members wrote the legislation that would simplify the current convoluted sexual harassment reporting process. The legislation follows a series of high-profile sexual harassment stories that have rocked Hollywood, the media and Capitol Hill. Speier said the current process was designed to protect harassers.
“The victim becomes the person we’re putting first and foremost,” Speier said at a news conference after the House approved the bill by a voice vote. “The victim will have support, the victim will have legal representation. The victim will be in charge and any member who thinks, moving forward, that they are going to get away with sexual harassment, we have a big wakeup call for you.”
Any California registered lobbyist found to have committed sexual harassment could be banned from similar work for up to four years under a plan introduced on Tuesday at the state Capitol.
“We need to protect people throughout the Capitol community from harassment and hold perpetrators accountable," Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) said. "The scope of sexual harassment expands beyond the Legislature, and we have a duty to protect the entire community.”
Levine’s bill would require the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which oversees much of the regulation of lobbying, to investigate sexual harassment complaints made against individuals who are registered to lobby state officials. The ban for those found guilty could, in some cases, be imposed for as long as four years.
An effort to radically reshape California’s legislative branch of government by electing as many as 12,000 local representatives failed Tuesday to qualify for the November state ballot.
The proposal’s backer, Republican businessman and candidate for governor John Cox, spent six years trying to get his “Neighborhood Legislature” plan in front of voters. State elections officials announced that the latest campaign fell short by 25,501 valid voter signatures.
More than 18,000 signatures collected by petition circulators were rejected after local registrars reviewed each of the signatures collected over the course of the last several weeks.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared Feb. 6 Ronald Reagan Day in honor of the 107th anniversary of the former U.S. president and governor’s birth.
Brown said Californians should recognize Reagan’s diplomatic achievements with the former Soviet Union and the economic recovery that occurred during his presidency in the 1980s.
“Above all, we remember the man: his irresistible optimism, faith and good humor,” Brown wrote in a proclamation Tuesday. “As a way to honor his memory, I recommend that Californians give as generously as they can to the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute, an initiative of the Alzheimer’s Association.”
California is one of 10 states that sued the Trump administration on Tuesday to challenge its decision to suspend the 2015 Clean Water Rule aimed at protecting lakes, rivers, and streams from pollutants.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said the lawsuit alleges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acted without authority in suspending the rule, did not provide a rational explanation and did not provide required notice and opportunity for public comment.
The 2015 rule provided a broader definition of waterways to be protected.
Vulnerable California Republicans’ chances of holding their seats may hinge on distancing themselves from President Trump, according to a poll of likely voters released Tuesday.
The mid-January poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies found that likely voters in two of the most competitive districts in the state are unhappy with Trump’s performance and are “disinclined” to reelect their members of Congress.
About 56% of likely voters in the 25th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Steve Knight of Palmdale, are disinclined to reelect the congressman, while 38% say they are inclined to do so.
A bill to extend whistle-blower protections to Capitol staffers that had been repeatedly shelved in previous years cleared the Legislature on Monday and is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
The legislation by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) would protect legislative employees who report legal or ethical violations, including sexual harassment, by fellow staff or lawmakers.
“No one should have to decide between keeping their job and reporting abuse,” Melendez said while presenting the measure, Assembly Bill 403, on the Assembly floor. It passed on a 74-0 vote to applause in the chamber.