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Supporters of single-payer healthcare march to the Capitol in Sacramento in 2017.
Supporters of single-payer healthcare march to the Capitol in Sacramento in 2017. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A months-long series of informational hearings on achieving universal health coverage in California culminated Wednesday with experts voicing widespread praise for creating a single-payer system, but starkly different opinions on the pace of such an overhaul.

The Assembly convened hearings in the face of activist outrage with last year’s shelving of SB 562, an ambitious bill that would establish a state-funded healthcare system to cover nearly all of Californians’ medical costs without requiring premiums or co-pays.

Proponents of SB 562, including its sponsors, the California Nurses Assn., continued their call for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) to advance the bill Wednesday, rolling out a new analysis finding that between 60% and 80% of denials for care issued by insurance companies were overturned by state regulators. The data, they argued, underscored the need to dramatically reduce the role of private insurance companies in Californians’ healthcare.

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At 10:04 a.m. Washington time, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stood up in the House chamber and began speaking. For more than eight hours, she stood in four-inch heels, reading the stories of people brought to the country illegally as children, the people known as “Dreamers.”

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  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The decision by leaders of the California Legislature to voluntarily disclose some records related to sexual misconduct investigations could, under a new proposal, become state law.

On Tuesday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee introduced legislation to codify the guidelines unveiled last month for releasing records. Those rules were announced in the wake of conversations between Los Angeles Times attorneys and legislative officials, but do not have the force of law if future lawmakers reverse course.

“We are faced with a unique opportunity to fix some policies that should have been fixed a long time ago,” said Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), the committee chairman.

  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been speaking on the House floor since 7:04 a.m. Pacific time, pushing for House Republican leaders to promise to hold a vote on a legislative fix for the status of people brought to the country illegally as children.

The San Francisco Democrat is now nearing hour eight, having blown past the previous record for the longest House speech anyone can remember, which occurred in 1909 when Champ Clark of Missouri held the floor for 5 hours and 15 minutes to speak against a tariff overhaul.

Unlike Pelosi, who has spoken nearly without interruption, Clark was repeatedly interrupted during his remarks.

  • State government
A video provided by the ACLU shows men being arrested in an ICE raid.
A video provided by the ACLU shows men being arrested in an ICE raid. (ACLU)

The California Department of Justice on Wednesday took its federal counterpart to court, seeking an order to release documents that would explain the rationale of a threat to withhold law enforcement grants unless agencies in the state cooperate with immigration enforcement.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra filed the lawsuit in San Francisco against the U.S. Department of Justice and its Office of Justice Programs, following up a Freedom of Information Act request in September for information about new conditions placed on law enforcement grants under the Trump administration. 

The new conditions were set by the federal government as California declared itself a sanctuary state that is restricting how local law enforcement agencies cooperate on immigration enforcement.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, wants House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to commit to holding a vote on a legislative fix for people brought to the country illegally as children, and she has been speaking on the House floor for hours.

The Senate appears close to a two-year spending bill that would avert another government shutdown, provide tens of millions of dollars in disaster assistance and increase military and domestic spending.

Pelosi sent out a statement earlier saying she wants a commitment from Ryan to bring a bill for so-called Dreamers to the House floor in exchange for her support for the massive bipartisan spending package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made such a promise to Senate Democrats as part of a deal to end the last shutdown just weeks ago.

Debate over sexual misconduct in politics and a comparison of conservative bona fides dominated a boisterous forum Tuesday among the three top Republican candidates for California governor.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Most attention is focused on Democratic efforts to flip vulnerable Republican-held seats, but that doesn’t mean that the handful of potentially weak incumbent Democrats in California can breathe easy going into 2018.

A UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies poll released Wednesday found that likely voters in one of the most volatile districts, the 7th Congressional District, are “inclined” to reelect Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove by a 48% to 44% margin.

The Sacramento-area seat is a frequent Republican focus. Bera won a third term with 51.2% of the vote in 2016 and so far, his 2018 opponents have struggled to break through or compete with his current $1.4-million war chest.

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  • California Legislature
Uber's headquarters in San Francisco
Uber's headquarters in San Francisco (David Butow / For The Times)

A Bay Area lawmaker wants to require Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies to have all electric fleets by 2028. 

Senate Bill 1014 from Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would set goals for the electrification of ride-hailing cars over the next decade, and set aside up to $300 million to help subsidize the purchase of electric cars by ride-hailing drivers.

As the ride-hailing companies continue to gain popularity, particularly in urban areas, their cars should lead the way on adopting zero-emission vehicles, Skinner said in a statement.