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(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein gave conflicting signals Thursday about how she will vote on a short-term spending bill to keep the government open.

The bill passed the house Thursday evening but will face a tighter margin in the Senate, where Republicans need at least some Democrats’ votes to get the 60 needed to pass the bill.

On Tuesday, Feinstein’s staff said she planned to vote “no” unless Congress reaches a deal to address the legal status of people brought to the country illegally as children. And Thursday morning, Feinstein’s office released a statement affirming that position.

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) “couldn’t be happier” with a comprehensive rewrite of the law governing how Capitol Hill handles sexual harassment complaints.

Under the bipartisan proposal unveiled Thursday, taxpayers would not pay to settle lawmakers’ sexual harassment complaints.

Responding to a series of high-profile accusations last fall, Congress is fast-tracking legislation to simplify the convoluted process Capitol Hill staffers are required to go through to report sexual harassment.

  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) speaks at the Capitol in 2017.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) speaks at the Capitol in 2017. (Rich Pedroncelli)

Two Democratic state assemblymen want to raise the state’s business taxes in response to President Trump’s federal tax overhaul.

Assemblymen Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and Phil Ting of San Francisco introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 22 Thursday that would raise corporate taxes on California companies with revenues higher than $1 million. The state tax hike would be for an amount equivalent to half what they received from the federal tax cut.

“I’ve seen enough billionaire justice in the first 11 months of this presidency to last my lifetime,” McCarty said in a statement. “At a time when reckless federal tax policy favors billionaires over middle-class workers, ACA 22 will help ensure that California can continue to grow and support middle-class families throughout the state.”

  • California in Congress

With less than 36 hours to go before the federal government could shut down, seven Californians who were brought to the country illegally as children sat down in a U.S. Capitol hallway and began to scream.

“McCarthy! Where is your heart?” they yelled as they waved red banners. Capitol police officers quickly swarmed outside the office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and escorted the still-shouting “Dreamers” out of the building.

Time is ticking down to when the government’s legal authority to spend money runs out at midnight Friday. And there is less and less of a chance that Congress will include a legislative fix for the so-called Dreamers in whatever stopgap measure lawmakers try to pass to stave off a shutdown.

  • California Legislature
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

For at least the third time in recent years, an effort to exempt tampons from sales taxes in California has failed.

Assembly Bill 9 was killed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday morning. 

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), who sponsored the bill, said she’d try another time.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra warned businesses Thursday that they cannot voluntarily give information on employees to immigration agents.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra warned businesses Thursday that they cannot voluntarily give information on employees to immigration agents. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Concerned about “rumors” of an imminent immigration enforcement sweep in California, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Thursday warned employers he is prepared to seek fines if they violate a new state law that prohibits them from giving information on employees to federal authorities.

Becerra said rumblings of possible sweeps compelled him to remind Californians that there are new laws restricting local law enforcement cooperation with federal agents and that bar businesses from voluntarily allowing immigration officers to access or obtain employee records without a court order or subpoena.

“It’s important, given these rumors out there, to let people and more specifically employers know that if they voluntarily start giving up information about their employees in ways that contradict our new California laws they subject themselves to actions by my office … enforcing AB 450,” he said at a news conference.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
  • California in Congress
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Thirty California Democrats joined colleagues Thursday in introducing a resolution to censure President Trump for using the term “shithole” to describe Haiti and African countries.

“The president is the leader of the United States and he just made some remarks that are being perceived, I think accurately, as discriminatory against people who are of African American descent and people who are Latino, and we can’t just stand by and allow that to be what the country is for. It is not what we’re for,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose).

This centers around a recent White House meeting where Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. has to accept immigrants from “shithole” African countries. At least two Republican senators dispute that he used the term, and the blowback has roiled discussions about immigration reform for more than a week.