Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday ratcheted up pressure on lawmakers who have not committed to a gas tax increase for road repairs, appearing in the Riverside district of Democratic state Sen. Richard Roth, one of the holdouts, and calling for legislators to step up and act.
With a self-imposed deadline for a vote just two days away, Brown warned that if legislation raising $52 billion over 10 years is not approved this year, the cost of repairing the same crumbling roads and bridges could grow to $100 billion in five years, creating a deeper “hole” to dig out from.
“Now is the time — and don’t blow it, guys,” Brown said in a message aimed at legislators. “I’m going off to my ranch” at retirement. “You’re going to be driving on these damn roads. Fix them now, or we may never get them fixed.”
It's been an unprecedented 100 days. And perhaps no state in the nation has reacted more strongly to the administration of President Trump than California.
This week's podcast is a special episode taped at the recent Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Our topic was the view of the Trump era from California, a glimpse at how the state's political compass has been reset as the president's agenda unfolds.
I'm joined by a special panel of Los Angeles Times political writers: Mark Barabak, Seema Mehta, Liam Dillon and Melanie Mason.
California’s most important month for collecting income taxes could end some $600 million short of official projections, based on preliminary data collected Friday.
The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office reported that personal income tax collections stood at $13.45 billion, with a final day of tax refunds to be reported on Monday. By comparison, Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget assumed the month would net $14 billion for state budget coffers.
Antonio Villaraigosa argued Friday that he is best suited to be California’s next governor because he had been tested when he was Los Angeles’ mayor during the recession, and had proven that he could make politically unpopular decisions in the best interests of the people.
“Look at the track record. I’ve not been afraid to take on my friends. I’ve not been afraid to say no,” Villaraigosa told a couple hundred people at a luncheon at an automotive school in Rancho Cucamonga. He noted that he furloughed 37,000 city employees and laid off 1,000 workers during the recession to stave off bankruptcy, and challenged the city’s school district and teachers union because he believed they were failing students.
“I took on those interests even though they were probably the most important group that got me elected. I made tough calls,” he said. “I think the next governor is going to have to make tough calls.”
The Brown administration on Friday released draft regulations for the sale and use of medical marijuana in California, beginning a process that is likely to see changes sought by some in the industry, law enforcement and state legislators.
For instance, the Legislature has to determine how to merge the rules for medical pot with regulations approved by the voters in November legalizing the sale of recreational cannabis.
“The broad objectives of these proposed regulations are to create a state licensed and regulated commercial cannabis market,” the rules said. “The specific benefits anticipated are increased protection of the public and the environment from the harms associated with an unregulated commercial cannabis market.”
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Friday he is prepared to fight any attempt to expand oil drilling off the California coast despite an order signed by President Trump calling for a study of new oil and natural gas exploration.
“We will vigorously oppose new drilling off the shores of our coast,” Becerra said in a statement. “California is leading the way in clean energy production and policies that preserve our state’s pristine natural resources. Instead of taking us backwards, the federal government should work with us to advance the clean energy economy that’s creating jobs, providing energy and preserving California’s natural beauty.”
See the Los Angeles Times coverage of the new order here.
A group of nine state lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill that would seek to improve representation of people of color on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors by expanding it from five to seven members and creating a position of an elected county executive.
State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) is the lead author on the legislation that would put the matter of changing the state Constitution to a vote on the California ballot in June 2018.
“Counties with millions of residents deserve a government that is responsive, transparent and accountable,” Mendoza said Thursday. “By expanding representation and creating a professional management position, we address multiple issues and will actively improve local government for all Californians.”
The undecideds include Reps. Steve Knight (Palmdale), Darrell Issa (Vista), Dana Rohrabacher (Costa Mesa), Ken Calvert (Corona), Paul Cook (Yucca Valley), Doug LaMalfa (Richvale), Ed Royce (Fullerton) and David Valadao (Hanford), according to their staffs and media reports.
A poorly run nonprofit group that has received state funds to help small businesses get loans is in danger of becoming insolvent next year unless it gets more money, but the state should not provide funding without reforms, a state audit concluded Thursday.
The report by State Auditor Elaine Howle said the State Assistance Fund for Enterprise, Business and Industrial Development Corporation (SAFE‑BIDCO) has done some good helping businesses.
But it has not attempted to obtain more money from fundraising, and has imprudently spent limited funds on “questionable activities,” including 16 out-of-state trips and a trip to Ireland by its chief executives, the audit said.
A sweeping measure that would establish government-run universal healthcare in California cleared its first legislative hurdle on Wednesday, as scores of supporters crammed into the state Capitol to advocate for a single-payer system.
The Senate Health Committee approved the measure on a 5-2 vote after a nearly three-hour hearing, but Democrats and Republicans alike signaled unease with the major question still unanswered in the legislation: how the program would be paid for.
The bill, SB 562, would establish a publicly run healthcare plan that would cover everyone living in California, including those without legal immigration status. The proposal would drastically reduce the role of insurance companies: The state would pay for all medical expenses, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health and nursing home care.