268 posts
  • California Legislature
(Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

With federal regulation rollbacks and a rise in data breaches, California lawmakers this year are looking for ways to protect consumers and their personal information. 

Some legislation under consideration could give people more notice and control over what data is collected, without having to pay for privacy or better services. Other bills could provide free credit freezes for consumers and require new privacy features for products that connect to the internet.

  • California Legislature
The Main Street offramp from the Southbound 5 in L.A. in June 2015.
The Main Street offramp from the Southbound 5 in L.A. in June 2015. (Los Angeles Times)

The new year brings with it new vehicle fees in California ranging from $25 to $175 depending on the value of your car, but Republican lawmakers are hoping to qualify a ballot measure in November to repeal the higher charges.

The fees and a 12-cent increase in California’s gas tax last year are part of a plan by Democrats to raise more than $5.2 billion annually to deal with a backlog of road and bridge repairs.

Petitions to qualify a repeal initiative are circulating now.

  • California Legislature
A new-home community in Anaheim in 2016
A new-home community in Anaheim in 2016 (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers aren’t wasting any time in tackling one of the most contentious issues in state housing politics this year.

On Jan. 11, the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee is set to hold a hearing on legislation that could lead to a dramatic expansion of rent control policies across the state. 

The debate over rent control could spill over onto the 2018 ballot, where Californians also could see proposals to expand or curtail the property tax restrictions ushered in 40 years ago by Proposition 13.

Members of Congress, including Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), front center, leave the Capitol following passage of tax reform.
Members of Congress, including Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Palm Desert), front center, leave the Capitol following passage of tax reform. (Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

California’s 55 members of Congress make up the largest and most diverse delegation in the country.

From favorite movies to military commendations, check out our list of six things you may not know about them:

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles)
Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas abruptly announced his resignation from the California Legislature on Wednesday, citing health reasons.

Ridley-Thomas, a Democrat from Los Angeles, informed Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) Tuesday night.

“The reason for this difficult decision is that I am facing persistent health issues,” Ridley-Thomas, 30, said in a written statement on Wednesday. “On December 18th, I underwent surgery for the fifth time this year. Although I expect a full recovery, my physicians advise that I will need an extended period of time to recuperate.”

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

Democrats in the California Senate are planning to write legislation to lessen the effects of the elimination of popular tax breaks in the GOP’s overhaul of the federal tax system.

To finance broad-based corporate tax cuts and reductions in individual tax rates, the GOP plan caps the deductibility of state and local income and property taxes — a benefit used often in suburban areas of California

“The Republican tax scam disproportionately harms California taxpayers,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement. “Our hard-earned tax dollars should not be subject to double-taxation, especially not to line the pockets of the Trump family, hedge fund managers and private jet owners.”

  • California Democrats
Eric Garcetti
Eric Garcetti (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

It's no secret Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is interested in running for president.

When reporters ask about his intentions, he has used all sorts of ways to deflect, typically by saying he's focused on his day job — for the moment.

But speaking in Spanish to a Univision reporter this week, Garcetti edged ever closer to the telltale admission he's actually considering it. 

  • State government

After a big year in 2017, California’s housing affordability crisis is going to be another major topic in state politics. 

On the 2018 docket, lawmakers will tackle rent control and voters statewide could see many housing-related ballot measures, including a $4-billion bond primarily to fund new low-income developments and potential major changes to Proposition 13’s property tax restrictions.

On this week’s Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast, we debate all those topics, highlight the effects of the GOP federal tax plan on California housing and interview Amy Thoma Tan, who works in public affairs, about what it’s like to purchase a new home in Sacramento’s hot real estate market.