268 posts
  • State government
State Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) is chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, which commissioned the study.
State Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) is chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, which commissioned the study. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The state’s primary environmental law governing development doesn’t block development from actually happening, according to a state study released Thursday.

The study examined, over five years ending in 2016, how state transportation, parks and other projects were handled under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. The law requires developers to disclose and often lessen their project’s effect on the environment before proceeding with construction. The study found that 1% of projects required detailed analyses under the law and less than 1% of them were sued.

FOR THE RECORD, 4:45 p.m.: A previous version of this post said the study evaluated state housing projects. No housing developments were examined as part of the study.

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), right, walks hand in hand with her spouse, Jennifer LeSar, to the rostrum when she was elected as Assembly speaker in 2014. She will be the next leader of the Senate.
Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), right, walks hand in hand with her spouse, Jennifer LeSar, to the rostrum when she was elected as Assembly speaker in 2014. She will be the next leader of the Senate. (Associated Press)

State Senate leader Kevin de León said Thursday that the Senate Democratic Caucus is supporting Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) to take over for him as Senate president pro tem in 2018 after an election in January.

De León, a Los Angeles Democrat who has served as Senate leader for nearly four years, is stepping down from the leadership position as he runs against Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the 2018 election for her seat in the U.S. Senate.

“Four years ago, our caucus elected the first Latino leader in over a century to lead the California state Senate — and, next year, Sen. Atkins will become our first ever woman to be elected Senate leader,” De León said in a statement.

  • California in Congress

American Action Network is pushing back on the onslaught of anti-tax plan ads in California with spots urging four Republicans who voted for the GOP tax bill not to change their minds.

The six-figure digital and TV ad buy from the politically active nonprofit with ties to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) encourages people to call and thank Reps. Jeff Denham of Turlock, David Valadao of Hanford, Steve Knight of Palmdale and Mimi Walters of Irvine for their votes.

Denham and Valadao have been on board with the tax plan from the beginning, but Knight and Walters have both wavered, saying they only voted for the House plan because they received assurances that the final bill would be better for their constituents.

(Reynold / EPA/Shutterstock)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) on Thursday criticized Republicans in the California delegation for approving a tax bill that eliminated the deduction for personal losses from wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters, but kept the break for victims of the recent severe hurricanes.

“They actually voted for that bill,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference. “[The members] voted to discriminate against victims of fire. We certainly want to have the deduction for victims of hurricanes and the rest, but why are they doing this to our state?”

The Senate version of the tax bill modifies, but doesn’t eliminate, the fire and earthquake deduction so it can be claimed only in the case of a federally declared disaster. Many California fires do not get that designation. It is one of the items that has to be resolved in the final bill currently being negotiated.

  • Congressional races
  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
(Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

Deyanira Nevarez Martinez has already spent three years working toward a doctorate in urban planning and public policy at the University of California in Irvine. She’s about halfway done, but if the GOP tax bill changes the way her graduate student income is taxed, she might have to reconsider whether getting her degree is worth it.

She was among about a dozen UC Irvine graduate students who aired their concerns Wednesday at a roundtable at a pizza place across the street from campus. The event was hosted by Democratic congressional candidate Dave Min, a UC Irvine law professor who is challenging vulnerable Republican Rep. Mimi Walters.

Nevarez Martinez says she’s seen reports that suggest her tax bill could go up by thousands of dollars if Republicans decide to tax tuition waivers or eliminate the student-loan interest deductions that often keep low-paid graduate students afloat.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-Grand Terrace), left, and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale).
Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-Grand Terrace), left, and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A bipartisan group of legislators said Wednesday they plan to introduce a bill next month to give victims of sexual harassment additional time to file claims.

The proposal, by Assemblywomen Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and Marie Waldron (R-Escondido), would give both public and private employees more time to come forward with a claim. A spokesman for Reyes said the legislators are working to determine what the new timeframe should be.

Under existing state law, a person has one year from the date of the last incident of sexual harassment to file a claim with the California Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing. That department, which is the state’s civil rights agency, enforces California laws that bar sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination. 

  • California in Congress

The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday against considering a resolution to impeach President Trump, but 12 of California’s 39 Democrats voted to move forward on impeachment.

Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green forced a vote on his proposed articles of impeachment Wednesday over the objections of Democratic House leaders. The move put the 57 Democrats who voted with him at odds with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). They have urged their members to wait on impeachment talk.

"Right now, congressional committees continue to be deeply engaged in investigations into the president's actions both before and after his inauguration. The special counsel's investigation is moving forward as well, and those inquiries should be allowed to continue. Now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment," Pelosi and Hoyer said in a joint statement.

  • California in Congress

Rep. Judy Chu was arrested at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday during a demonstration calling on Congress to find a legislative fix for the legal status of hundreds of thousands of people brought into the country illegally as children.

Chu (D-Monterey Park), sitting in the first row of protesters on the Capitol steps and holding a banner that said “Defend our immigrant communities,” was among the first people arrested after Capitol Police repeatedly ordered the protesters to leave.

Before the arrest, she attended a nearby rally in support of the so-called Dreamers and made it clear she intended to get arrested during a demonstration afterward, even posting a photo of her “civil disobedience starter kit.”


Time magazine has bestowed its annual “Person of the Year” honor to the people who have spoken out against sexual harassment and abuse—including a San Francisco-based lobbyist who helped ignite the conversation in the California Capitol.

Adama Iwu, one of the founders of the We Said Enough group that has called attention to sexual misconduct in state politics, is one of five women featured on the magazine’s cover, which was unveiled Wednesday morning.

Recognized collectively as “The Silence Breakers,” Iwu, a government affairs expert for Visa, appeared with actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift, former Uber engineer Susan Folwer and Isabel Pascual, a strawberry picker whose name was changed to protect her identity. They, along with many others, are featured in the cover story on people who exposed harassment and abuse in an array of industries.

(Al Behrman / Associated Press)

The GOP-controlled House voted along party lines on Wednesday to pass legislation that would require states to recognize concealed carry permits from all other states regardless of a state’s permitting standards.

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) said after the vote that he’s more worried about Californians being able to carry their concealed weapons when they travel to other states than about people bringing concealed weapons to California from states with lower permitting requirements.

“I think California does a very good job making sure that not only are people trained but they have background checks. I’d like to see other states do that as well, but certainly from a California perspective, I think that Californians should be able to carry their weapons with them in their vehicles as they travel to other states,” Denham said.