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  • California Legislature
LAPD Officer Matthew Zeigler uses facial recognition technology on suspects in a gang–-related home invasion arrest in Los Angeles.
LAPD Officer Matthew Zeigler uses facial recognition technology on suspects in a gang–-related home invasion arrest in Los Angeles. (Damon Winter / Los Angeles Times)

A state lawmaker has revived legislation that would require law enforcement agencies across California to disclose all of their surveillance equipment and enact public policies for their use of the technology.

The bill by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) also would require officers to fill out a report every two years on how they have used the tools. Police departments would have to seek approval from their city council on their public surveillance policies. Sheriff’s departments and district attorney’s offices would not, but the proposal would not stop county boards of supervisors from requesting their disclosure.

Similar laws drafted by Hill in previous years already exist for automatic license-plate readers and devices that simulate cellphone towers, known as Stingrays. But a Los Angeles Times review of records from 20 of the state’s largest police and sheriff’s departments, plus the Alameda County district attorney’s office, found some agencies had been slow to follow or have ignored the law.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
(Phil Willon / Los Angeles Times)

Sen. Kamala Harris plans to endorse Gavin Newsom in the California governor’s race Friday, according to a Newsom campaign official.

The move is not surprising — the two Democratic politicians share the same political advisors, began their careers in San Francisco city politics and have known one another for more than two decades.

They each got their start in politics thanks to former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, who appointed them to political positions.

  • California Legislature
  • California Democrats
  • Sexual harassment
Democratic state Sen. Tony Mendoza of Artesia.
Democratic state Sen. Tony Mendoza of Artesia. (Steve Yeater / Associated Press)

State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) filed a lawsuit Thursday against the California Senate, seeking to overturn a forced leave of absence and challenging an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed three former female aides.

“This Kafkaesque process is the Senate’s response to the #MeToo movement,” the lawsuit says. “It is an unconstitutional sleight-of-hand where attacks on one Senator are used to hide other more serious allegations and offenders from public view.”

The lawsuit, which is joined by Mendoza constituent Roger Bagne, seeks an injunction to “lift Senator Mendoza’s unconstitutional suspension,” requiring the Senate to return Mendoza to his “full rights and priveleges [sic]” as a senator. Mendoza also seeks a declaration from the court that the Senate’s “secretive investigation and failure to advise Senator Mendoza of the allegations against him violates his right to due process.”

  • State government
The state capitol
The state capitol (Los Angeles Times)

The state’s ethics watchdog panel was divided Thursday in approving a proposal to retroactively provide extra pay to its members for work done on official state business.

The five members of the state Fair Political Practices Commission normally meet once a month and have been getting $100 for one day of preparing for meetings, and $100 for the day of the meetings, with the cap being $200.

However, the panel voted 3-2 to also provide members with $12.50 per hour — $100 divided by eight hours —  for work done at other times on commission business, such as serving on a new subcommittee on governance issues. The panel made the pay retroactive to March 2017.

  • California in Congress
(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

They both want to protect “Dreamers.” But California’s senators, both Democrats, cast different votes on a bipartisan immigration bill Thursday.

Many activists were upset by the plan to protect Dreamers from deportation in exchange for $25 billion for border security and wall funding.

Sen. Kamala Harris voted no. Sen. Dianne Feinstein voted yes. 

Medical marijuana prescription vials are filled at a pot dispensary in Venice.
Medical marijuana prescription vials are filled at a pot dispensary in Venice. (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

California minors with special needs or severe disabilities who rely on marijuana for medical purposes would be allowed to use the drug at their school under legislation introduced this week by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo).

The measure would allow a parent or guardian to administer the drug in the form of oil, capsules, tinctures, liquids or topical creams on school campuses where the practice has been approved by the county board of education, Hill said.

Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are currently prohibited by law from taking medical cannabis on school campuses, so parents have to take their children off campus to administer the medicine.

A Southern California legislator wants Facebook and other social media sites to obtain clear permission from parents before allowing children and teens to use their services.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election

Vulnerable California Republican Rep. Mimi Walters broke with President Trump on Thursday over his desire to raise the national gas tax to pay for infrastructure.

She responded on Twitter to a Washington Post article reporting that Trump is pitching a 25-cent increase in the gas tax. The current 18.4 cents per gallon national gas tax hasn’t been increased since 1993.

The topic has particular weight in California where several California representatives, including Walters of Irvine, are helping bankroll an effort to put a proposition repealing the state’s new fuel taxes and new vehicle fees on the 2018 ballot.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)
Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda)

Following failure of a bill that would have expanded rent control, a trio of California lawmakers is introducing legislation aimed at adding other protections for renters.

Democratic Assemblymen David Chiu of San Francisco, Richard Bloom of Santa Monica and Rob Bonta of Alameda want to make it harder to evict tenants and extend timelines before evictions could occur.

“We’re in the midst of the worst tenant crisis in our state’s history,” said Chiu, chairman of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. “Tenants are facing unprecedented hardships and constantly under the threat of eviction.”