• Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

For the second period in a row, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s fundraising has lagged behind that of his Democratic challengers in the hotly contested race for his 48th Congressional District.

The 15-term Republican reported raising $271,969 in the last three months of 2017 and ended the year with $713,144 cash on hand.

That’s significantly less than opponents Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda, both Democrats, have reported raising. But much of the money raised by Rohrabacher’s challengers has come from their personal wealth.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats

California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom pushed back forcefully on Friday against a suggestion that his camp had anything to do with the surprise candidacy of Democrat Amanda Renteria for governor. An advisor to Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign speculated that Newsom’s team wants Renteria in the governor’s race in an effort to split the Latino vote.

“It’s absurd. And sad at the same time,” Newsom told reporters after receiving U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’ endorsement at USC. “To somehow suggest we’re part of it — I read that with bemusement. It is factually unequivocally, absolutely untrue.”

Newsom, currently California’s lieutenant governor, was responding to Mike Madrid, a Villaraigosa advisor, telling KQED that “something just doesn’t smell right” with the hasty, last-minute rollout of Renteria’s campaign. Madrid said he believes “the dots are there” to connect Renteria, a former Hillary Clinton aide who also worked for California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, with Newsom’s campaign.

Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are released from lockdown after Wednesday's mass shooting.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are released from lockdown after Wednesday's mass shooting. (John McCall / South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Two days after a mass shooting in Florida, a California lawmaker is seeking to revive a measure that would allow school staffs and coworkers to seek a court order to remove guns from people they believe are a danger to the public.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) wants to expand the current law that allows family members and law enforcement officials to seek an emergency restraining order from judges based on rulings that the person owns guns and poses a public risk.

The current law, enacted after the 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif., allows judges to order the confiscation of guns for up to 21 days.

  • California Legislature
Medical marijuana vials are filled at a dispensary in Venice.
Medical marijuana vials are filled at a dispensary in Venice. (Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Californians have been able to use marijuana as medicine for two decades, and soon their sick pets may also be able to take advantage of cannabis’ health benefits.

State Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) has introduced a bill that would require the Veterinary Medical Board to establish guidelines for licensed veterinarians to discuss the use of cannabis for animals.

“It is critical for the protection of our beloved pets that knowledgeable veterinarians be allowed to discuss the safe use and medicinal value of cannabis products already available to California consumers,” Kalra said.

  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
  • California Democrats
Starte Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia).
Starte Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The state Senate Rules Committee on Friday received the results of an investigation by outside attorneys into sexual harassment allegations against Democratic Sen. Tony Mendoza of Artesia, setting the stage for the panel recommending next week whether discipline is warranted.

The panel spent two hours behind closed doors discussing the report, which is confidential. The review comes a day after Mendoza sued the Senate, seeking a court order to reinstate him from a forced leave of absence and declaring the investigation is biased and violated his rights to due process.

“The Committee will take the facts and findings under advisement and return on Tuesday ... to finalize recommendations to the body on the matter,” the panel said in a statement. In addition, if disciplinary action is recommended, the facts and findings of the investigation will be presented to Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans on Wednesday.

  • 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.