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  • California in Congress
  • 2018 election
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) in October.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) in October. (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

California’s Republican members of Congress are opening their wallets to help a financially strapped campaign to qualify an initiative that would repeal the state’s recent increases in gas taxes and vehicle fees.

If the effort works, it might drive a November turnout among voters who favor repealing the tax hikes — at a time when Republicans need a boost. 

Among the contributors is Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare, who has been in the headlines for very different reasons. Nunes, who campaigns against the gas tax back home, contributed $50,000 to Give Voters a Voice, the group reported Thursday.

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  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia)
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) (Steve Yeater)

State Sen. Tony Mendoza “more likely than not” behaved in a flirtatious or sexually suggestive manner toward staffers, a Senate investigation found.

The four-page summary report released late Tuesday afternoon described the findings by two outside law firms tasked with investigating allegations that Mendoza had made unwanted advances to female aides while he served as an Assembly member from 2006 to 2012 and as a senator from 2014 to the present.

Investigators spoke to 47 witnesses, including Mendoza, who was interviewed twice, according to the report.

  • California in Congress
(Michael Reynolds / EPA/Shutterstock)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is urging President Trump to back her gun-control legislation rather than have the administration try to do it alone.

Feinstein, the original author of the nation's assault weapons ban, proposed legislation to ban devices that make semiautomatic weapons work more like automatic weapons after 59 people were killed and more than 500 others were injured at a Las Vegas country music festival, but the measure stalled soon after she put it forward.

Construction workers building homes in Echo Park.
Construction workers building homes in Echo Park. (Los Angeles Times)

Those who want to blame a California environmental law for the state’s housing problems should instead point their fingers at cities and counties, according to a new report from researchers at UC Berkeley and Columbia University.

The California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, a 1970 state law, requires developers to analyze and eliminate a project’s effect on the environment before building. While often praised for preservation, CEQA is a continual target for those who argue the law blocks needed housing.  

The real problem isn’t CEQA, but rather how local governments approve projects, the report said. CEQA only comes into play if a city or county decides to review housing developments individually. If a local government relies on zoning or other processes to determine whether a particular project gets built, developers don’t have to go through the CEQA process.

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  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • U.S. Senate race
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

California Democratic Party delegates received a mailer on Tuesday from Sen. Dianne Feinstein asking for their support in the endorsement race at the state party’s convention this weekend.

“Today, more than ever, California and our nation’s progress are threatened on many fronts by Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress,” Feinstein wrote. “… California Democrats can and must lead Democrats across the nation to victory. Please know that I stand with each and every one of you and that I deeply appreciate all you do for our party and for the values we share.”

The mailer also touts Feinstein’s endorsement by scores of California political leaders, including Sen. Kamala Harris, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

  • California Legislature
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Tuesday said he would not appeal a state appellate court ruling that granted a new bail hearing for a San Francisco man accused of stealing cologne, paving the way for a change to the way judges across the state award bail.

The announcement comes after Gov. Jerry Brown pledged last year to work with state lawmakers and the state’s chief justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, on overhauling California’s bail system. 

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells announced Tuesday he is running for Congress, challenging long-time Republican incumbent Rep. Duncan Hunter for a hotly-contested district that encompasses much of East County.

Wells, who has held the mayoral position since 2013, is seeking to take over the 50th Congressional District, which serves more than 730,000 constituents, including those in the North County communities of Fallbrook, San Marcos, Valley Center and Escondido.

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Orange County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Puckett checks a motorist's identification at a DUI checkpoint.
Orange County sheriff's Deputy Jeff Puckett checks a motorist's identification at a DUI checkpoint. (Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

California motorists under the age of 21 would lose their driver’s license for a year if caught driving with marijuana in their system under new legislation, though the state still is developing methods of measuring the drug in the body and determining a standard for impairment.

State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said he proposed the law so that the state would have the same “zero tolerance” policy for pot that it has for those under 21 who drive under the influence of alcohol.

“This bill will save lives by making it illegal for drivers under age 21 to drive under the influence of marijuana, just like current law for alcohol,” Hill said in a statement.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Amanda Renteria, the former Hillary Clinton aide who has been silent since filing paperwork to run for governor last week, released a minute-long video Tuesday morning.

It sheds little light on who she is or why she is running.

The online video features scenes of cities, the coast and farmland, and firefighters, a soldier, a gay couple, a construction worker, a professor and others that a voiceover describes as “warriors.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election

GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox plans to launch an online ad Tuesday attacking Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa over his support for a political ally’s son who was sentenced for his part in the stabbing death of a young man.

The ad focuses on Villaraigosa’s words on behalf of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez’s son, Esteban, as he was charged for his role in a 2008 street fight in San Diego that resulted in the death of 22-year-old Luis Santos.

The two-and-a-half-minute digital ad notes that when the younger Nuñez’s bail was set at $2 million, Villaraigosa was among the state political leaders who spoke out his behalf.

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