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  • 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.

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  • 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. 

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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
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  • 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.”

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Lawyer Dan Gilleon represents four anonymous staffers accusing Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) of improper behavior at work.
Lawyer Dan Gilleon represents four anonymous staffers accusing Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) of improper behavior at work. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

A lawyer representing four anonymous former staffers of Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) filed a letter with the Assembly on Wednesday, alleging the legislator had created an inappropriate workplace environment.

The allegations, unveiled in an unusual news conference on the steps of the state Capitol, involve alcohol use in the office and raunchy conversations about sex.

The letter comes on the heels of accusations by two men that Garcia made improper advances on them. Garcia has denied wrongdoing and went on unpaid leave while the matter is investigated.

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Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman
Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) will take the reins of the California Legislative Caucus, the group announced Wednesday, filling the vacancy created by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s leave of absence over sexual harassment allegations.

Eggman will serve as “acting interim chair” of the bipartisan group, which has been influential in shepherding legislation pertaining to women, children and families. The caucus also has taken a lead role in responding to the sexual misconduct controversies that have engulfed the Capitol in recent months.

Those controversies hit particularly close to home last week, when Garcia was accused by two men of making improper advances. Garcia has denied wrongdoing, but voluntarily took unpaid leave pending an investigation into her conduct.

With a little over three weeks left before the candidate filing deadline, Democratic candidates are starting to turn on each other in California’s crowded House races. 

In the 48th Congressional District, where Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is facing several well-funded challengers, Democrat Harley Rouda has just unleashed a pair of attack ads against one of his primary opponents, Hans Keirstead.

In one of the ads, called “Preposterous,” Rouda accuses Keirstead of lying about his credentials and making up a “phony story” about House Democratic leaders promising him plum chairmanship appointments if he’s elected.