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  • California Legislature
 State Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino)
State Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) (Jazmine Ulloa / Los Angeles Times)

Human trafficking survivors can now sign up for a confidential mailing address program that enables some California crime victims to privately receive mail, open bank accounts and register to vote.

“California’s Safe at Home program has been a critical resource to survivors of domestic violence whose abusers continue to harass, threaten and stalk them even after they have ended the relationship,” state Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) told reporters Monday. “Survivors of human trafficking often face similar threats ... and this is especially true when survivors have testified against their traffickers and fear retaliation.”

The Safe at Home initiative, established in 1999, has provided a free post office box and mail forwarding service to at least 7,000 victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. A state law last year introduced by Leyva, at the request of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, expanded eligibility to human trafficking survivors. 

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  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
Gavin Newsom speaks during a gubernatorial forum on long-term care at the Robert F. Kennedy Community School on Feb. 8 in Los Angeles.
Gavin Newsom speaks during a gubernatorial forum on long-term care at the Robert F. Kennedy Community School on Feb. 8 in Los Angeles. (Kent Nishimura)

The Service Employees International Union, one of the most powerful and deep-pocketed labor unions in the state, endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial bid on Tuesday.

“SEIU California members are ready to work our hearts out to see Gavin Newsom sworn in as California’s next governor,” said Roxanne Sanchez, the union’s president. “We believe that California can show the nation the way forward to a society that values every person and makes real progress toward economic and racial justice. Gavin Newsom will be both a visionary leader and, more important, a partner of working people in accomplishing these goals."

SEIU, which has about 700,000 members statewide, will focus on boosting support for Newsom in Los Angeles County and other large urban areas with a focus on minority voters and union households.

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California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, right, and Assemblyman David Chiu speak during a news conference.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, right, and Assemblyman David Chiu speak during a news conference. (Jazmine Ulloa / Los Angeles Times)

As nearly 80 Northern California businesses were put on notice this month of imminent immigration audits, state leaders on Tuesday attempted to assuage the concerns of employers over a new state law meant to expand workplace protections for employees against federal raids.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra and Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), who authored the state law, called it necessary under a Trump administration bent on increasing deportations. They said it was drafted to work in concert with federal laws and would not put California businesses in violation of federal policies.

“Let me stress again, AB 450 is about privacy, constitutional rights and Californians at the workplace,” Becerra said at the news conference. “There is no conflict with what AB 450 requires and what federal laws require.”

  • California Legislature
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore)
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

A Republican state lawmaker whose bill to protect legislative staff from workplace retaliation was killed four times without a formal vote says it’s time to change the rules of the Legislature.

“Don’t keep passing the buck,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore). “That’s a cowardly way of doing business.”

On Monday, Melendez introduced an amendment to the California Constitution that would require a roll call vote on each bill referred to a legislative committee. Under the common practice of appropriations committees in both the state Senate and Assembly, some bills are “held” without a formal vote and thus fail passage because they missed legislative deadlines.

  • California Legislature
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount)
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A grassroots effort to recall Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon over his decision last year to shelve a single-payer healthcare measure has sputtered, according to organizers.

The Recall Rendon campaign posted on Facebook that their attempt to recall Rendon, a Democrat from Paramount, “will not move forward,” explaining that collecting the required 23,000 signatures was too burdensome.

The post, put up Friday, has since taken down. Stephen Elzie, an attorney working with the recall effort, said some involved with the campaign are now turning their attention to trying to oust Rendon in the fall. He is being challenged by Maria Estrada, a progressive activist.

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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield). (Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

Some vulnerable California House Republicans can thank House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Vice President Mike Pence for at least a fifth of the money they have raised for this year’s midterm elections.

A joint fundraising committee connected with Pence and McCarthy gave Rep. Steve Knight of Palmdale $133,000, or almost 28% of the money he’s raised in the last six months.

Central Valley Rep. David Valadao of Hanford isn’t far behind. He got $137,350, or 23% of the money he’s raised.

  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
  • U.S. Senate race
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A powerful nurses union that has a history of jolting California elections endorsed state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on Monday in his bid to topple fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein in the U.S. Senate contest.

National Nurses United and its state organization, the California Nurses Assn., said it was backing De León because of his support for single-payer healthcare, including SB 562, a bill that passed the state Senate last year, but stalled in the Assembly because of concerns about funding.

“At a time when 15 million Californians still have no health coverage, or pay for premiums and still can’t afford to get the medical care they need, Kevin de León demonstrated outstanding political courage and leadership in shepherding passage of SB 562 in the California Senate,” said Malinda Markowitz, co-president of both nurses’ groups. She said their organizations also strongly back De León’s efforts on climate change and immigration reform.

California state Treasurer John Chiang is riffing off the popular, kitschy Dos Equis beer ad “The Most Interesting Man in World” in a new digital spot for his campaign for governor.

The ad opens with scenes of Chiang walking through an orchard with a basket of fruit, shooting pool, strumming a guitar and sawing wood in a funky, frontier days hat.

The cool guy depicted in the spot might make anyone who knows Chiang smile. He’s embraced his low-key, wonky persona, saying he lacks the smoothness and political flash of his top rivals in the race, Lt. Gov. Gavin  Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa.

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Eight years after losing a bitter Republican primary for governor and stepping away from California’s political scene, Steve Poizner said Monday that he will run again for the elected office he gave up in that contest — state insurance commissioner.

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, at a presidential debate more than a decade ago, linked gay rights with “transvestites,” polygamists and people who have sex with animals.

The Rancho Santa Fe businessman, who was asked about the “homosexual agenda” during a 2007 Values Voters debate, responded by saying that while the United States is a free country, the government should not “sanction” gay relationships.

Cox also made a derogatory remark about transgender people.