A sweeping effort designed to give Californians more information about the biggest donors to ballot measure campaigns was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday, a major victory for groups that insist the current system fails to help voters make an informed choice.
The law will simplify the wording on political advertisements that discloses the top three donors of $50,000 or more to a campaign. It also changes existing state regulations on when and how to disclose “earmarked” donations in campaign finance reports — donations that are bundled together by a group such as a labor union or other membership organization.
“Transparency in elections is critical to our democracy and AB 249 brings that transparency to California, giving our voters the opportunity to make informed decisions based on honest information,” said Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), the bill’s author, after it was sent to Brown in September.
It happens every year: Halloween and politics mix.
California’s politicos got in the spirit on social media.
Rep. Maxine Waters got a shoutout from a little girl in Oakland, with a play ona now viral incident in which Waters dismissed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for not answering her questions in a committee hearing and using up her allotted time.
More than half of the money raised for the most contested House races in California is going to candidates in Orange County, another indication of its starring role in the Democratic effort to win back control of the House next year.
Of the 80 or so challengers in California, 27 are running in Orange County. A Los Angeles Times analysis of this year’s campaign finance filings found it is also where the cash is going to: About $15 million of the nearly $28.5 million raised this year for 13 key races went to candidates in just four Orange County districts:
Trump attacked the effort -- and Steyer -- on Twitter after the ad ran during "Fox and Friends" on Friday. Steyer's staff members said they haven't determined whether the president's tweet boosted the signature effort.
Gov. Jerry Brown has mapped out a busy European travel schedule that includes attending the next United Nations conference on climate change in Bonn, Germany.
“While the White House declares war on climate science and retreats from the Paris Agreement, California is doing the opposite and taking action,” Brown said in a statement. “We are joining with our partners from every part of the world to do what needs to be done to prevent irreversible climate change.”
Roughly two dozen public events are planned over 10 days, starting with a speech at a Vatican symposium on Saturday. Brown won't be the only California politician at the conference. Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) is speaking later that day, and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) is scheduled to appear Friday.
California no longer should give specific tax incentives to businesses and instead should provide broad-based tax relief, the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said in a new report.
The analyst's office examined California Competes, a program that began four years ago to give tax credits to businesses looking to move to the state or remain here, and found it puts existing companies that don't receive the awards at a disadvantage without clear benefits to the overall economy.
"Picking winners and losers inevitably leads to problems. In the case of California Competes, we are struck by how awarding benefits to a select group of businesses harms their competitors in California," the report said. "We also think the resources consumed by the program are not as focused as they should be on winning economic development competitions with other states to attract major employers that sell to customers around the country and the world."
If electric utilities are found at fault in the recent wildfires in the North Bay, a group of state lawmakers want to ensure they don't pass along their costs to residents.
"Victims of devastating fires and other customers should not be forced to pay for the mistakes made by utilities," state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said in a release.
Hill is one of four Bay Area legislators who said they plan to introduce a bill when lawmakers return to the Capitol in January to block any effort by utilities found at fault to recoup any costs from ratepayers.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) endorsed the reelection bid of longtime colleague Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Monday, saying her seniority is a source of strength for the state.
"Feinstein is a strong voice and a staunch advocate for the people of California. Dianne Feinstein is uniquely positioned to defend California against Donald Trump’s constant attacks on health care, immigration and voting rights. She is a recognized leader in the Senate on economic policies that work for all Californians, defending against tax policies that hurt our state," Pelosi said in a statement released by the Feinstein campaign.
A coalition including police officers and prosecutors on Monday proposed a California state initiative that would end early release of rapists and child traffickers and expand the number of crimes for which authorities could collect DNA samples from those convicted.
The ballot measure is sponsored by the California Public Safety Partnership, and would reverse some elements of Proposition 47, which was approved by voters in 2014 and reduced some crimes deemed nonviolent from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The proposed initiative would add 15 crimes to the list of violent crimes for which early release is not an option, including child abuse, rape of an unconscious person, trafficking a child for sex, domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon.
It started with a dinner invitation from a former assemblyman more than twice her age. He had offered his services as a mentor, but his hand reaching for her knee under the table revealed other intentions. Then came the late-night phone calls and unexpected appearances at events she had to attend for her job in the Capitol.
Fresh out of college, Amy Brown did what she thought women were supposed to do in these situations — she reported him. The former assemblyman accused her of slander, an experience that left her so humiliated that she left Sacramento for a new job in San Jose.
“I immediately got the hell out of town,” Brown said. “I felt like the people — the person — I was relying on for advancement in my career was preying on me.”
So far this year, 80 challengers have reported raising money across California for the 2018 midterm elections, more than triple the number who had done so at this point in the 2016 election. Collectively, they've raised more than $14.9 million, and 70% of that has gone to the four Republican-held districts in Orange County that Democrats consider key to their chances.