675 posts
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Democrats
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Gubernatorial candidate John Chiang’s longtime political advisor has resigned after new consultants were hired to change the direction of the race the state treasurer is running, a campaign official said on Wednesday.

The person, who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity to freely discuss internal personnel moves, said Parke Skelton decided to leave the campaign after new consultants were hired around the end of the year.

“The campaign was planning on making a change in direction a little bit after the first of the year — ramp up the team, build capacity and bring in additional talent with the intention of collaboration,” the official said. “Somewhere along that line, Parke made the decision he wanted to resign. It’s unfortunate because that wasn’t the intention.”

  • California Legislature

Amid jubilant cheers and applause, Wendy Carrillo took to the Assembly floor for the first time Wednesday, thanking her parents in Spanish and pledging to work for every person who calls California home.

“I recognize that we must protect … our most vulnerable in our society and those whose voices ought to be amplified,” she said. 

The daughter of immigrants and a former radio show host, Carrillo became the newest member of the state Assembly after she won a special election in Los Angeles in December. She will serve out the term of former Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, who was elected to Congress last year in his own special election to replace Xavier Becerra, who was appointed state attorney general.

  • California Legislature
(PR Newswire)

A new bill in the state Legislature would prohibit the sale of any gasoline-powered car in California after 2040.

The measure, AB 1745, from Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) would only allow zero-emission vehicles to be sold after Jan. 1, 2040. Ting said the bill is necessary to meet California’s pollution reduction goals.

“California has long led the nation in promoting environmental protection and public health through visionary policies and technological innovations,” Ting said in a statement. “It’s time that we clear the path for emissions-free transportation and take significant steps to achieve our ambitious emissions reduction goals.”

  • California Legislature
Sen. Tony Mendoza, left, during a legislative session last year.
Sen. Tony Mendoza, left, during a legislative session last year. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A former aide to state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) has filed a written complaint alleging she was discriminated against and harassed by the lawmaker, and that she was improperly fired after she complained to other Senate officials.

The complaint by Adriana Ruelas was filed with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which looked at the allegations and then closed the case, giving Ruelas the ability to file a lawsuit against Mendoza and the Senate.

Micha Star Liberty, an attorney for Ruelas, declined to say whether a lawsuit is planned.

Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), left, talks last year about a pending bill with Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills).
Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), left, talks last year about a pending bill with Sen. Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Just hours before a Republican lawmaker will seek a Senate vote to expel him over sexual harassment allegations, state Sen. Tony Mendoza on Wednesday offered his most detailed denial of wrongdoing yet, distancing himself from lawmakers accused of inappropriately touching women.

He called on his colleagues to wait for the results of an investigation before seeking additional sanctions.

Republican Sen. Andy Vidak of Hanford plans to seek a vote on a resolution to expel Mendoza, while Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) has asked Mendoza to take a leave of absence pending the results of an investigation, a request Mendoza has denied.

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, left, and Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido.
Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, left, and Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

California legislative leaders announced Wednesday that the state Senate and Assembly will for the first time work together to examine how sexual harassment complaints are handled in the Capitol.

The joint committee, led by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), will look at procedures to better protect victims of misconduct. Critics of the Legislature’s current process have often pointed out that the two houses have their own policies to handle complaints, causing confusion and inconsistencies for people who work in the Capitol.

The announcement comes as legislators return to the Capitol for their first day of work in 2018.

  • California in Congress

President Trump has nominated Marie Royce of Fullerton to be assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs.

Her husband, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the State Department, including education and cultural programs.

An aide on the foreign affairs committee said the congressman was not involved in the appointment and that oversight of the State Department will not change if Marie Royce is approved by the Senate. She isn’t the first spouse of a senior member of Congress to be picked to join the Trump administration. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)
California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) (David Butow / For the Times)

Californians might soon be able to make donations to the state in an effort to blunt the effects of the federal tax overhaul recently signed by President Trump.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) is planning to introduce legislation that would allow Californians to count a portion of their tax bill as a donation, which would circumvent the federal GOP’s tax plan’s cuts to state and local tax deductions. Charitable donations remain deductible on federal taxes.

“For every dollar that a Californian sends as a charitable contribution to California, you can write that off,” De León said in an interview with CNN Wednesday. “It’s legal. It’s legitimate.”

  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
(Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Jackie Speier says she isn’t jumping into California’s governor’s race, despite former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown’s assertion that the Hillsborough Democrat was weighing a run.

Brown wrote in his San Francisco Chronicle column Sunday that, “My phone has been lighting up with messages that Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier is spending the New Year’s weekend in Palm Springs with her advisers and mulling a possible run for governor.”

Speier, who has served in the House since 2008, denied interest in joining the race through a spokesman Wednesday.

  • State government
  • California Legislature
  • Governor's race
  • 2018 election
  • California Republicans

Republican gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen on Tuesday urged President Trump and U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to sue California over the state’s immigration policies.

"The California legal system is broken, the California political system is broken. That’s why we truly need Washington to hear this message and come to California, sue California, take them to Supreme Court, and let's get the Constitution enforced because there’s a lot of Californians here that want to be protected," Allen, a state assemblyman from Huntington Beach, said in an interview on Fox News. “Until we get a new governor in the state … we could actually use some help from the national guys.”

Allen made the remarks during a discussion about California’s new “sanctuary state” status on an episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”