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  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Most attention is focused on Democratic efforts to flip vulnerable Republican-held seats, but that doesn’t mean that the handful of potentially weak incumbent Democrats in California can breathe easy going into 2018.

A UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies poll released Wednesday found that likely voters in one of the most volatile districts, the 7th Congressional District, are “inclined” to reelect Democratic Rep. Ami Bera of Elk Grove by a 48% to 44% margin.

The Sacramento-area seat is a frequent Republican focus. Bera won a third term with 51.2% of the vote in 2016 and so far, his 2018 opponents have struggled to break through or compete with his current $1.4-million war chest.

  • California Legislature
Uber's headquarters in San Francisco
Uber's headquarters in San Francisco (David Butow / For The Times)

A Bay Area lawmaker wants to require Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies to have all electric fleets by 2028. 

Senate Bill 1014 from Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would set goals for the electrification of ride-hailing cars over the next decade, and set aside up to $300 million to help subsidize the purchase of electric cars by ride-hailing drivers.

As the ride-hailing companies continue to gain popularity, particularly in urban areas, their cars should lead the way on adopting zero-emission vehicles, Skinner said in a statement.

(Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)

The new sexual harassment reporting and settlement process for Capitol Hill staffers that was approved by the House Tuesday would put victims in control, said California Rep. Jackie Speier.

Speier (D-Hillsborough) and House Administration Committee members wrote the legislation that would simplify the current convoluted sexual harassment reporting process. The legislation follows a series of high-profile sexual harassment stories that have rocked Hollywood, the media and Capitol Hill. Speier said the current process was designed to protect harassers.

“The victim becomes the person we’re putting first and foremost,” Speier said at a news conference after the House approved the bill by a voice vote. “The victim will have support, the victim will have legal representation. The victim will be in charge and any member who thinks, moving forward, that they are going to get away with sexual harassment, we have a big wakeup call for you.”

  • California Legislature
  • Sexual harassment
(Los Angeles Times)

Any California registered lobbyist found to have committed sexual harassment could be banned from similar work for up to four years under a plan introduced on Tuesday at the state Capitol.

“We need to protect people throughout the Capitol community from harassment and hold perpetrators accountable," Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) said. "The scope of sexual harassment expands beyond the Legislature, and we have a duty to protect the entire community.”

Levine’s bill would require the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which oversees much of the regulation of lobbying, to investigate sexual harassment complaints made against individuals who are registered to lobby state officials. The ban for those found guilty could, in some cases, be imposed for as long as four years.


At Old Salle Cafe, near the northern outskirts of this deeply conservative farming city, Archie Harrison said he did not know much about his congressman, Devin Nunes, nor did he need to know more.

  • Ballot measures
  • 2018 election
John Cox, GOP candidate for governor and author of the "Neighborhood Legislature" initiative
John Cox, GOP candidate for governor and author of the "Neighborhood Legislature" initiative (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

An effort to radically reshape California’s legislative branch of government by electing as many as 12,000 local representatives failed Tuesday to qualify for the November state ballot.

The proposal’s backer, Republican businessman and candidate for governor John Cox, spent six years trying to get his “Neighborhood Legislature” plan in front of voters. State elections officials announced that the latest campaign fell short by 25,501 valid voter signatures.

More than 18,000 signatures collected by petition circulators were rejected after local registrars reviewed each of the signatures collected over the course of the last several weeks.

  • State government
Former President Ronald Reagan
Former President Ronald Reagan (Associated Press)

California Gov. Jerry Brown has declared Feb. 6 Ronald Reagan Day in honor of the 107th anniversary of the former U.S. president and governor’s birth.

Brown said Californians should recognize Reagan’s diplomatic achievements with the former Soviet Union and the economic recovery that occurred during his presidency in the 1980s.

“Above all, we remember the man: his irresistible optimism, faith and good humor,” Brown wrote in a proclamation Tuesday. “As a way to honor his memory, I recommend that Californians give as generously as they can to the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute, an initiative of the Alzheimer’s Association.”

The Kern River along Highway 178 east of Bakersfield.
The Kern River along Highway 178 east of Bakersfield. (Casey Christie / Associated Press)

California is one of 10 states that sued the Trump administration on Tuesday to challenge its decision to suspend the 2015 Clean Water Rule aimed at protecting lakes, rivers, and streams from pollutants.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said the lawsuit alleges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acted without authority in suspending the rule, did not provide a rational explanation and did not provide required notice and opportunity for public comment.

The 2015 rule provided a broader definition of waterways to be protected.

  • Congressional races
  • 2018 election
Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), the incumbent in the 25th Congressional District, answers a question during a debate.
Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), the incumbent in the 25th Congressional District, answers a question during a debate. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Vulnerable California Republicans’ chances of holding their seats may hinge on distancing themselves from President Trump, according to a poll of likely voters released Tuesday.

The mid-January poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies found that likely voters in two of the most competitive districts in the state are unhappy with Trump’s performance and are “disinclined” to reelect their members of Congress.

About 56% of likely voters in the 25th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Steve Knight of Palmdale, are disinclined to reelect the congressman, while 38% say they are inclined to do so.