Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico's secretary of foreign affairs, met with Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators this week. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León honored her on the Senate floor Thursday morning, and they held a press conference afterward.
Ruiz Massieu talked about the strong links between California's and Mexico's economies and the state's friendliness to Mexican immigrants. But one thing she didn't want to talk about was presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
She declined to address Trump when asked in English and Spanish about the candidate, including a question about Trump's proposal to build a wall along the border to be financed by Mexico.
Amid charges that polluting industries are taking over Southern California’s clean-air board, the state Senate on Tuesday approved countermeasures including an expansion of the board by three state apppointees.
Senate leader Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) introduced the bill that would expand the South Coast Air Quality Management Board from 13 to 16 members and require the board to submit to the state Air Resources Board its plans to meet federal and state air quality standards.
“As a result of deliberate efforts to weaken the board’s clean-air majority, there is not one single Latino on the board,” De Leon told his colleagues before they approved SB 1387 and sent it to the Assembly for consideration.
An effort to allow felons additional time to reduce their punishments under guidelines established by a 2014 ballot measure made it through the Assembly on Tuesday.
Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure, changed some nonviolent property and drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and allowed those previously convicted under the old rules to ask the courts to lower their punishments. But that provision ends next year, and Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) wants to give felons eligible for the relief five more years to reduce their punishments.
"We’re going to find a lot of cases where justice has been denied to individuals," Weber said during debate on the bill.
A year after approving a tougher equal-pay bill for women, the state Senate on Tuesday passed legislation aimed at closing a wage gap in California based on ethnicity.
State and federal law already ban employers from providing different pay based on race or ethnicity. The new measure proposed by Sen. Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) would broaden that prohibition by saying bosses cannot pay employees of one race less than they pay people of other ethnicities for "substantially similar work," even if their titles are different or they work at different sites.
The legislation, which now goes to the Assembly for consideration, would make it easier for employees to file legal claims over disparate pay.
"This is new territory for me," said Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley) as he counted the votes for his committee's simple bill to reauthorize membership dues charged to attorneys for joining the State Bar of California.
The bill only garnered eight votes in support, after a bipartisan group of assembly members rose to criticize the agency's operations in the wake of a recent audit and accusations leveled by its former executive director.
"It's time that we send a clear message to the state bar," said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).
Los Angeles County would be required to create an independent citizens panel to redraw county supervisor district boundaries after the next U.S. Census under a bill approved Tuesday by the state Senate.
Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) modeled his legislation after a process approved by state voters for redistricting at the state legislative level after the last U.S. Census.
“For a county with over 10 million residents … it is imperative that we have a fair and impartial process for drawing districting boundaries,” Lara told his colleagues.
The state Senate on Tuesday took initial action to pave the way for the state to reimburse San Bernardino-area agencies for the full $18-million cost of responding to the Dec. 2, 2015, mass shooting that left 14 people dead and even more injured.
Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino) said the attack created unusually high expenses for police and medical agencies that responded to the terrorist act.
State law would only allow the agencies to get 75% reimbursement, but Leyva said that would create a financial burden for local agencies. Leyva's bill allows 100% reimbursement.