Newsletter: Essential Politics: Get ready to vote on pot


Even in the face of a very long and complex set of statewide propositions this November, odds are one will stand out above all others: the question of whether to legalize marijuana.

And now, it’s officially earned a place on the ballot.

Good morning from the the state capital. I’m Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers, and the news came late on Tuesday that a marijuana measure gathered almost 424,000 valid voter signatures, more than enough to qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot.


Championed by Napster and Facebook impresario Sean Parker and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the proposal seeks success where past efforts have failed — most notably, Proposition 19 in 2010.

But as Patrick McGreevy reports, backers of this effort claim things will be different in 2016, now that other states have surged ahead of California and the details of the legalization effort have been improved.

Add the national attention to the big-name backers and the issues at hand, and it seems a sure bet that legalizing pot will be a marquee moment on the fall ballot.



Tuesday’s deadly airport attack in Istanbul served as another reminder of how terrorism continues to recalibrate the race for the White House.

Donald Trump re-upped his call for waterboarding in speaking to a crowd in Ohio on Tuesday night. Hillary Clinton issued a statement about the attack, but didn’t discuss it during an event in Los Angeles.

Meantime, the final chapter in the 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi played out just a few hours earlier.

For the better part of a year, it’s seemed as though House Republicans were aiming for Clinton in their exhaustive investigation into the events surrounding the event. But the final 800-page report, released Tuesday, was more broadly targeted at the administration of President Obama, not his secretary of State.

As Evan Halper reports, that’s not to say the Benghazi investigation found no signs of errors in the wake of chaotic events in the Libyan city. But clearly the assumed hit it would make on Clinton didn’t pan out, a point that Democrats crowed about throughout the day on Tuesday.


As noted, Clinton was in Los Angeles on Tuesday. In addition to two fundraising events, the presumptive Democratic nominee held an event focused on technology. A similar event was held earlier in the day in Denver.

Cathleen Decker reports that Clinton worked hard during the Tinseltown gathering to look forward with one of her patented wonky proposals, while Trump and Republicans try to pull her back into the past.



It wasn’t the kind of trash talk for which Trump has been criticized. (That’s a nod to the social media buzz about Trump’s Tuesday backdrop.)

The presumptive GOP nominee was in Pennsylvania to talk about trade, and he suggested that he would reverse course on some of the most well-known U.S. trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA.

“A Trump administration will change our failed trade policies, and I mean quickly,” he said.


Trump has sharply increased his fundraising schedule, and is headed back to California on July 13 to get some of the state’s wealthiest donors to write more checks.

Tickets range from $25,000 to $449,400 per person for the reception and dinner in Rancho Santa Fe, according to an invitation obtained by The Times.



A state Senate committee on Tuesday killed two bills that would have set statewide policies for police review of body camera footage, leaving the broad debates of privacy and transparency unsettled for another year, Liam Dillon reports.

The death of the two bills combined with other failed efforts this year to boost transparency of police information largely leaves intact the status quo of limited public access to law enforcement records in California.


— A state Senate committee voted Tuesday to tighten California’s rape laws after public outcry over the sentence given to a former Stanford University student.

— With the Republican National Convention less than three weeks away, anti-Trump forces are making their rallying cry, “Free the delegates!

— State legislation requiring “tobacco-only” stores for cigarette sales was snuffed out in an Assembly committee hearing as it failed to win a single vote.

— Responding to questions about her absence from the House Democrats’ sit-in over gun control last week, Rep. Loretta Sanchez said her extended trip to Spain following a trade mission was “on my own dime.” She spoke to reporters after a roundtable she hosted to talk about higher education policy. At the event, she invoked her own reliance on government grants to get through college, and said the $30,000 in debt many students graduate with today is “a heck of a lot of money.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) and some of her fellow Democrats drowned out the acting speaker Tuesday afternoon during a brief, routine House meeting as they demanded a vote on gun legislation.

Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Los Angeles) brought a slice of last week’s Capitol Hill sit-in over gun violence to her district on Monday night.

— A heated political battle between healthcare workers and hospitals has been called off for November, as the workers union canceled its ballot measure that would cap the salaries of hospital CEOs.


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