Today’s Headlines: California puts abortion and contraceptive rights on the November ballot

A man walks by a Go Vote mural on Broadway in front of Grand Central Market.
California voters will decide in November whether the state Constitution should explicitly protect abortion and contraceptive rights.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Tuesday, June 28, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


California voters will decide on rights to abortion and birth control

The state’s voters will decide in November whether the California Constitution should explicitly protect a person’s right to an abortion and birth control.


The Democratic-controlled Legislature gave final approval to a measure that would put the issue before the state’s voters, in the latest countermeasure aimed at the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

The debate over abortion rights could boost voter turnout and force candidates in contested statewide and legislative races to reckon with an issue that has deeply divided the country.

More on the Roe decision

  • Vice President Kamala Harris said the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade was likely to endanger other rights, including gay marriage and birth control.
  • After the Supreme Court’s decision, leaders of evangelical and Catholic religious organizations that have waged war against legalized abortion said they would need to show that mothers, as well as their unborn children, would be supported and thrive in a post-Roe America.
  • Times photojournalist Gina Ferazzi captured the grief and anger inside an abortion clinic just after Roe vs. Wade was reversed.
  • History tells us that bad things can happen to an institution that loses its public credibility. The decline of the Supreme Court’s reputation for trustworthiness has been long in coming, but quickened during the last few years, writes Times columnist Michael Hiltzik.

House Jan. 6 panel has called a surprise hearing

The House Jan. 6 panel is calling an unexpected hearing this week to present evidence it says it recently obtained, raising expectations of new bombshells in the sweeping investigation into the Capitol insurrection.


The hearing comes after Congress has left Washington for a two-week recess. Lawmakers on the panel investigating the 2021 insurrection previously said there would be no more hearings until July. So far, the subject of the new hearing is unclear. A spokesman for the panel declined to comment on its substance.

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The Supreme Court has ruled for a coach who prayed on the field

Justices sided with a former high school football coach who prayed at the 50-yard line after games, ruling that his public prayers were protected as free speech and free exercise of religion. The 6-3 decision is a victory for those who seek a larger role for prayer and religion in public schools.

The court’s conservatives cast aside longstanding ideas that the Constitution mandates a strict separation of church and state. Although they agreed students may not be required to pray or listen to a religious message, they said private prayers at school are protected, not prohibited.

Coronavirus is becoming harder to avoid in California

The number of coronavirus cases reported in California is on the brink of crossing 10 million, a milestone that probably undercounts the total significantly yet still carries an increasing sense of inevitability.

Since the hyper-transmissible Omicron variant stormed onto the scene in early December, the virus has wormed its way into seemingly every family and social circle. With a plethora of high-profile people recently testing positive, the notion has grown that catching the coronavirus is no longer a matter of if but when.

More top coronavirus headlines

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

One man’s fight to end California’s ban on ferrets

It’s illegal to keep ferrets as pets in California, a fact that has defined much of Pat Wright’s adult life. In nearly three decades of ferret activism, Wright has gone to jail, run for political office, lobbied legislators, collected thousands of signatures and battled decades of rejection and apathy. One of his ferrets, Rocky, had to be euthanized after he bit a TV cameraman at a legalization rally.

Wright came closest to his goal in 2004, when the state Legislature passed a bill legalizing ferrets in California. But then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — a ferret fan — ultimately vetoed it. Although Wright is thinking of moving to Mexico, where ferrets are legal, he is still gathering signatures to place a proposition on the November ballot that would reclassify ferrets as domestic animals.

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A man walks down a hallway in a house without drywall.
For nearly a century, Japanese immigrants have lived in this boardinghouse in East Hollywood. It’s now a historic-cultural monument.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

L.A.’s last Japanese boardinghouse is safe, for now. Elderly tenants still worry. This month, the Los Angeles City Council designated the house at 564 N. Virgil Ave. in East Hollywood a historic-cultural monument, which would stave off, but not eliminate, the possibility of demolition.


A California company plans to shut off public access to forestland due to wildfire concerns. Sierra Pacific Industries last week said concerns over extreme drought conditions and increasing wildfire risks were prompting the company to close its forests, which span from near Lake Shasta, the towns of Burney and Quincy, and south toward Lake Tahoe and Sonora. The closures could last through fall 2022.

A grand jury ripped Anaheim for a lack of transparency in the Angel Stadium sale negotiations. “The City Council majority’s inappropriate handling of the stadium property transactions betrayed its constituents,” an Orange County grand jury said in its report amid an FBI investigation into public corruption.

A downtown real estate developer was found guilty in a Jose Huizar bribery case. A jury found Dae Yong Lee guilty of paying a $500,000 bribe to ensure the former councilman would shepherd his project through the city’s planning process. The jury also found Lee guilty of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

California State University has been shaken by sexual harassment scandals. Now it faces a state audit. The investigation will be conducted by the state auditor and focus on the chancellor’s office and three campuses, but the review could expand depending on what is uncovered.

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3 killed and dozens injured when Amtrak train from L.A. derails in Missouri. The train was headed from Los Angeles to Chicago and plowed into a dump truck Monday at a public crossing southwest of the rural town of Mendon at 12:42 p.m. There were 207 passengers and crew members on board.

Biden and the U.S.’ G-7 allies will increase defense aid and economic support to Ukraine. In a videoconference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pressed for more advanced weaponry and defense systems to blunt Russia’s air attacks — and the U.S. plans to deliver just that.

The U.K. is pressing on with a rewrite of Brexit rules while the EU calls it illegal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled that a plan to rip up parts of the post-Brexit trade deal he signed with the European Union could become law by the end of the year.


A cartoon TV show sparked an argument over an L.A. hotspot. Amazon’s animated series “Fairfax” is largely set on the stretch between Melrose and Beverly and satirizes the streetwear-focused “hypebeast” scene that’s centered there. It’s a curiously vulgar and often dark comedy, and its portrayal of Fairfax has touched a nerve.

Tom Hanks strikes out in ‘Elvis.’ It’s the rare misstep that illuminates a great career. If the tragedy of Elvis the man is that he never breaks free of Col. Tom Parker — the Dutch-born carnival barker-turned-music impresario who managed and exploited Presley for years — the tragedy of “Elvis” the movie is that it never does either, writes film critic Justin Chang.

Alec Baldwin doesn’t care what you think: He’s interviewing Woody Allen live. The veteran actor announced Sunday he would connect via Instagram Live with the disgraced director. They will likely discuss Allen’s new essay collection, “Zero Gravity.”

‘I want to scream’: Stand-up comics around L.A. rally onstage over Roe decision. Over the weekend, the Supreme Court’s decision sparked outrage that was transformed into jokes everywhere from indie parking lot shows to the Improv.


CVS and Rite Aid are rationing emergency contraception as demand surges. CVS is temporarily limiting purchases to three pills per customer to ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves. Rite Aid is also limiting purchases of Plan B to three per customer.

Drake’s party compound, the ‘Yolo Estate,’ has sold for $12 million. The Tudor-style house is a full-fledged party compound with a mechanical bull, sand volleyball court and custom swimming pool with an 80-foot rock waterslide and a secret grotto complete with TVs and a bar.

‘How I Met Your Mother’ star Alyson Hannigan is asking $18 million for an Encino compound. Known as the Sherman Residence, the compound was completed in 2001 by Peter Tolkin, a prolific architect whose other projects include Malibu’s Sunglass House and Pasadena’s Saladang Garden restaurant.


Is California ready for more Black people to legally carry guns in public? Following a Supreme Court ruling, California could be forced to confront a reality that has long made many self-proclaimed liberals uncomfortable: Black people — potentially a lot of us — legally carrying guns in public, writes columnist Erika D. Smith.

My high school classmates were massacred in 2018. How are we still in the exact same place? “In my first journalism job, I hid from an active shooter inside the newspaper room’s photo closet. I was 16, and editor in chief of my school newspaper. ... I start with this not for shock value or an attempt at gaining sympathy, but simply to share the truth of my life. The truth I skirt around whenever someone asks what city I am from or how I learned I wanted to write or what my high school was named.”

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Brittney Griner’s trial in Russia has been scheduled. More than four months after she was arrested at a Moscow airport for cannabis possession, a Russian court has set the trial start date of the U.S. basketball star for Friday.

A leap of faith led Tyrone Taleni from Samoa to USC for a sport he never played. His cousin Bernard Afutiti knew Taleni had designs on becoming a doctor, to help bring better medical access to Samoa. But pursuing that plan meant leaving the island for a higher education in the States, and college was costly. So Afutiti suggested football.

Marlin Briscoe, the first Black starting quarterback of the Super Bowl era, has died at age 76. Briscoe won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins. He was a receiver on the 1972 Dolphins team that finished with a perfect season.

The Angels and Mariners were disciplined following Sunday’s benches-clearing incident. A combined dozen members of the two teams were disciplined by Major League Baseball, including a 10-game suspension for interim Angels manager Phil Nevin.


An animation of a figure running and diving into a pool.
(Li Anne Liew / Los Angeles Times)

Cool off in 10 of L.A.’s hottest pools — with a day pass. Boy is it hot! Monday brought triple-digit temperatures in some areas and a heat advisory. But with tight water restrictions and drought, it’s hard to cool off at home. So why not head to the pool? L.A. is brimming with phenomenal hotel pools, and you don’t have to spend $500 a night to take a dip.

A day pass is one of the closest things to vacation you can find without actually traveling anywhere, and it often comes with access to other amenities. Here are a few to try.


One end of a multistory building is in rubble. A Model T and a type of tractor from the same era are nearby.
June 1925: Crews work to clean up the San Marcos Building, at State and Anapamu streets, after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Santa Barbara.
(Los Angeles Times)

Ninety-seven years ago this week, at 6:42 a.m. on June 29, 1925, Santa Barbara was struck by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake. According to the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the twin towers of Mission Santa Barbara collapsed, and 85% of downtown commercial buildings were damaged or destroyed. A dam released 45 million gallons of water, “and a gas company engineer became a hero when he shut off the city’s gas supply and prevented fires like those that destroyed San Francisco 20 years earlier.”

The Times wrote the following day about the quake and its aftermath. L.A. supplied 120 police officers to protect the downtown from looting “as stocks of many of the stores were lying in the street.” At the County Jail, where walls had collapsed, no prisoners were injured “because they were all in a steel tank which protected them from falling debris and masonry. … When the keepers got to the tank, the entire twenty were on their knees on the floor, some offering up prayers for safety.” Quake refugees headed to Los Angeles by train. “Persons breathed a sigh of relief as they set foot on Los Angeles soil. They were glad to get away from the earthquake district and frankly admitted they never wanted to experience another.” More photos here.

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