Republican joins 2018 race for California governor

As reported by the Fresno Bee:

Assemblyman Travis Allen is the sixth candidate — and second Republican — to jump into California’s 2018 gubernatorial contest.

The candidates hoping to replace Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown are:

—Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. Newsom announced his bid to succeed Brown early, in 2015. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2010 after serving as San Francisco’s mayor.

—Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat. Villaraigosa is a former mayor of Los Angeles, the first Latino to hold the post in more than a century.

—State Treasurer John Chiang, a Democrat. Chiang serves as the state treasurer and would be California’s first Asian-American governor.

—Delaine Eastin, a Democrat. Eastin is the former state superintendent of public instruction, leading California’s public school system from 1995 to 2003.

—John Cox, a Republican. Cox is a San Diego-based businessman with experience in real estate management and investment firms. He’s already dumped $3 million of his own money into the race. He previously made an unsuccessful run for Congress in Illinois.

—Travis Allen, a Republican. Allen is a three-term assemblyman from Huntington Beach. He’s heading a ballot initiative to repeal a gas tax increase passed by mostly Democratic lawmakers earlier this year.

Judge allows lawsuit on life-ending drugs for terminally ill

As reported by the Associated Press:

A judge on Friday allowed a legal challenge to proceed against California’s law letting terminally ill patients seek prescriptions for life-ending drugs.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that a group of doctors had provided sufficient information for a lawsuit over the 2016 law allowing medically-assisted death.

California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra had argued that the suit should be dismissed because doctors aren’t bound to issue these prescriptions and the law merely offers patients a choice. But Ottolia found that the plaintiffs had alleged enough information to argue that the law violates the state’s constitution by treating terminally ill people distinctly from others contemplating taking their lives.

“This is a violation of both the equal protection and due process clause of the constitution,” plaintiffs’ attorney Stephen Larson told reporters after the ruling.

California is one of a number of states where terminally ill patients can get prescriptions to take life-ending drugs, along with Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana. …

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When does the California minimum wage go up again?

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation raising California’s mandatory minimum to $15 an hour by 2022. California saw its first increase in January 2017, as the minimum wage increased from $10 to $10.50 an hour.

Even though California didn’t see the nation’s biggest minimum wage increase, the raise produced the largest increase in total wages in the country, according to the Bee’s Foon Rhee.

So when is the next one coming?

The next increase in minimum wage is in just over six months, on Jan. 1, 2018, according to the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations.

For employers with 26 employees or more, the minimum wage will increase by another 50 cents this year, before …

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California members of Congressional baseball team check in safe after shooting

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

California lawmakers began offering support Wednesday morning after Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), and several other people who were shot during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia.

Eight California lawmakers are listed on the roster for the 2017 game, and several went on social media to check in safe and condemn the shooting. The lone Republican player was not near the scene, according to local TV reports.  Democratic representatives, including Jared Huffman and Eric Swallwell of the Bay Area, used social media to share prayers for those injured and to credit Capitol Police for their quick response to the shooting.

The House has sharply curtailed its business Wednesday following the shooting.

A message from the GOP leadership says no votes are expected in the House Wednesday. Members also won’t be allowed to make short speeches during what’s known as the morning hour. …

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Democrats push new rules to help them win an election

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Democrats are pushing late-blooming bills to significantly improve state Sen. Josh Newman’s odds of surviving an effort by the state GOP and others to recall him from office.

The proposed changes, which became public Monday morning, would add months to the existing timeline of certifying a recall election for the ballot. The measure would virtually assure that any recall election would be held at the regularly scheduled June 5, 2018 legislative primary election.

Regular election turnout historically is much higher than turnout for special elections, which helps Democrats.

The effort to recall Newman, D-Fullerton, began soon after his April 6 vote for a road-funding plan that will raise taxes on gas and diesel and vehicle fees by billions of dollars. Newman, who represents an area that has long had Republican representation, won election last fall by just 2,498 votes.

Republican lawmakers and other recall supporters denounced Monday’s legislation as an abuse of power. …

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California could become a sanctuary state for marijuana

As reported by CNN Money:

California lawmakers are trying to protect the marijuana industry by establishing California as a sanctuary state for pot.

A bill moving through the state legislature would prohibit state and local police from assisting federal agents who target marijuana businesses that are legal according to state law, unless those agents have a court order.

“The reason for this is because the present administration in Washington is very unpredictable,” Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat from Los Angeles and the author of the bill, told CNNMoney. “This is protecting the rights of Californians.”

The bill passed the state Assembly 41-33 last week. Most Democrats supported the bill, and most Republicans opposed it. …

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California’s Single-Payer Healthcare Bill Isn’t Based in Reality

As reported by National Review Online:

On Thursday, the California state Senate passed Senate Bill 562, which seeks to establish a statewide single-payer healthcare system.

Democratic senator Ricardo Lara, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, co-authored the bill and advocated its passage, but failed to explain how the proposal’s $400-billion price tag will be financed.

The bill represents a key progressive goal, and yet, it will almost certainly never be signed into law — even though Californians have elected Democratic majorities to both legislative chambers and a Democratic governor. Why not? Because it’s absurdly expensive. This year’s entire state budget is $180 billion. The single-payer system called for in 562 costs more than double that. …

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California Bills Target Private Business to Help Immigrants

As reported by NBC News:

California Democrats are expanding their efforts to resist President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigrants in the country illegally with bills aimed at limiting how much private businesses can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Democrats control all levels of state government, and leaders have vowed to resist Trump administration policies at every turn. Immigration is among their key issues, but most legislation so far has been aimed at limiting what police can do to help immigration authorities and providing additional state services and support to immigrants in the country illegally.

Now, two bills that advanced in the Assembly in the past week are taking aim at private businesses.

A measure that would bar landlords from disclosing tenants’ immigration status or reporting them to immigration officials passed the chamber. A bill prohibiting public and private employers from letting immigration agents come into their worksites or view their employee files cleared a committee. …

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California Advances Private Sector Retirement Plan Without Feds

As reported by KQED:

California officials vowed to move ahead with a retirement savings program for the state’s private sector workers, a day after losing the federal government’s support for the initiative.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and State Treasurer John Chiang said [last week] that the state will still enact the Secure Choice program, authorized last year, that will create retirement accounts for nearly 6.8 million Californians. De Leon criticized opponents of the plan as representing the interests of large banks and brokerage firms.

“California will move forward with Secure Choice with or without Washington’s blessing,” said de Leon, who authored the legislation that created the program. “We will put the future and well-being of our workers over Wall Street greed any day of the week.”

California’s program would automatically enroll private sector workers into a state-run retirement program. Unless they opted out, employees would contribute 3 percent of their earnings and a state board would oversee and invest the funds. …

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California Bill Would Tie Traffic Fines To Violator’s Income

As reported by CBS13:

SACRAMENTO — If you’ve ever gotten a traffic violation, you know it all too well that California’s traffic fines are among the highest in the nation.

But a state Senator wants to lower fines for people who don’t make much money while making it illegal for the state to suspend your driver’s license if you can’t afford to pay.

Devon Olson is in the passenger’s seat, while mom drives her around town.

“I’m Uber mom these days,” mom said.

Devon lost her license because of $3,600 in unpaid traffic tickets. The biggest penalty is a red light camera violation. But she says she wasn’t home to receive the tickets in the mail. Then the late fees kept building and she had to give up the car. …

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