FROM Patrick McGreevy
California hikes gas taxes to fix infrastructure The state legislature approved a $52 billion infrastructure bill, which means higher gas taxes and vehicle registration fees. We find out where the money will go.
New laws coming to California in 2017 There will be two dozen new California laws next year. As of January 1 , there will be new restrictions on texting while driving, a stricter rape law in reaction to the Stanford swimmer case, and a higher minimum wage.
Lawmakers' Five-Day Vacation to Maui -- All Expenses Paid This coming weekend, members of California's Assembly and Senate will be taking off for a five-day vacation at a five-star resort on the Island of Maui. It's all paid for by corporations and unions that try to influence the law-making process in Sacramento. They support a nonprofit called, the Independent Voter Project, which organizes the event. Every year, Patrick McGreevy of the LA Times tries to find out who's going and what they're going to be talking about.
Gov. Jerry Brown Signs The Trust Act, Other New Laws Immigrants’ rights activists are showering praise on Governor Brown for 8 new laws he signed into effect this weekend, including the Trust Act. It prohibits local law enforcement from placing 48 hour holds on undocumented immigrants when they’re been picked up for minor offenses. Last Thursday at LA City Hall, the Governor ended a longstanding battle by signing another bill making undocumented immigrants eligible for drivers’ licenses. That’s likely to mean a lot of new business for the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The FBI and a Political Dynasty in the San Gabriel Valley For the first time since the 1980's FBI agents raided offices in Sacramento last night. Their target was Democratic State Senator Ron Calderon of Montebello, who's part of a political dynasty in the San Gabriel Valley.
California Legislators Head to Business-funded Maui Retreat How about five days at a posh resort on the island of Maui, all expenses paid, even if you do have to report them to the Fair Political Practices Commission ? Fifteen California legislators, Democrats and Republicans, are attending an annual gathering this week, courtesy of the Independent Voter Project . Patrick McGreevy is staying home in Sacramento to report for the LA Times .
John Perez, First Openly Gay Assembly Speaker, Sworn In Today Democrat John Pérez was sworn in as the Speaker of the California State Assembly today. A former executive of the Food and Commercial Workers' Union still in his first term as a legislator, he's the 68th person in what's called California's second-most powerful elected office and the first to be openly gay. Patrick McGreevy reports from Sacramento for the Los Angeles Times .
Lobbyists and Lawmakers Sipping Wine at Budget Time December’s legislative spending reports were released last week, revealing that lawmakers of both parties continue to be wined and dined at lobbyists’ expense, 25 years after passage of political reform in California. One day after Governor Schwarzenegger announced a fiscal emergency, a two-day retreat was convened at the Wine and Roses hotel in Lodi. Patrick McGreevy has the evidence .
No Budget but Plenty of New Laws The new year means new laws for California. Governor Schwarzenegger signed 771 bills last year, on subjects ranging from text messaging while driving to pet trusts and electronic bingo machines. Most of them took effect January 1, as Patrick McGreevy reports in the Los Angeles Times .
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.