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 .
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?