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June 18, 2013 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO - An Arizona law that denies immigrants who are in the country without legal permission the right to post bail for a wide array of felonies won approval Tuesday from a divided federal appeals court. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided 2 to 1 to uphold Arizona's Proposition 100, a 2006 ballot measure that voters approved 78% to 22% as a state constitutional amendment to create bail exceptions for immigrants who lack authorization. Two immigrants who were denied bail under the law challenged it in a class-action lawsuit.
June 14, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- The budget won't be the only big issue being considered by the Assembly on Friday. Democrats have scheduled a vote on a controversial constitutional amendment that would make it easier for cities and counties to raise property taxes or issue bonds to pay for infrastructure improvements. Under the amendment, bond issue proposals would need only 55% of the vote to pass, rather than the current two-thirds. The same reduced threshold would apply to votes on raising property taxes to cover the cost of the borrowing.
June 13, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - In the first and only vote Thursday on the immigration bill, senators turned back a Republican measure that would have delayed a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally until after the border with Mexico is fully secure. Republicans still plan to offer several other measures to enhance border security, but this one, from Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, was one of the most hard-line of the proposals. The 57-43 vote to defeat the amendment offered an imprecise test of whether the Senate will find the 60 votes needed to pass the bill.
June 12, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Enthusiasm in the Senate for the debate over immigration gave way to reality Wednesday as party leaders quarreled to a stalemate over how to consider dozens of proposed amendments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's move to schedule votes on the first five amendments was rejected by Republicans who opposed the Nevada Democrat's plan to require 60 votes for passage. "There is no reason, particularly in this first week, at the beginning of the process, to be blocking our amendments with a 60-vote margin," said Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who is leading the debate for Republicans.
June 5, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Part-time college student Ray Jose arrived at Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin's office this week with an overriding goal: To convince the West Virginia Democrat to back off his proposal to stiffen the educational requirements in the Dream Act section of the bipartisan immigration bill. The Dream Act is among the more popular, and less contested, parts of the Senate immigration overhaul - a provision that would allow young people who were brought to the United States as minors to receive green cards more swiftly if they serve in the military or attend college.
May 26, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - At the state Capitol, no bill is ever dead. Even the most moribund measure can be resurrected and sent to the governor, especially if leaders want to pass something without holding a bunch of hearings. That's when a sneaky technique called "gut and amend" comes into play. That's legislative lingo for taking an idle bill, stripping its contents and inserting all-new language. In a flash, a bill that dealt with community college transfer students turns into one that eases environmental reviews to build a Los Angeles football stadium.
May 22, 2013 | By Joseph Tanfani, Richard Simon and Melanie Mason, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - In a contentious climax Wednesday to a series of congressional hearings, Lois Lerner, a key IRS manager, invoked her right to not testify about the agency's targeting of conservative groups, igniting howls from Republicans and sparking a threat to bring her back for another round. Deprived of a crucial witness, members of Congress from both parties alternately grilled and scolded former Commissioner Douglas Shulman about the Internal Revenue Service's improper screening of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
May 22, 2013 | By Richard Simon and Melanie Mason
WASHINGTON - A top Internal Revenue Service official invoked the 5th Amendment and declined to testify Wednesday before a House committee investigating the agency's mishandling of applications by some conservative groups for tax-exempt status. Lois Lerner, director of the IRS' exempt organizations unit, spoke deliberately and crisply in her opening remarks to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the first time she has appeared before Congress since she revealed earlier this month that the division she oversaw inappropriately screened and questioned tea party and other groups seeking nonprofit status.
May 21, 2013 | By Joseph Tanfani, Richard Simon and Melanie Mason, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - As the Internal Revenue Service's last two directors struggled to provide answers Tuesday about the agency's improper scrutiny of conservative groups, a lawyer for another key IRS official said she would invoke the 5th Amendment rather than answer questions about the screening and why she didn't tell Congress about it. Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, will assert her right against self-incrimination during her...
May 21, 2013 | By Richard Simon and Joseph Tanfani
WASHINGTON  - A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency's improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups. Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won't answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening  - or why she didn't disclose it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III. Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.
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