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March 21, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO--A last-minute effort to forge a legislative deal on medical malpractice damages - and avoid a bruising initiative battle between lawyers and medical providers--has stalled, parties involved in the discussions said Friday.  Trial lawyers and consumer groups have squared off against doctors, insurance companies and hospitals over caps on pain and suffering damages in malpractice cases. Those rewards have been capped at $250,000 since 1975, when the state enacted the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, or MICRA.  The lawyers have been gathering signatures for a ballot measure that would raise the cap to approximately $1.1 million.  It would also require doctors to be drug tested and to check a statewide database when prescribing certain medications to stop prescription drug abuse.
March 21, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- A judge on Friday ruled that Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch could be allowed on the ballot for the open 26th state Senate District seat in the June primary but county officials later determined he did not turn in enough valid signatures on nominating petitions to qualify. Mirisch would have been the only Republican candidate among seven Democrats and one candidate with no party preference who have filed papers to run for the seat. The office opened up when Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
March 8, 2014 | By Jean Merl
Organized chaos reigned Saturday afternoon as delegates of the California Democratic Party began casting their endorsement ballots in races featuring more than one Democrat vying for the party's backing. Cheering sections for state Sen. Alex Padilla of Pacoima, who is running for secretary of state, and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez of Los Angeles, who is campaigning for state controller, raucously greeted delegates as they arrived at the balloting area at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
March 7, 2014 | By Mark Z. Barabak
DES MOINES - For more than 40 years, Iowa voters have played a vital role in picking the nation's president, culling the field of hopefuls and helping launch a fortunate handful all the way to the White House. For about 35 of those years, Iowa has been the target of jealousy and scorn, mainly from outsiders who say the state, the first to vote in the presidential contest, is too white and too rural; that its caucuses, precinct-level meetings of party faithful, are too quirky and too exclusionary to play such a key role in the nominating process.
March 6, 2014 | By Gary Klein
Former USC football stars Tony Boselli, Mark Carrier and Keyshawn Johnson are among players on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame, it was announced Thursday. The three are among 75 players and six coaches from major college programs on the ballot. The 2014 class will be announced in May. Boselli, an offensive tackle, won All-America recognition in 1992 and 1994. He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the second pick in the 1995 NFL draft. Carrier also was a two-time All-American and won the Thorpe Award as college football's top defensive back in 1989.
March 5, 2014 | By Anthony Pesce
There were few surprises during Sunday's Academy Awards show, at least according to the thousands of L.A. Times readers who submitted their Oscar picks via our play-at-home ballot . The average reader got about half of his or her picks correct, with several people getting near-perfect scores. The winner for best picture, "12 Years a Slave," received about 55% of the vote -- with the next most popular choice from the nine-film field, "American Hustle," getting a paltry 14%. Given that most pundits felt the best picture contest was a three-way race among "12 Years a Slave," "American Hustle" and "Gravity," the selection of the eventual winner was a respectable showing indeed.
March 5, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
You'd think this would be a simple problem to fix: The unfair low limits on pain and suffering awards in California medical malpractice suits. But few things of genuine importance are simple in California's innately pugnacious Capitol. There's greed, ill will, stubbornness, hubris, vindictiveness, indifference ( doesn't affect me ), cowardice - all the human traits that politicians bring to Sacramento from the citizenry they represent. And too often these characteristics aren't tempered with people's counter-attributes of fairness, compromise and common sense.
March 2, 2014 | By Tracy Brown
The official voting period may have ended for the 2014 Oscars, but you still have time to make your predictions on who will leave the 86th Academy Awards with a new golden statuette. Use our play-at-home ballot of all 24 categories, make your predictions, then save and share them on Facebook and Twitter. Hosting an Oscar viewing party? You can also print blank ballots to pass out to your guests. Nine films earned nods for best picture this year, including top nominees “ American Hustle ” and “ Gravity ,” which led the field with 10 nominations each, and “ 12 Years a Slave ,” which received nine nominations.
March 2, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
An Oscar, whether it is for lead actress or for makeup and hair, weighs exactly the same (8.5 pounds). A win in production design represents a level of achievement in a craft on par with best director. The night for all the winners is just as golden - same stars overhead. Yet there is a different, dimmer spotlight on the below-the-line contenders. Their red carpet walk will go unnoted, their gowns and tuxedo flair overlooked and their heartfelt speeches mostly unremembered or rudely cut short.
February 24, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- A measure to block California's transgender students rights law failed to qualify for the November ballot Monday, according to the secretary of state's office. The referendum would have repealed a law passed last year that requires school districts to let transgender students participate in school programs and use school facilities, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, based on their gender identity instead of their biological sex.  The measure was backed by a coalition called Privacy for All Students.
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