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OPINION
December 15, 2009 | By Jonathan Estrin and Marshall Croddy
Watching the often vitriolic debates in Congress these days can be disturbing. But disagreement and debate are part of our national DNA. Consider the Bill of Rights, which was as controversial when it was first debated as parts of it still are today. FOR THE RECORD: Rights: An Op-Ed article Monday on the Bill of Rights said it was ratified 118 years ago. It was ratified 218 years ago. — The founders of our country, united in the revolution, were divided over the issue of including a bill of rights in the Constitution of 1787.
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BUSINESS
April 28, 2014 | Marc Lifsher
The pace of lawmaking is speeding up at the Capitol. With legislators back from spring break, rallies are in full swing on the Capitol steps; lobbyists of all stripes are packing the ornate hearing rooms and overflow crowds are watching television feeds in hallways. "There's definitely a push to get bills moving," said Sarah Swanbeck of California Common Cause, a government reform lobby. "You can feel the pressure. " Friday is the deadline for bills to get a first hearing.
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BUSINESS
September 12, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - A bill that would boost California's minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016 won approval by the state Legislature on Thursday and was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, who said he would sign it. The measure would raise the current $8 minimum wage to $9 an hour next July 1 and to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. The 25% increase would be the first minimum-wage hike in California in five years and would put extra money in the pockets of an estimated 2.4 million Californians. "This is the time to raise the minimum wage to provide relief for hard-working families," said the bill's author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 26, 2014 | Martha Groves
The Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills, a classic Art Deco venue with a celebrity-studded past, has been sold to Paula Kent Meehan, the philanthropist who also is buying the Beverly Hills Courier. Built on Wilshire Boulevard in 1936 as the Regina, the compact, single-screen theater served for years as a venue for small premieres that drew Hollywood A-listers. In 1948, it was renamed the Fine Arts Theater and showed the premiere of "The Red Shoes. " Among the invited guests were Susan Hayward, Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner and Shirley Temple.
BUSINESS
September 30, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- California consumers soon will be paying for a new state mattress recycling program, funded by a fee on bedding purchases. On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill by Sens. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) and Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), SB 254, aimed at taking an estimated 2 million used mattresses and box springs a year off city streets, vacant lots and rural lands. The bill backed is both by mattress manufacturers and retailers as well as  environmentalists. Quiz: How much do you know about mortgages?
NEWS
July 22, 2013 | By Daniel Rothberg
Probably nothing causes members of Congress more unease than having to talk about death. It's only been four years since healthcare reform became more about whether President Obama wanted to throw mama from a train via “death panels” than, well, how best to reform a broken healthcare system. Still, there are several representatives from both parties who want to discuss it. Since 2009, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has been pushing a bill that would require Medicare coverage for an optional end-of-life consultation between a patient and a doctor every five years (more often if the patient's health declines)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 16, 2013 | By Marisa Gerber
For many people living in the United States illegally, news Tuesday of a sweeping immigration overhaul bill elicited feelings of relief and guarded optimism. For Maria Galvan, 43, it meant she might be able to finally stop working odd jobs, like the one at a curtain factory. Maybe she can even open her own hair salon, a dream she had all but abandoned. And maybe, with some time, she can train herself not to slam on the brakes every time she sees a policeman. “It makes me happy to know we're being heard,” said Galvan, who crossed into the country illegally through Tijuana 13 years ago. “If this happens, it will be such a relief.” For Galvan- - and most of the 11 million others in the country without authorization- - the newly unveiled bill paves a 13-year-path toward citizenship and creates a new probationary legal status that would let people work and drive in the country without the fear of deportation.
OPINION
January 11, 2013
Several weeks ago, state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) proposed a sweeping set of protections for the homeless that have sparked almost as much controversy as the homeless themselves. The Homeless Person's Bill of Rights and Fairness Act, as AB 5 is titled, would guarantee the homeless the right to live in public much as other people do in their homes. They could sit, sleep, move about and engage in "life-sustaining activities that must be carried out in public spaces because of homelessness," such as eating, urinating and collecting trash to recycle.
BUSINESS
April 23, 2014 | Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Nearly 100 chanting and placard-waving union members marched to a downtown Sacramento office tower in a staged and futile attempt to serve a $240 million bill on the California Chamber of Commerce. The "invoice," union officials said, represented the amount of unpaid wages awarded by the state labor commissioner's office to workers that went uncollected from 2008 to 2011. The Service Employees International Union is sponsoring a bill aimed at preventing so-called wage theft.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Republican state Senators on Monday blocked a bill that would require more disclosure of those who contribute money through nonprofit groups to affect California elections, the first legislative setback for Democrats since they lost their supermajority two weeks ago. With all Republicans either voting against the bill or withholding a vote, the tally was 26 to 4, one vote short of the two-thirds majority to approve SB 27 as an urgency...
SPORTS
April 23, 2014 | By Houston Mitchell
Give me a two! Give me a four! Give me an eight! Now add some zeroes at the end and a dollar sign in front! That's the cheer that five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders may be using in New York State Supreme Court after they sued the team on Tuesday because they say they were underpaid. The suit alleges that the cheerleaders, the Buffalo Jills, are wrongly classified as independent contractors and are subjected to policies that violate the state's $8 per hour minimum wage law. The five women said they worked hundreds of hours for free at games and at mandatory public appearances at which they were subjected to groping and sexual comments.
BUSINESS
April 23, 2014 | Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Nearly 100 chanting and placard-waving union members marched to a downtown Sacramento office tower in a staged and futile attempt to serve a $240 million bill on the California Chamber of Commerce. The "invoice," union officials said, represented the amount of unpaid wages awarded by the state labor commissioner's office to workers that went uncollected from 2008 to 2011. The Service Employees International Union is sponsoring a bill aimed at preventing so-called wage theft.
OPINION
April 23, 2014 | Times Editorial Board
Even as the United States continues its historic move toward fairness and equity for gay people, antiquated anti-sodomy laws remain on the books in a dozen states. Theoretically, these laws were rendered unenforceable by the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Lawrence vs. Texas, but apparently not everyone has received that message. In the Lawrence case, the court declared that state laws banning consensual same-sex relations were unconstitutional. Yet somehow, between 2011 and 2014, 12 men were arrested in East Baton Rouge Parish in Louisiana under the state's remaining anti-sodomy laws.
BUSINESS
April 22, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Canadian company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and activist investor Bill Ackman moved forward with their plans to acquire Botox maker Allergan Inc., offering shareholders about $46 billion and touching off what could be a contentious fight. Several industry analysts said they expect Allergan to reject the offer as too low, and said a fierce boardroom battle may be on the horizon. An issue certain to alarm Allergan is Valient's announced plans to slash research and development spending at the Irvine company.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Activist investor Bill Ackman is partnering with a Canadian pharmaceutical company in an effort to buy Allergan Inc., the Irvine company that makes the popular wrinkle treatment Botox. Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. have already acquired nearly 10% of Allergan's shares and will soon offer to purchase the company, Ackman and Valeant said Monday in a regulatory filing. News of the likely bid increased the stock price of both companies. In after-hours trading, investors drove up Allergan as much as 21% and Valeant by 10%. No formal offer was made Monday, but there was speculation about how much Allergan could fetch.
OPINION
April 21, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Faced with the threat of a ballot initiative on teacher firings that could have placed it in the awkward position of publicly defending child molesters, the California Teachers Assn. agreed to a compromise: legislation to streamline the appeals process for teachers who are accused of such egregious misconduct. The procedures outlined in the bill strike the right balance of providing teachers with due process to ensure that they have not been fired unfairly, while speeding up the process and making it far simpler and less expensive.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- A Republican measure that would have prohibited public transit workers from striking was rejected by a state Senate panel Monday with Democrats in opposition. Senate Republican leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) introduced SB 423 in response to two recent Bay Area Rapid Transit strikes in the San Francisco area that disrupted service to thousands of commuters. Huff declared the measure dead for the year after three Democrats on the Senate Public Employees and Retirement Committee voted against the bill and it received support only from two Republicans.
NATIONAL
February 20, 2014 | By Cindy Carcamo
TUCSON -- Say a gay couple in Phoenix walks into a bakery to order their wedding cake. The baker refuses to take their order because of his deeply held religious beliefs. Under a measure that passed the Arizona Legislature this week, the baker would have greater protection to invoke religion to shield himself from a discrimination lawsuit. The bill, approved by the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday and the GOP-led House on Thursday, would bolster a business owner's right to refuse service to gays and others if the owner believes doing so violates the practice and observance of his or her religion.
NATIONAL
April 21, 2014 | By Richard Simon
Thousands of bills are introduced in a congressional session, but only a fraction become law. Even without that success, they call attention to their causes - or their sponsors. Here are a few of the eclectic measures awaiting action in Congress. Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act: Would establish the Apollo Lunar Landing Sites National Historical Park on the moon. Argument for: "In 1969, led by the late Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong, American ingenuity changed history as humanity took a giant leap forward on the surface of the moon," said Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.)
BUSINESS
April 20, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
The job : Bill Dombrowski is president of the California Retailers Assn., a trade group based in Sacramento that includes most of the country's largest store chains, including 7-Eleven Inc., Safeway Inc., Macy's Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Home Depot Inc. For the last 20 years, he's crafted political and legislative strategies for the association, whose members generate more than $570 billion in annual sales and employ nearly 2.8 million people....
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