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BUSINESS
November 21, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate approved legislation, 64-32, that would prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employee Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA for short, was first introduced in 1994 and has been brought up time and time again in Congress but went nowhere. The legislation is now before the U.S. House of Representatives, but it faces tough odds there. House Speaker John Boehner has said there is "no basis or need" for the legislation and it's unclear whether the Republican leader will let the bill come up for a vote.
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OPINION
April 15, 2014 | Patt Morrison
George Steffes was a boy standing on Wilshire Boulevard when Dwight D. Eisenhower rolled by in a motorcade, and he was mightily impressed. But that's not what got him into politics. He went to 5 o'clock Mass one day in 1966 and ran into an acquaintance who was working on Ronald Reagan's gubernatorial campaign. Steffes volunteered. He went to Sacramento as Reagan's legislative aide and has been there ever since. He helped to found the first multi-person lobbying firm in Sacramento, Capitol Partners, where he's now “senior advisor,” no longer running the firm day to day. Almost 50 years in Sacramento have given him a long view of its roller-coaster politicking, including low points like the recent indictment of state Sen. Leland Yee. The ride has left him a bit queasy.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 16, 2013 | By Paige St. John
California Gov. Jerry Brown's prison policy is forcing a split personality with federal courts. Brown on Tuesday repeated his insistence he will take no move to further reduce prison crowding unless ordered (again) to do so, and he included no money for prison leases and other proposals in his 2013-14 state budget. At the same time, Brown's administration officials told a panel of federal judges Wednesday the governor is working behind the scenes on that very legislation. "Defendants are drafting legislative language for these measures, which will delineate potential changes to state law to: (1)
NATIONAL
April 14, 2014 | By Lalita Clozel
WASHINGTON - E-cigarette companies are preying on young consumers by using candy flavors, social media ads and free samples at rock concerts, according to a report released Monday by Democratic legislators. A survey of nine electronic-cigarette companies found most were taking advantage of the lack of federal regulations to launch aggressive marketing campaigns targeting minors with tactics that would be illegal if used for traditional cigarettes, according to a report released by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 27, 2009 | GEORGE SKELTON
Here's another Sacramento reform for the long "to do" list -- one that wouldn't require a vote of the people or even the governor's signature. Prohibit the Legislature from voting on any bill after sunset. No exceptions -- and especially not a budget bill. That's a reform the Legislature could enact itself and clearly should. Knock off these incessant all-nighters that increasingly have become a mainstay of the Sacramento playbook.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 8, 2010 | By Howard Blume
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger visited a Los Angeles middle school Thursday to celebrate legislation that sets the course for future school reforms and improves the state's chances at qualifying for federal money to carry them out. The signing ceremony occurred at Bethune Middle School in Florence, which officials cited as successfully serving the low-income minority students who stand to benefit most from the new laws. The legislation was approved in the state Assembly and Senate earlier this week despite vigorous opposition from statewide teachers unions and other groups.
NEWS
April 16, 2012 | By Morgan Little
As the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 nears its time in the congressional spotlight, supporters and detractors alike are fine-tuning their arguments in preparation for another battle over how the Internet will be influenced by federal legislation. The core objective of CISPA is simple: Opening up greater means for communication between private entities and the federal government on issues of cybersecurity and national security. “Today the U.S. government protects itself using classified and unclassified threat information that it identifies from attacks on its networks,” a staffer on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said, introducing the legislation on a conference call April 10. “However, the majority of the private sector doesn't get access to this information because the government has no mechanism today for effectively sharing.” The points of contention reside within the details of the bill.
NEWS
March 14, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Men who want a prescription for pills to treat erectile dysfunction should have to first see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, according to legislation submitted to Ohio legislators last week by state Rep. Nina Turner,  a Democrat from Cleveland. Turner's bill is in response to another bill, dubbed the Heartbeat bill, now before the Ohio House, that would prohibit abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around the sixth week of gestation.
NATIONAL
December 11, 2012 | By Michael Memoli, Washington Bureau
One day before Michigan's Legislature reconvenes for what could be the final votes on "right-to-work" legislation, President Obama criticized the effort to bar unions from requiring nonunion workers to pay fees, saying it would hurt employees' ability to bargain for better wages. Authorities were bracing for an onslaught of demonstrators Tuesday by boosting the police presence and planning road closures and parking restrictions around the state Capitol in Lansing. When the surprise legislation was rushed through the Republican-dominated House and Senate last week, Democrats angrily objected and hundreds of chanting union activists clogged the hallways.
BUSINESS
March 15, 2010 | By Jim Puzzanghera
Legislation to be unveiled Monday by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd to overhaul the financial regulatory system is likely to be more modest than either the Obama administration's proposal last summer or a plan Dodd pushed last fall. Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, was set to release detailed legislation for the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations since the Great Depression, which Democrats want to pass before the fall elections. Tightening federal oversight of the financial system is designed to prevent a repeat of the banking-system meltdown in 2008 and is a priority of President Obama.
BUSINESS
April 13, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Renewal of important expired federal tax benefits for homeowners took a major step forward recently, but the route to final congressional approval is beginning to look longer - and potentially bumpier - than previously expected. Here's why. The Senate Finance Committee overwhelmingly approved a package of tax code goodies that includes a two-year reauthorization of the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, plus similar extensions for deductions of mortgage insurance premiums and energy-saving improvements to homes.
BUSINESS
April 10, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Private space companies, such as SpaceX in Hawthorne, would get a local property tax break on launch vehicles, fuel, satellites and other gear under a bill approved overwhelmingly Thursday by the state Senate. The proposal, AB 777 by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), would create the exemption from local property taxes for a 10-year period that would end Jan. 1, 2024. Legislation is needed to modernize the state's tax code to encourage companies such as billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX to build their rockets and spacecraft in California, Muratsuchi said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
A refresher course in avoiding illegal corruption is being planned for state senators and their staffs. That can't hurt. But it's unlikely to clean up any dirty legislators. Illegal corruption is not a redundancy. There's also legal corruption. Legislators, members of Congress and local politicians everywhere are influenced by campaign contributions from private interests, whether the money comes from unions, insurers, oil companies or casino-operating Indian tribes, to name just a handful of corrupting cash cows.
OPINION
April 1, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Many Californians are outraged that state Sens. Leland Yee, Ronald S. Calderon and Roderick D. Wright, all of whom have been either accused or convicted of crimes, will continue to collect their $95,291 annual salaries while they're suspended from their jobs. It's a paid vacation, critics complain. On the public dime. In response, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg introduced an amendment to the state Constitution on Friday - the same day he and his fellow senators suspended their colleagues - that would allow the Senate or Assembly to withhold compensation in the future when a legislator is suspended.
NATIONAL
March 30, 2014 | By Richard Simon
Its official name is the Safe Carry Protection Act. Critics call it the "guns everywhere bill. " Legislation awaiting the governor's signature in Georgia would allow guns in bars, churches, airports and schools. It has drawn national attention because of its sweep. The National Rifle Assn. called the bill's passage a "historic victory for the 2nd Amendment. " Americans for Responsible Solutions, founded by Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was wounded in a 2011 shooting, called it the most extreme gun bill in the nation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 25, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Abbot Archimandrite Theodor Micka was awakened on Tuesday morning by his fellow priests with some good news. Gov. Jerry Brown had signed legislation allowing the ailing 76-year-old abbot, who has terminal cancer, to be buried on the grounds of his Alameda County monastery. “I'm in really high spirits now," Micka said in a phone interview. Despite ongoing chemotherapy, he said, "I have strength that is almost superhuman this morning.” Micka has spent decades developing an Orthodox Christian monastery in Castro Valley, buying the first plot of land in 1979.
NATIONAL
March 30, 2014 | By Richard Simon
Its official name is the Safe Carry Protection Act. Critics call it the "guns everywhere bill. " Legislation awaiting the governor's signature in Georgia would allow guns in bars, churches, airports and schools. It has drawn national attention because of its sweep. The National Rifle Assn. called the bill's passage a "historic victory for the 2nd Amendment. " Americans for Responsible Solutions, founded by Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was wounded in a 2011 shooting, called it the most extreme gun bill in the nation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 27, 2013 | By Gale Holland
Pershing Square, one of Los Angeles' oldest parks, may be getting a makeover. Councilman Jose Huizar on Tuesday named 20 business representatives, property owners, and architectural and design experts to a task force to seek money and legislation to redesign the benighted square in the heart of downtown. Task force members include Brian Glodney of Gensler architects; Melani Smith of Melendrez Design Partners; and Gail Goldberg, the city of Los Angeles' former director of planning.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Legislation aimed at extending California's film production tax credit won unanimous bipartisan support from its first committee. The bill is urgently needed to give California an incentive to lure movie and television production back to its birthplace and combat generous tax subsidies now available in more than 40 states, such as Louisiana, New York and Michigan, supporters said. The state's current film tax credit, $100 million a year, is set to expire this year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 | By Maura Dolan
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye warned Monday that the closure of budget-strapped courts has deprived more than 2 million residents of accessible justice and left the state “on the verge of a civil rights crisis.” "A three-hour drive to the nearest courthouse can't be fair in anyone's book,” Cantil-Sakauye planned to tell state lawmakers Thursday, according to a text of her speech released in advance. California courts in the last several years have been cut by about $1 billion, and Cantil-Sakauye has been pleading with legislators to restore more funding next year.
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