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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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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.
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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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
NATIONAL
August 10, 2009 | Noam N. Levey
With lawmakers home for their August recess, a fierce battle has broken out over what precisely is in the mammoth healthcare bills being pushed by congressional Democrats. There has been no shortage of misinformation, much of it advanced by critics of President Obama's overhaul effort who have made sometimes outlandish claims. Here is a look at a few of the most contentious points. Does the legislation include provisions to encourage senior citizens to commit suicide? No. This has become one of the most misleading, inflammatory claims made in the healthcare debate, advanced repeatedly by conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Republican lawmakers working to stoke fears among seniors.
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 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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 16, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - An attempt by California lawmakers to curb anonymous political donations, sometimes hidden behind secretive out-of-state groups, will test Democrats' ability to have their way without a supermajority. Dark money, as such contributions are known, roiled California's 2012 election when a web of organizations tied to conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch poured $15 million into the state to fight Gov. Jerry Brown's tax hike and support an ultimately unsuccessful move to curtail unions' political power.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 14, 2014 | By Dan Weikel
Citing the recent death of a baggage handler at Los Angeles International Airport, state legislators on Friday called for committee hearings to assess worker safety at California airports. Although Cal/OSHA is looking into the death of Cesar A. Valenzuela on Feb. 21, a group of lawmakers announced at a news conference in downtown Los Angeles that they would conduct a wider investigation. "This is a horrible tragedy and we must find out if this could have been prevented," said state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 13, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown is paid less than some mayors and city managers in California, but a state panel that sets his salary balked Thursday at giving him and lawmakers a pay raise, saying it wants more information before making a decision. The state Citizens Compensation Commission agreed to postpone action on whether to increase salaries for state elected officials after considering surveys that compare their pay with that of other government officials. Commission Chairman Thomas Dalzell proposed "in light of no final budget, that we do as we have done before and reconvene in June and then take action.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 12, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will undergo a state audit of its troubled computer billing system after a committee of state lawmakers voted Wednesday to examine what went wrong. The state audit, proposed last month by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), will scrutinize the rollout, costs and fallout of the system that sent erroneous and inflated bills to some customers. It will assess what it cost the city to address problems after the system went into effect, how the contract was awarded and the share of customers getting late or inaccurate bills, among other issues.
OPINION
March 11, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Amid allegations of overbilling, environmental hazards and spiraling costs at the Belmont Learning Center in downtown L.A. in the late 1990s, the state Legislature created a separate investigative office within the Los Angeles Unified School District. The new inspector general was authorized to issue subpoenas, and charged with examining operations in the district with a piercing and unimpeded eye. But the position was authorized for only 15 years, until the end of 2014. The first inspector general reported on serious shortfalls in accountability and oversight at Belmont.
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