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NEWS
April 29, 1997 | FAYE FIORE
By all indications, it looked like it was going to be a Wednesday afternoon session of vacation slides from hell. There we were, holed up on a lovely spring day in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Bob Filner, San Diego Democrat, while he described snapshots of his recent trip to the Philippines. Everybody got their own set. "Bob and Jane Filner enjoy breakfast with the Sons and Daughters of World War II veterans. . . .
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NEWS
April 25, 2014 | By Joseph Tanfani
Federal prosecutors investigating September's massive and deliberate  traffic jam at the foot of the George Washington Bridge want to see the documents gathered by a state committee also probing the mess, another sign that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won't be free of the Bridgegate story anytime soon. The two Democratic legislators leading the state committee announced Friday that they would turn over all  documents related to the lane closures in Fort Lee, N.J., saying the federal subpoena “reaffirms our progress in uncovering important information about the apparent abuse of government power and threat to public safety.” The legislative investigation appeared to hit a snag of its own two weeks ago when a state judge ruled that two figures in the bridge controversy, including former Christie staffer Bridget Anne Kelly, didn't have to hand over their records.
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OPINION
October 4, 2012
Re "Leave it to the pros," Opinion, Sept. 30 The NFL's officiating problems highlight the value of professional referees. The media and the public were severe in their criticism of the NFL for its failure to ensure effective officiating. Rebecca Givan identifies other areas where professionals have been under attack by their employers. She forgot California legislators. Voters' insistence on having term limits has resulted in today's less-than-professional lawmakers in Sacramento.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
A top advisor to Los Angeles lawmakers announced Tuesday he plans to retire after decades working in city government. "This decision does not reflect any dissatisfaction with the city," Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller wrote in a Tuesday letter to the City Council. "After nearly 30 years and much thought I have decided that it is time to move on to explore other interests and spend more time with my spouse and family. " In the letter, Miller expressed mixed emotions and said his last day would be Aug. 29. He did not immediately return a call Tuesday seeking additional comment.
NEWS
June 21, 2011 | By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
California lawmakers must forfeit their pay as of mid-June because the budget they passed last week -- which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed less than 24 hours later -– was not balanced, the state controller said Tuesday. Since last week, Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, has been pondering whether to pay lawmakers. They passed budget legislation on June 15, meeting their constitutional deadline for only the second time in a quarter-century, but their plan relied heavily on accounting schemes to paper over the state's deficit. In his veto message, Brown said he could not sign such a plan.
OPINION
December 7, 2013
Re "Do lawmakers deserve a raise?," Editorial, Dec. 4 It's important to note that the legislature is the most democratically responsive of all the branches of state government. It is, in theory at least, the people's representative body in the state's representative democracy. Nonetheless, in California, we've reduced the salaries of these elected officials by about $25,000 since 2007. We've also limited their terms in office, with politicians often making a game of musical chairs out of office-holding, going from one post to the next, always learning on the job, while typically focusing on self-serving and short-term goals.
NATIONAL
May 6, 2011 | By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
Two Montana state legislators have filed suit in federal court against author and philanthropist Greg Mortenson, demanding that donations and proceeds from his book "Three Cups of Tea" be seized by the courts and placed in a trust for construction of schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The petition to certify a nationwide class action against Mortenson and his Central Asia Institute is the latest fallout from allegations that his best-selling book contained significant misrepresentations of how Mortenson came to launch his school-building charity, and from revelations suggesting that proceeds from the book went to Mortenson, not the charity.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 1, 2000
How The Times assumes that the people of California are willing to pay state legislators, rookies or veterans, $99,000 per year is beyond comprehension ("Legislators Take Stock of Rookie Year," Jan. 19). The people had no say in this matter. A commission sets legislators' pay, which over the last decade has risen from $49,000 per year to the nearly six-figure sum at present. It would be no stretch to say that if it were up to the voters and taxpayers of this state, these lawmakers would be making far less than what they're getting now. Considering the deteriorating state of the state, a sizable rollback of legislators' pay would be appropriate.
OPINION
April 27, 2012
Re "53 cents per mile drives criticism," April 21 I was outraged to learn that lawmakers are paying themselves to drive their own cars. Although our legislators probably won't pass laws hindering their own behavior, the solution is very simple: The Times should print details, like stats in a sports page, on the spending habits of every lawmaker so we can see the leaders in each category. When it's published in black and white (and highlighted with a red border), voters can see which of their elected officials are slackers and which ones are actually doing the job we pay them to do. Since Colonial days, the most effective method for curbing extravagance has been public humiliation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2013 | By Anthony York
With the field in the Los Angeles mayor's race now whittled down to two, more state legislators from Southern California are taking sides. Councilman Eric Garcetti announced a trio of endorsements Monday from state Sens. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) as well as former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. “These three legislative leaders will be powerful voices in this election and will help me build support in neighborhoods throughout our city," Garcetti said in a statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - A raft of bills to set tougher ethics rules for California politicians cleared their first legislative hurdle Tuesday as the state Senate prepared for a daylong refresher course on standards of conduct. Lawmakers say better adherence to existing rules and tougher restrictions in the future are needed to win back the public's trust after three state senators were charged with crimes. Eleven proposals approved by a Senate committee included a ban on fundraising during the end of legislative sessions, when decisions on many key issues are made; a reduction in the value of gifts that officials may accept; and a prohibition on such items as spa treatments, golf games, concert and professional sports tickets, theme park admissions and gift cards.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 22, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Alarmed by the cost of holding special elections whenever a vacancy occurs in the Legislature, a state panel on Tuesday endorsed putting a measure before voters that would allow the governor to appoint people to fill empty seats. Los Angeles County has held 20 special elections since 2008 at a cost of $27 million, County Clerk Dean Logan told the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee. Turnout in many special elections is as low as 12%. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento)
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....
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 20, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - High-stakes bargaining is about to begin in California's Capitol. As the weather heats up in Sacramento every year, so does the intensity. There'll be bartering over wonky programs and policies that for most citizens would be snooze-inducing. But for Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders, it's about political positioning, agenda attaining and legacy building. The political leaders have been laying their demands and wish lists on the negotiating table in recent days while most lawmakers were off on spring break.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 16, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday called a legislative special session to prod lawmakers to approve his proposal for creating a new reserve fund, which the governor says will insulate the state from the economic turbulence it's suffered in the past. The special session is scheduled to begin on April 24. California has had a rainy day fund since 2004, but it's mostly been left empty amid the state's budget crises and there are weak rules for funding the account. Brown wants a new plan that would require the state to save some tax revenue from capital gains.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 15, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
A state lawmaker wants to end the practice of using the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board as a soft-landing pad for former legislators. Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) has introduced legislation prohibiting a former member of the Legislature from joining the board for two years after leaving office. AB 263 also would limit the pay of board members to the salary received by members of the Assembly - currently $90,526. Her proposal comes a month after Assemblyman Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 31, 1986
This letter is in response to Joseph A. Strapac's question (Letters, July 3); "Where were the lobbyists of the auto clubs . . . when (the stop the rocks) issue came to a vote in committee in Sacramento?" As the lobbyist for the Automobile Club of Southern California, I can assure you, Mr. Strapac, that we were there. For more than a year, my colleagues at the California State Automobile Assn. and I have worked diligently with Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sepulveda) in an attempt to ensure passage of AB 2335.
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.)
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.
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