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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. . . .
ARTICLES BY DATE
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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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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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