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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 21, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- A bill unveiled Tuesday would guarantee at least three paid sick days a year for California workers. "It's time to have this discussion, to seriously engage on the rights of everybody to take a day off when they're sick or be able to take their child to the doctor," said the measure's author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) in an interview Tuesday. Gonzalez said her proposal, which was introduced late last week and announced on Tuesday, aims to provide economic stability to workers who would otherwise risk losing their job due to illness.
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OPINION
January 19, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The Texas teenager who played the "affluenza" card to stay out of prison certainly sounds like a spoiled brat. In fact, he wouldn't deny it; that was his argument for a light sentence - that his overprivileged, under-disciplined life had led to a lack of judgment and concern for others, and therefore he shouldn't be punished severely for his crimes. And in the end, although he stole alcohol, drove far above the speed limit while exceedingly drunk, killed four people with his father's pickup and then fled the scene, he was sentenced to probation rather than jail time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Legislative analysts praised Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget proposal on Monday, saying a mix of new taxes, a stronger economy and debt repayment has left California with a brighter financial future. "The governor's proposal would place California on an even stronger fiscal footing, continuing California's budgetary progress," said the report from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office.  The report also praises Brown for proposing a $1.6-billion payment into the state's rainy day fund, which could help insulate California from future financial problems.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget proposal would continue to improve California's finances, but his plans for financing bullet train construction and a lack of new money for the cash-strapped teacher pension system are troublesome, the Legislative Analyst's Office said Monday. A report from the office, which provides nonpartisan budget advice to lawmakers, said Brown's $155-billion spending blueprint correctly emphasizes paying down debt incurred during state budget crises.
BUSINESS
January 13, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - A coalition of organic farmers, nutritionists and environmental justice activists is jumping into the rough-and-tumble politics at California's Capitol. The California Food Policy Council, a network of 19 groups around the state, wants to persuade legislators to pass laws that would support sustainable agriculture and safeguard soil and water quality for large and small farmers. The idea, organizers say, is to make healthful, affordable food options available for low-income urban dwellers, schoolchildren and others.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 10, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - Immigrants who are in California illegally should have access to health insurance through a state version of the Affordable Care Act, the head of the Legislature's Latino caucus said Friday. State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said immigration status should be irrelevant if the goal of the federal law is to provide coverage to the uninsured, so he will introduce legislation to involve the state in providing coverage to those in the country illegally. "Immigration status shouldn't bar individuals from health coverage, especially since their taxes contribute to the growth of our economy," Lara said.
BUSINESS
January 5, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - California's two top legislative leaders - both Democrats - have their eyes on 2014 as California faces big challenges in continuing to improve the state's still underperforming economy. They're pleased that after years of austerity, the Assembly and Senate along with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown have stabilized the state's budget, raising revenues, keeping spending in check and even socking away money for future downturns. Even so, state unemployment remained high at 8.5% in November, despite a quickening job creation pace.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 4, 2014 | By Melanie Mason and Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Returning to the Capitol on Monday after a four-month recess, state lawmakers are set to tackle water issues, prison overcrowding and a budget debate that will be shaped largely by the state's rosier economic outlook. Other factors will also affect legislative decisions in 2014: election-year politics, internal leadership battles and a continuing federal corruption investigation into allegations that Sen. Ronald S. Calderon (D-Montebello) accepted bribes to exercise influence on bills.
BUSINESS
January 2, 2014 | By Richard Verrier
Hollywood stakeholders are calling on California to bolster its film and TV tax credit to keep its homegrown industry from permanently leaving the state. Film industry and union officials are mobilizing to back legislation this year that would substantially increase funding for the state's film incentive program and lift some restrictions to make the program more competitive with those offered by New York, Georgia and other states and countries. "The bottom line is, these countries and these states realize what production means to them, and we have to show them [lawmakers]
ENTERTAINMENT
December 30, 2013 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
Valery Gergiev is the major conductor today for whom the most superlatives apply. He is commonly hailed as Russia's greatest living conductor. As the general and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg - which includes Russia's leading opera and ballet companies and symphony orchestra - he is his country's most powerful, prominent, celebrated, decorated and highly paid musician. He is also the cultural figure with the closest ties to the Kremlin. Gergiev and President Vladimir V. Putin are longtime friends.
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