January 16, 2014 |
WASHINGTON -- Congress gave final approval Thursday to a $1-trillion spending bill, but not without a last-minute standoff in the Senate by tea party Republicans who opposed the measure. Conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) kept senators in suspense throughout the afternoon as he considered his options for blocking the bipartisan measure, which was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday by the House. Eventually, the tea party opponents lost their fight and the measure was approved on a lopsided vote, 72-26.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 |
Call it the proposed Spoiled Brat Law. Last month, after a 16-year-old Texas boy said to be suffering from “affluenza” was sentenced to rehab instead of prison for killing four people and maiming two others in a drunk-driving crash, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto wondered whether an attorney could raise the same kind of defense in this state. As he discovered, there was nothing to prevent it. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Democrat introduced a bill -- possibly the first in the country -- that would prohibit attorneys from invoking “affluenza” as a defense at trial or as a mitigating factor for sentencing.
January 14, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - A $1-trillion spending bill was headed for swift approval in the House by Wednesday, but legislation to extend unemployment insurance stalled in the Senate amid partisan bickering, dashing hopes for a quick deal to resume jobless benefits. Though negotiations continue, it appears increasingly unlikely that a compromise will be reached quickly to help the more than 1.4 million Americans who have been cut off from their unemployment benefits. An additional 72,000 Americans lose their insurance every week.
January 13, 2014 |
BEIRUT - Diplomats on Monday pushed for a limited cease-fire in Syria, a prisoner exchange and better access for aid efforts before a peace conference scheduled to begin next week in Switzerland. At a news conference in Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had discussed measures to "set the stage for success. " One potential area for a cessation of hostilities, Kerry said, was the embattled northern city of Aleppo, divided for 18 months between government and opposition forces and also the site of recent rebel infighting.
January 9, 2014 |
Less than a month ago, there were many reasons to highlight Friday's schedule on the NBA calendar and look forward to the Lakers facing the Clippers. Kobe Bryant was nearing full stride after returning from an Achilles' tendon injury. Chris Paul was his usual magical self and Blake Griffin was playing at an All-Star level. The Lakers, despite being short-handed, were hovering around .500. The Clippers were cruising. And then Bryant's left knee went CRACK and Paul's right shoulder went POP and there went the headliners of what should have been a marquee matchup.
January 9, 2014 |
In 1975, Nebraska Sen. Roman Hruska warned a congressional hearing that college football was in mortal danger. The threat came from Title IX, the 1972 measure that outlawed sex discrimination in educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance. To comply with the law, Hruska feared, colleges would have to equalize athletic budgets for male and female sports, and the only way to do that would be to raid the football budget. "Are we going to let Title IX kill the goose that lays the golden eggs in those colleges and universities with a major revenue-producing sport?"
January 5, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Congress comes back to session this week with leaders of both parties planning a war of words in 2014 - dueling agendas that promise little substantive legislation but lots of messages aimed at establishing clear contrasts for voters heading toward the midterm election. After they dispatch a few must-pass fiscal measures early in the year, legislators seem unlikely to put together major accomplishments. Rather, the Republican-led House and the Democratic-controlled Senate will essentially become something like sound stages for the advertising wars that will unfold in the handful of states and districts that could decide partisan control of the next Congress.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 4, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown will join the push for a new ballot measure to help California stockpile cash as a buffer against future recessions, according to two Capitol officials. The proposed measure, which would need approval from two-thirds of the Legislature before it could be presented to voters in November, would siphon off some tax revenue and channel it into a special savings account. If successful, the account could mitigate the need for deep spending cuts during economic downturns and help California shed its reputation as a financial roller coaster.
December 27, 2013 |
SEATTLE - A closely watched ballot measure that would set the minimum wage at $15 an hour for certain workers in the small city of SeaTac was dealt another setback late Friday, when a superior court judge ruled that the proposition would not affect employees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Proposition 1, which passed Nov. 5 with a 77-vote margin and survived a recount, would have given more than 6,000 workers at big hotels, airport concessions, airport parking lots and large rental car companies a 63% raise and granted them paid sick leave.
December 26, 2013 |
Californians could be faced in November with a proposal to dramatically alter the pension and benefit system for public employees. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has submitted a statewide ballot initiative that would allow government agencies to negotiate changes to current employees' future retirement benefits, reversing the long-standing principle that once a public employee is hired, his or her retirement benefits cannot be reduced. Public employee unions are already gearing up for a major fight over Reed's initiative, which he could put on the ballot as soon as 2014 (or as late as 2016)