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October 1, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Etsy, the website stocked with artisanal goods from independent merchants, revamped its seller guidelines to allow vendors to hire additional employees and work with outside manufacturers. The changes Tuesday essentially broaden the site's working definition of “handcrafted” -- a term that  has governed which plastic baubles or knit pillows are allowed on the online market since it was founded in 2005. In a blog post , Etsy Chief Executive Chad Dickerson wrote that the company's “Dos and Don'ts” section quickly ballooned from 4,000 words to 14,000 words.
September 20, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Hopes for a sweeping immigration overhaul suffered another serious setback Friday , when two key Republican lawmakers ended their collaboration with a bipartisan House working group. Reps. John Carter (R-Texas) and Sam Johnson (R-Texas), who had been working with a bipartisan immigration group for years, blamed their departure on President Obama, saying they did not trust that if Congress developed new immigration laws, the administration would adhere to them. “The bottom line is -- the American people do not trust the president to enforce laws, and we don't either,” Carter and Johnson wrote in a joint statement, pointing to the White House's implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law that has undergone adjustments, as an example of the administration's selective approach to enforcing laws.
September 18, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - House Republicans united Wednesday around a plan to use the threat of a government shutdown as leverage to repeal President Obama's healthcare law, confident the American people are on their side. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) yielded to his right flank by agreeing to attach the healthcare law repeal to a must-pass bill to keep the government funded past Sept. 30. A vote is expected Friday on a bill that would allow the government to stay open for the next few months.
September 18, 2013 | By Larry Gordon
Some University of California regents on Tuesday said it might make more sense to sell off a university-owned mansion that needs a major overhaul rather than restore the Contra Costa County property. The idea was broached as a r egents committee approved initial repairs of Blake House, the estate where most UC presidents had lived since the 1960s but which has been empty for the last five years. The 13,200-square-foot-residence, located about 11 miles north of the UC system's Oakland headquarters, needs a major overhaul, officials say. Administrators have estimated that a full overhaul of Blake House could cost between $3.5 million and $6 million.
September 13, 2013 | By Ben Welsh
The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to approve the slate of new commissioners appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to a civilian board that oversees the Los Angeles City Fire Department, an agency the new mayor has identified as needing significant reform. With an 11-0 vote, council members confirmed four new members for the five-person panel. They are: Jimmy Hara, a retired physician who said he served as Garcetti's personal doctor; Delia Ibarra, a business litigator; Andrew Glazier, an executive at a local affiliate of AmeriCorps; and Jimmie Woods Gray, a retired teacher who has been active in local politics.
September 11, 2013 | By Howard Blume
The California Assembly on Wednesday easily approved an overhaul of the state's student testing system in which schools and parents would not receive test scores for at least a year. The vote of 51 to 22 was largely along party lines, with Democrats overwhelmingly in favor. The state Senate had  passed the bill Tuesday. The next stop for Assembly Bill 484 is the office of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has said he supports the legislation. The bill would immediately end state funding for pencil-and-paper standardized exams used since 1999.
September 11, 2013 | By David Zahniser
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday cleared the way for Mayor Eric Garcetti to overhaul the five-member panel that oversees the city's electricity and water utility. On a 15-0 vote, the council confirmed four new commissioners at the Department of Water and Power: former U.S. Rep. Mel Levine, political consultant Jill Banks Barad, attorney William Funderburk Jr. and foundation director Michael Fleming. The four will join Christina Noonan, who was appointed to the panel three years ago by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
September 10, 2013 | By Richard Fausset and Cecilia Sanchez
MEXICO CITY - Ricardo Rodriguez Borja works in a New Age gift store in Polanco, one of Mexico City's wealthiest neighborhoods, and he readily concedes that its tarot card decks, angel statues and books on chakra energies are luxuries in a country where 45% of residents live in poverty. The 32-year-old predicts he'll be making fewer sales if President Enrique Peña Nieto's fiscal reform proposal is approved, because of the added tax burden it will place on his middle-class customers.
September 10, 2013
California lawmakers pushed ahead Tuesday with a new state testing plan despite a threat by the Obama administration to withhold federal education funds unless substantial changes are made. The state Senate approved an overhaul of standardized exams by a 25-7 vote, with Democrats overwhelmingly in support. The Assembly is expected to take up the bill later this week. The potential stakes in a standoff between the state of California and the U.S. Department of Education are high.
September 9, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
PITTSBURGH - In a hotel conference room overlooking this city's downtown, the leaders of one of the nation's largest conservative advocacy groups outlined a plan to cripple President Obama's healthcare law. With funding for government operations set to run out at the end of this month, Heritage Action, part of a coalition of conservative lawmakers and outside groups, wants Republicans to refuse to vote for a law that would authorize spending unless...
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