California Coastal Coalition
California State Legislature
Important news articles, editorials and op-ed pieces relating to California State Legislative issues and decisions.
January 31, 2014
Three key lawmakers are converging in Ventura California today to unveil a compromise bill to ban single-use plastic bags.
A state lawmaker found guilty of voter fraud and perjury this week will be allowed to keep serving until a judge enters a formal conviction, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Thursday.
January 29, 2014
Backers of a proposed ballot measure to more than double the vehicle-license fee to pay for road improvements have decided to drop efforts to put it on the Nov. 4 ballot.
January. 28 2014
Walk along any beach or through any park and chances are they'll be there by the dozens: the tan, discarded remains of a cigarette.
January 26, 2014
The number of women in the 120-member Legislature has fallen from a peak of 37 in 2006 to 32 this year, and groups that promote women running for public office are concerned the trend will continue this election year.
January 23, 2014
Disposable plastic bags would be banned from grocery check-out stands in California and consumers would pay at least a dime for a paper or re-usable plastic bag a under a compromise proposal negotiated with key opponents of last year's bill to ban plastic shopping bags.
Firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson will no longer ship new semi-automatic pistols to California, preferring to turn away from the nation's most populous market rather than comply with a controversial new gun law.
January 22, 2014
Toni Atkins of San Diego is chosen for speaker of the Assembly. Kevin de Leon of L.A. was picked last week to lead the Senate.
January 21, 2014
"I don't think the bill has anything to do with public policy," Liu said after the vote. "I think it's a jab at my husband, period."
January 19, 2014
Hundreds of bills that failed to pass the Legislature last year face an end-of-the-month deadline to gain initial support, including measures affecting gun owners, the oil industry and farm laborers.
January 4, 2014
When California legislators return from break, water bonds, prison overcrowding and a budget debate will be on their to-do list.
February 28, 2014
Will commission get new powers to fine property owners?
February 25, 2014
Sen. Roderick Wright will take an indefinite leave of absence with pay, according to a statement Tuesday from Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg.
February 24, 2014
State Sen. Ron Calderon pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges that he accepted $100,000 in bribes in return for pushing legislation, charges that could send him to federal prison for years.
February 13, 2014
Sodas and most other sugar-sweetened drinks sold in California would be required to carry warning labels for obesity, diabetes and tooth decay under a bill introduced in Sacramento on Thursday and backed by several public health advocacy groups.
February 12, 2014
However, the supermajorities have not, at least so far, been significant factors in what emerges from the Capitol, despite pressure from liberal groups to use them.
March 31, 2014
State Sen. Richard Roth went on Los Angeles radio Monday morning to float an idea for a Senate ethics ombudsman who could take tips of wrongdoing from staff members, lawmakers, and others.
The eye-popping charges of gun-trafficking and bribery have made state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, a political pariah. Meanwhile, he will continue to receive his $95,291 legislative salary and can tap a six-figure war chest to fight the accusations in court.
Californians need to know how deep political corruption runs. An independent commission should be appointed.
March 30, 2014
An undercover FBI agent posing as a medical marijuana supplier met with state Sen. Leland Yee in Sacramento in June and, according to the FBI's transcript of a secret tape recording, said he was willing to make campaign contributions in exchange for support of legislation.
On March 5, state Sen. Leland Yee tweeted a picture of himself from City Hall's election office, raising his hand and swearing to be a faithful public servant. "I've officially filed for Secretary of State!" Yee exclaimed to his 5,646 followers.
The 137-page FBI affidavit against Yee and more than 20 other defendants says the San Francisco Democrat’s focus on retiring a $70,000 campaign debt from his unsuccessful 2011 mayor’s race and raising money for his 2014 candidacy for secretary of state led him to accept bribes in return for official favors and arrange overseas weapons deals.
As the governor's gatekeeper and chief liaison to the Legislature, Nancy McFadden is the longest-serving loyalist in Brown's inner circle.
Extinguish your filtered cigarettes, ditch the plastic bags to carry your groceries, toss your micro-beaded facial scrub and cancel those plans to catch an orca show at SeaWorld.
March 28, 2014
The California state Senate voted Friday to suspend three of its members who are in legal trouble. The vote was 28-1.
California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg will move to suspend three of his Democratic colleagues today who have been accused of crimes including corruption, perjury and conspiracy to traffic weapons.
The California state Senate today took the unprecedented step of suspending three of its members who have been accused of crimes including corruption, perjury and conspiracy to traffic weapons -- a move that takes away their power but maintains their pay.
March 27, 2014
A prominent San Francisco Democrat, who has been one of the state’s leading proponents of gun control, is accused of working with Chinatown gangsters and brokering arms deals with a Muslim rebel group based in the Philippines, according to court documents released Wednesday.
San Francisco Democrat Sen. Leland Yee was arrested and charged Wednesday with conspiracy to traffic in firearms and scheme to defraud citizens of honest service.
March 26, 2014
Bay Area state Sen. Leland Yee, who was indicted Wednesday on a multitude of public corruption and gun trafficking charges, has dropped out of the race for California Secretary of State.
A California state senator who authored gun control legislation asked for campaign donations in exchange for introducing an undercover FBI agent to an arms trafficker, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.
Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, won Tuesday's special election in the 23rd Senate District.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly, who has denied having any criminal record before carrying a gun into an airport in 2012, on Wednesday blamed a larceny case in Michigan in 1985 on a drunken "prank."
March 18, 2014
California Republican leaders have a plan for depriving the Democrats of supermajorities in both houses of the state Legislature and rebuilding the party in this year’s elections, but it will take raising up to $13.6 million, which GOP officials admitted Tuesday is a very tall order.
Foreshadowing a clash between carmakers and a prominent auto insurance company, Sen. Bill Monning on Tuesday unveiled a bill to loosen car manufacturers’ grip on data generated by vehicles.
Arguing that state agencies have not done enough planning to respond to rising sea levels, Assemblyman Richard Gordon, D-Menlo Park, has introduced legislation that would establish a database of planning efforts for sea level rise in California.
March 17, 2014
Toni Atkins was voted the next Assembly speaker Monday, making the Democrat the first San Diegan and first lesbian to lead the Legislature's lower chamber.
A legislative plan to ask California voters whether they want affirmative action reinstated at public universities is not moving forward this year.
Republican state Senators on Monday blocked a bill that would require more disclosure of those who contribute money through nonprofit groups to affect California elections, the first legislative setback for Democrats since they lost their supermajority two weeks ago.
March 16, 2014
The 2008 California law blocks local jurisdictions from using zoning and other laws to control illicit massage parlors, mayors and police chiefs tell lawmakers.
March 7, 2014
Citing the need to restore public trust in the California legislature, Senate Democrats Thursday announced new legislation meant to reduce the influence of lobbyists at the Capitol.
The California Secretary of State’s office would become non-partisan under a state lawmaker’s proposed constitutional amendment.
A state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would ban SeaWorld from using orcas in its San Diego shows.
A state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would ban SeaWorld from using orcas in its San Diego shows.
March 4, 2014
The state Senate’s ethics panel will delay its investigation into Sen. Ronald S. Calderon to avoid interfering with a federal prosecution of the lawmaker on corruption charges, the panel’s chairman said Tuesday.
March 3, 2014
If you had to come up with one state agency that has done the most damage to California’s economy with its regulatory sweep and overreach, you’ll never come close to topping the state Air Resources Board.
April 28, 2014
There should be a ban on campaign donations around the end of legislative sessions.
April 27, 2014
They are Democrats, yet their votes in the Capitol have helped big business continue fracking in California and defeat a bill dictating pay and benefit levels for Wal-Mart workers.
Gonzalez’s call to seal union slots on panels passes the Assembly.
April 24, 2014
California's political-ethics panel Thursday unanimously approved a $40,000 money-laundering penalty against state Sen. Tom Berryhill.
April 20, 2014
The governor and legislative leaders are about to begin an intense period of bartering on cap-and-trade, the bullet train and a rainy-day fund.
Lawmakers return from their spring recess this week focusing on hundreds of bills that have to pass from one house to the other by the end of May, but the most contentious issues will come later.
California lawmakers continue to struggle over regulating medical marijuana, nearly 20 years after state voters defied federal law and permitted patients with a doctor’s prescription to use the illegal drug to ease chronic pain, anxiety and depression.
April 14, 2014
Abandoning a controversial effort to add a gasoline tax to California’s fledgling program to reduce greenhouse gases, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, on Monday shifted his focus to how to spend billions of dollars on affordable housing, mass transit and high-speed rail.
April 12, 2014
SeaWorld won the day with a potent mix of persuasive reasoning and hardball politics.
April 9, 2014
Politics in California’s Capitol is rarely black and white – even when dealing with orcas.
April 8, 2014
A California bill that sought to end killer whale shows at SeaWorld in San Diego and phase out keeping them in captivity has been put on hold, meaning it's dead for the year.
State Sen Leland Yee and one of his alleged co-conspirators in a complicated corruption and illegal firearms case pleaded not guilty today on federal charges that could send the San Francisco Democrat to jail for up to 125 years.
April 5, 2014
Heidi Harmon sat at the kitchen table in her renovated San Luis Obispo home and talked about her decision to challenge incumbent Katcho Achadjian for his 35th Assembly District seat.
The scandals rocking the Legislature provide Senate leaders the motivation to ban fundraising during peak lawmaking periods.
April 4, 2014
The culture of corruption that has led to the paid suspensions of three Democratic state senators facing serious criminal charges does not begin and end in the state Capitol. It infects the political process from the moment a candidate announces his or her intention to run for office.
April 2, 2014
Former San Francisco school board President Keith Jackson turns out to be more than the alleged conduit between state Sen. Leland Yee and tong leader Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow in the corruption case that has ensnared all three men.
Assembly Speaker-elect Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, will take the leadership baton from current Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, in May.
April 1, 2014
Hours after FBI agents finished a raid on state Sen. Leland Yee's office in the state Capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers emerged from the stately building to attend numerous campaign fundraisers around town.
May 29, 2014
Legislators moved Thursday to further hike the state's minimum wage and to guarantee workers three paid sick days a year, despite opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce, which labeled both proposals "job killers."
The California state senate approved a bill Thursday that would require warning labels on sugary drinks. It now moves on to the assembly.
May 28, 2014
By the end of Wednesday's state Assembly session, AB 2453 had gained 50 “yes” votes and 11 “no” votes. Additional Assembly members chose not to vote.
May 27, 2014
On their first day back in the Capitol since the killing Friday night of six college students near UC Santa Barbara, Democrats in the California Legislature said the state should do more to keep mentally ill people from obtaining guns.
May 24, 2014
Budget trailer bill will include controversial 'fining' language.
Diaper subsidy, off-road helmet exemption also pass.
May 20, 2014
The California Senate on Monday advanced a measure to crack down on special-interest gifts to lawmakers.
May 14, 2014
Democratic State Senator Alex Padilla says around 100 cities and counties around the state have already outlawed disposable plastic grocery bags and it’s time for a state-wide policy.
The Legislature may be breaking up a political logjam over tax relief for beleaguered homeowners who receive writeoffs from lenders for their underwater mortgages.
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg said Wednesday that Gov. Jerry Brown's revised state budget doesn't do enough to acknowledge the Californians who have been damaged by years of program cuts and suggested the state could divert more money to them by taking a different approach to setting aside money for the rainy-day fund.
Decades of political wrangling over how Proposition 13, the iconic property tax limit passed by voters in 1978, is applied to commercial property reached a climax of sorts Tuesday in a Capitol hearing room.
May 12, 2014
The Capitol’s years-long debate over plastic grocery bags is heading to a TV set near you.
May 8, 2014
Responding to a campaign finance transgression that produced an unprecedented fine, the California Assembly voted on Thursday to ban fundraisers at the homes of lobbyists.
The California Senate has flipped the switch on the kill-switch bill.
May 7, 2014
Filtered cigarettes will keep burning in California for the foreseeable future.
Taking a stop along the money trail…
June 28, 2014
Costly initiative fights on medical malpractice damages and insurance rates will be on California Nov. ballot.
June 27, 2014
Fueled by partisan and geographic differences, satisfaction with the Legislature continued a downward swing that began after a state senator was arrested on corruption charges earlier this year, according to a Field Poll released Friday.
June 26, 2014
California lawmakers repeal law requiring food handlers wear gloves.
June 25, 2014
With multiple Democrats not voting, a California Assembly panel on Wednesday rejected a bill that would raise the state’s minimum wage beyond the boost agreed to in 2013.
June 24, 2014
The cost of gas is likely to rise by 15 cents in January because of carbon emission rules.
June 18, 2014
California grocers stand to make millions on a bill working its way through the Legislature that would charge consumers a dime for every paper bag they use - because it's the grocers who would get to keep all 10 cents.
June 17, 2014
Casting doubt on the effectiveness of food labels as a public health tool, California lawmakers on Tuesday turned back legislation that would require warnings on sugary beverages.
June 16, 2014
The California Senate reversed course Monday by approving a fundraising ban it rejected last week.
June 15, 2014
What do sugar-laden soft drinks, flimsy plastic shopping bags and used kitchen grease have in common?
Just hours ahead of a constitutional deadline, the California Legislature approved a $108 billion spending plan Sunday for the 2014-15 fiscal year that sends billions more to schools, pays down debt, props up the embattled High-Speed Rail project and provides funds for a Golden Gate Bridge suicide net.
June 9, 2014
As California’s drought continues, lawmakers are being pressured to put a revised water bond on the fall ballot.
A bill to create a Paso Robles groundwater management district will likely be amended to address concerns that property owners in the district would have too much influence as it is currently written.
First, we must make clear – emphatically so – that we want Elon Musk to build his $5 billion electric car battery “gigafactory” in California.
June 5, 2014
The legislation draws questions because some say the pits are still widely used after a mandate that only charcoal be burned.
June 4, 2014
The California Senate is set to vote June 16 to formally name Sen. Kevin de León the next leader of the upper house.
June 2, 2014
With two-thirds or more of the votes in Tuesday’s primary election expected to come from mail ballots, it seems way too late to start asking whether that’s a good idea.
June 1, 2014
Outside spending by dentists, unions, oil companies and other groups in California statewide and legislative races on Tuesday’s ballot has reached nearly $23 million.
July 31, 2104
Suspended state Sen. Leland Yee has been lying low since he pleaded not guilty to corruption and conspiracy to traffic firearms in April, but the San Francisco Democrat is expected to resurface again today in court to enter a plea on his latest charge for racketeering, announced last week.
July 30, 2014
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg said Tuesday that he has mentioned his interest in being appointed to the California Supreme Court to Gov. Jerry Brown.
July 10, 2014
Investigation urged after Latino caucus rejects Republican lawmaker.
July 9, 2014
A deal is key in the Capitol. Passing important bills doesn't just happen immaculately.
July 7, 2014
The frog made famous in a tale by Mark Twain is now California's official state amphibian.
July 5, 2014
Sayles is hoping that a wilderness bill in Congress will protect this wild landscape and others in San Luis Obispo County for generations to come.
The Legislature adjourned for its summer recess Thursday without meeting its top remaining priority: overhauling the $11.1 billion water bond scheduled to go before voters this fall.
July 1, 2014
There will be no California water bond deal this week at the state Capitol, despite hopes of
legislative leaders that an agreement could be reached before lawmakers go on summer recess Thursday.
August 30, 2014
California lawmakers narrowly approved a sweeping plastic bag ban Friday, leaving Gov. Jerry Brown to decide the fate of the controversial bill in an election year.
A package of bills aimed at regulating drought-parched California's stressed groundwater supplies were passed on Friday despite efforts by some agricultural interests to block bills in the waning days of the state legislative session.
The approval of legislation on Friday to reduce the value of gifts that lobbyists are allowed to give to lawmakers and state officials.
Historic and controversial groundwater management rules and a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags were among the bills the California Legislature approved during a marathon session Friday that ended early Saturday morning.
August 28, 2014
California lawmakers passed a key hurdle Thursday in imposing the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.
Big corporations, political action committees and state legislators are helping fund state Sens. Ron Calderon and Rod Wright’s fight to stay out of jail.
August 27, 2014
Lawmakers, Gov. Jerry Brown and ride-sharing companies have reached a deal on California legislation upping insurance requirements for the emerging companies such as Lyft and Uber.
August 26, 2014
California is pumping itself dry.
The Senate voted Monday to provide local governments throughout California with a tool to finance clean drinking water projects and other desperately-needed infrastructure in disadvantaged, unincorporated communities.
August 25, 2014
Proposal to ban single-use plastic bags falls three votes short in Assembly.
August 24, 2014
There's a lot of baloney in California's statewide bag ban proposal.
August 23, 2014
A statewide plastic bag ban is among the issues to be decided by the California Legislature this month.
August 22, 2014
Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, was arrested on Thursday night on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
August 21, 2014
A bill (SB 270) in the California legislature would ban single-use plastic grocery bags and require a 10-cent charge on paper bags.
A bill that could double California counties’ vehicle registration fees has passed the Legislature, and is awaiting a signature or veto from Gov. Jerry Brown.
August 20, 2014
Advancing an effort to ensure public access to a contested California beach, the Assembly on Wednesday narrowly passed and legislation compelling the state to step into a dispute over Martins Beach.
The state Assembly is endorsing legislation that would require Californians to take a boating safety course, an online test and obtain a vessel operator card before driving a motorized boat.
August 18, 2014
Senate leader Darrell Steinberg’s effort to ask voters whether the Legislature should be able to yank the pay of lawmakers who are suspended for allegations of dishonorable behavior will not make it onto the November ballot, marking a setback for the Sacramento Democrat who proposed the constitutional amendment in response to criminal allegations this year against a trio of senators.
Assembly bill to protect fire rings in Southern California is held back in Senate Appropriations Committee.
August 13 2014
A push to ban single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large retailers across California comes up for a crucial vote Thursday.
August 7, 2014
A proposal to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes in California vending machines died in an Assembly committee Wednesday.
August 4, 2014
A few seconds of warning before a major earthquake could save lives.
California state senator's proposal would close loophole that could allow drilling from offshore oil field.
Editor's Note: A link to the bill discussed in this article can be found here.
California lawmakers are back from their summer break and facing pressure to craft a deal on a new water bond. But time is running short.
September 30, 2014
Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday imposing the nation's first state government imposed ban on single-use plastic bags.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores, driven to action by pollution in streets and waterways.
September 29, 2014
California is just three months into its fiscal year, but it’s already exhausted its emergency firefighting budget. Now the state is tapping into reserves.
September 20, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed six bills he said will “strengthen California’s best-in-the-nation electric vehicle market” and help the state reach its goal of getting 1.5 million zero-emission cars on the road by 2025.
The last weeks of the legislative year are a traditional time for California lawmakers to collect campaign money.
September 18, 2014
A state senator charged with drunken driving after a party at the state Capitol is being offered the chance to plead guilty to a lesser offense, a prosecutor said Thursday.
September 16, 2014
Democratic state Sen. Rod Wright, sentenced to jail Friday for being convicted of perjury and voting fraud, resigned from the California Senate on Monday but plans to stay on the payroll for one more week.
California will remain in tact and will not be split into six pieces following the failure of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper's "Six Californias" initiative to secure a spot on the November 2016 ballot due to insufficient signatures.
September 10, 2014
Law requires three paid sick days for nearly all employees.
September 9, 2014
The same Jerry Brown who ended California’s controversial redevelopment agencies in 2011 is now considering legislation that would bring back something similar, but arguably with fewer restrictions on eminent-domain abuse and debt spending.
September 8, 2014
San Diego lawmaker was arrested on DUI in August in Sacramento.
While the state Senate has yet to make public the results of an investigation of nepotism complaints, three Senate employees recently testified in Sacramento Superior Court that the son of the Senate’s personnel director routinely received special treatment during the years he worked there.
September 7, 2014
It hasn’t hit the fastlane yet. But the controversial idea of imposing a mileage-based driving tax is gaining speed.
The statewide bag ban that passed the legislature before Labor Day weekend will make California the first state in the country to outlaw plastic grocery bags.
September 3, 2014
Environmental groups say the recent California Legislative session was a big win for coastal protection, clean water among other issues.
November 30, 2014
Rinse and repeat — that’s how environmental groups are responding to their narrow defeat this year in the California Legislature on a bill to ban microbeads, the tiny plastic particles in a wide variety of skin cleansing products.
November 26, 2014
Employees who work on Thanksgiving and Christmas in California would be entitled to double pay on those holidays under legislation proposed this week by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.
November 22, 2014
A month after taking leadership of the California Senate, Sen. Kevin de León on Friday cut 39 jobs, which amounts to more than a quarter of the staff working for the Senate’s administrative arm.
November 17, 2014
More Republican women are headed to the California Legislature for the new session.
Plastic bag manufacturers have poured $2.7 million into efforts to overturn California’s statewide ban on plastic bags in the seven weeks since Gov. Jerry Brown signed the historic legislation.
November 16, 2014
2014 was a solid year for California Republicans. In the state Senate, the GOP prevented Democrats from regaining a two-thirds supermajority.
November 14, 2014
A week after getting snubbed by the Assembly GOP Caucus, Deborah Gonzalez has a bigger better deal with the State Senate.
November 12, 2014
A federal judge has put the racketeering and political corruption case against suspended state Sen. Leland Yee on a fast track to trial.
California's top-two primary is having a moderating influence on politics.
California lawmakers will fly to Maui for conferences subsidized by special interests that lobby them.
November 10, 2014
Like fire clearing an old growth forest, last week’s election elevated a class of freshman lawmakers who will join last cycle’s surge of first-term legislators to form one of the least experienced Legislatures in years.
Richie Ross, a longtime Democratic campaign consultant and lobbyist, has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine and write off $160,000 he’s owed for violating California’s lobbying laws.
November 9, 2014
Just a day after she “chafed at the decision by California Republican Party Chair Jim Brulte to target Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray of Merced,” Assembly GOP leader Kristin Olsen turned her fire on the caucus staff who helped her pick up three seats on election night.
November 5, 2014
Democrats fail to regain supermajority in state Senate.
November 1, 2014
Former state Sen. Rod Wright begins jail term, sort of.
October 27, 2014
With Election Day just a week away and mailed ballots already pouring into election offices, California’s biggest political unknown is the balance of power in the Legislature.
October 25, 2014
There’s nothing like a deadline to force action.
October 11, 2014
San Diego lawmaker to consider bill protecting HOA residents in 2015.
October 1, 2014
Viewed as a shoo-in for a fourth term, Gov. Brown made good on vow to keep state in the lead on immigration.
December 18, 2014
Sen. Kevin De Leon removes staffers who questioned his legislation on energy loans.
December 10, 2014
Hoping to fend off a referendum campaign from their better-funded rivals, advocates for California’s newly passed plastic bag ban have launched an ad assailing a plastics company seeking to overturn the law.
December 8, 2014
Third try by San Diego water agency to pass bill.
With California’s law banning plastic bags on hold, the plastic bag industry and its allies already are pouring money into California in hopes of overturning the law in a referendum two years down the road.
December 6, 2014
Speaker picks 2 local lawmakers to lead committees.
December 5, 2014
A big committee chairmanship is often the first step to becoming Assembly speaker, Dan says.
December 4, 2014
Salaries are going up, along with 'per diem' payments.
Kevin de León, president pro tem of the state Senate for just a few weeks, has already run up a remarkable string of political missteps and gaffes.