California Coastal Coalition
HomeAboutNews ArticlesEventsLegislationCoastal FundingCoastal EconomicsEmploymentContact UsCalCoast Blog
Photo GalleryLinksGrantsStudies & ReportsNewsletter

California State Legislature
Important news articles, editorials and op-ed pieces relating to California State Legislative issues and decisions. 


January 31, 2014
Plastic bag ban gets support of California lawmakers

Three key lawmakers are converging in Ventura California today to unveil a compromise bill to ban single-use plastic bags. 

Convicted California state senator can keep serving, for now

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 put brakes on proposed California car-tax hike

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
Kicking cigarette butts out of California is aim of bill

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
Number of women dropping in California Legislature

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
Deal reached on new California bill to regulate plastic grocery bags

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.

Smith & Wesson to halt California sales of new semi-auto pistols

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
2 Southern Californians expected to get top Legislature posts

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
California lawmaker lobbies against 'jab at my husband'

"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
Legislative deadline nears for hundreds of bills

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
California lawmakers face water, prison and budget issues in 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
Coastal bill would erode due process

Will commission get new powers to fine property owners?

February 25, 2014
State Senator takes paid leave of absence following conviction

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
California senator pleads not guilty to corruption

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
​California lawmaker wants warning labels on sugary drinks

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
Op-Ed: Legislative supermajorities at risk in 2014 election

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
California senator suggests an ethics ombudsman

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.

Editorial: Suspended senators shouldn't get paychecks

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. 

Op-Ed: Is the Legislature rotten to its core? 

Californians need to know how deep political corruption runs. An independent commission should be appointed.

March 30, 2014
The 'pay-to-play' law that snagged Calif. state Sen. Leland Yee

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.

Who is the real Leland Yee? Earnest California state senator's double life leads to 'epic swan dive'

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.

Leland Yee’s campaign debt at root of criminal behavior, authorities allege

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.

Indispensable insider looks out for Gov. Jerry Brown's interests

As the governor's gatekeeper and chief liaison to the Legislature, Nancy McFadden is the longest-serving loyalist in Brown's inner circle.

Ban it! From bags to butts, California bills would nix range of products 

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
Brown calls for resignations after state Senate votes to suspend Yee, Calderon, Wright 

The California state Senate voted Friday to suspend three of its members who are in legal trouble. The vote was 28-1.

Senate to vote shortly on fates of Yee, Calderon and Wright

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.

California lawmakers suspend three disgraced senators with pay 

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
FBI says anti-gun lawmaker arranged weapons deal with Muslim rebels 

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. 

California state senator arrested and charged in FBI sweep

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
Indicted State Sen. Leland Yee withdraws from Secretary of State race 

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.

California state senator accused of gun charges 

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.

Morrell wins state Senate seat

Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, won Tuesday's special election in the 23rd Senate District.

Tim Donnelly says past larceny case was college 'prank'

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
State GOP has $13.6-million plan to block Democratic supermajorities

 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.

California car data bill has manufacturers, insurers butting heads

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.

Proposed assembly bill seeks to create planning database for sea level rise 

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 elected officially as next California Assembly Speaker

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.

Affirmative action bill SCA 5 'dead for the year'

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 block campaign disclosure bill 

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
Law prevents regulation of illicit massage parlors, officials say

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
Gift ban proposed for California lawmakers

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.

California lawmaker wants a non-partisan Secretary of State’s office

The California Secretary of State’s office would become non-partisan under a state lawmaker’s proposed constitutional amendment.

California bill would ban SeaWorld from using Orcas in San Diego shows

A state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would ban SeaWorld from using orcas in its San Diego shows. 

What California’s Orca Bill Would Mean For San Diego’s SeaWorld

A state lawmaker is introducing legislation that would ban SeaWorld from using orcas in its San Diego shows.

March 4, 2014
Ethics panel to delay its investigation of Sen. Calderon

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
Incoming assembly speaker seeks vast new power for Coastal Commission 

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 14, 2014
Steinberg says California cap-and-trade money should be spent on housing, transit, high-speed rail

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
How they killed the Seaworld bill

SeaWorld won the day with a potent mix of persuasive reasoning and hardball politics.

April 9, 2014
Of Orcas, Atkins and the new Assembly

Politics in California’s Capitol is rarely black and white – even when dealing with orcas.

April 8, 2014
California bill ending San Diego SeaWorld orca shows stalls

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.

Leland Yee pleads not guilty to corruption and conspiracy charges

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
Candidates for 35th District Assembly offer distinct choices

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.

Op-Ed: Window opens to curb legal corruption 

The scandals rocking the Legislature provide Senate leaders the motivation to ban fundraising during peak lawmaking periods.

April 4, 2014
Sen. Leland Yee case illustrates culture of corruption

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
Keith Jackson emerges as major figure in Calif. Sen. Yee probe

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.

Toni Atkins will take over as California Assembly speaker in May

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
Case against state Sen. Yee raises fundraising questions

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.