Is the California Republican Party content to stay dead? Or will it finally reinvent itself?

Career incentives are another answer. If you are likelier than not to lose a given election regardless, why do it as an outspoken anti-Trump Republican, alienating many longtime allies across the country, when you could lose without being seen as a disloyal apostate and preserve your ability to make a career in national Republican politics, or in what is still called the conservative movement, in spite of its shift toward right-wing populism?

A flash history of America’s scorched earth politics

Caption. (Credit / Credit Affiliation)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Illustrator Steve Brodner is working on a book about U.S. presidents.

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California Politics Podcast: Big choices await voters on election day

Gov. Jerry Brown, shown in a picture from June, on Friday blasted Proposition 6 as a "scheme and a scam."

Gov. Jerry Brown, shown in a picture from June, on Friday blasted Proposition 6 as a “scheme and a scam.” (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In his last campaign as governor, Jerry Brown rallied Friday against Proposition 6, tying the initiative to supporters of President Trump and warning it will hinder California’s efforts to repair roads and bridges.

“Prop. 6 is a scheme and a scam put on the ballot by some partisans,” Brown said at a campaign rally in Palo Alto. “Actually they are acolytes of Donald Trump. They don’t have the best interest of California in mind.”

The measure, which would repeal an increase in the state’s gas tax and vehicle fees, was qualified for Tuesday’s ballot by a committee funded by the GOP leaders including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox. Republican leaders hope the measure will drive conservative voters to the polls on Tuesday to boost the chances of their party’s candidates.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs bills that aim to fast-track new stadiums for the Clippers, A’s

(Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty Images)

As more divorcing couples fight over who gets to keep their pets, a new law will allow judges to treat those conflicts more like child custody battles.

In the past, courts have generally assigned pets to spouses based on who paid for or adopted them. Under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown, courts would be allowed to make custody decisions based on who walks a dog, takes a cat to the vet or grooms a horse. Courts will also be authorized to order one spouse to provide food, shelter and medical care for a pet before a final ruling.

“There is nothing in statute that states a pet must be treated any differently than any other type of property we own,” said Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), the bill’s author. “However, as a proud parent of a rescued dog, I know that owners view their pets as more than just property. They become a part of our family, and their well-being should be a consideration during divorce proceedings.”

California legislators pass measure that would require all rape kits to be tested soon after collection

Rape kits from 2017.

Rape kits from 2017. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

A bill sent to the governor on Friday would require the swift testing of all rape kits in California.

Under Senate Bill 1449 by state Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), law enforcement would have to send DNA evidence collected in every sexual assault case to a crime lab within 20 days. The lab would then need to process the evidence within four months, or send it to another lab within one month. 

California currently has thousands of untested rape kits. Officials sometimes skip testing when it would not help an investigation — when a victim drops charges or a suspect has already pleaded guilty, for example. But failing to test the kits could cause law enforcement to miss connections to previous crimes, supporters of the bill argue.

“All survivors deserve to have their rape kits tested promptly, which in turn can help ensure justice for survivors, identifying serial perpetrators and even exonerating the wrongfully convicted,” Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) said.

California lawmakers approve new restrictions on who can possess firearms

Cody Wilson with the Liberator, the first completely 3-D-printed handgun, in 2013 at his home in Austin, Texas.

Cody Wilson with the Liberator, the first completely 3-D-printed handgun, in 2013 at his home in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner / Austin American-Statesman)

A federal judge on Monday issued a preliminary injunction continuing a prohibition on the Trump administration proposal to make available blueprints for so-called ghost guns, untraceable weapons that can be manufactured on a 3-D printer, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said.

California was one of 20 states led by Washington that won the decision from U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik in Seattle. The injunction extends a ruling last month that barred the Trump administration from taking steps that would allow the firm Defense Distributed to disseminate 3-D gun blueprints. 

“When the Trump Administration inexplicably gave the green light to distribute on the internet blueprints of 3D-printed, untraceable ghost guns, it needlessly endangered our children, our loved ones and our men and women in law enforcement,” Becerra said in a statement. “The Trump Administration’s actions were dangerous and incompetent.”

The Rolling Paper

California cities are objecting to changes in the state's rules on marijuana that they say undermine local control.

California cities are objecting to changes in the state’s rules on marijuana that they say undermine local control. (Mathew Sumner / Associated Press)

California cities on Monday objected to a state proposal that would allow marijuana delivery to homes in areas where storefront pot sales have been banned locally.

The changes, which are being considered by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, “will undermine a city’s ability to effectively regulate cannabis at the local level,” Charles Harvey, a legislative representative for the League of California Cities, said in a letter to the bureau.

The cities group, which represents the state’s 482 municipalities, supports other changes to clarify the rules of Proposition 64, which was approved by voters in 2016 and allows the growing and sale of marijuana for recreational use.

Civil jury vindicates fired Montebello school executives in whistleblower case

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (Erik Lesser / European Pressphoto Agency)

In April, California’s top education officials breathed a sigh of relief. After months of debate and back-and-forth with Betsy DeVos’ staff, they had finalized a plan to satisfy a major education law that aims to make sure all students get a decent education.

The state focused on aligning its plan to fulfill the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act with California’s Local Control Funding Formula, which gives extra money to districts to help students who come from low-income families, are in the foster system or are English learners.

But this week, DeVos’ team said not so fast. 

California voters won’t have to pay for postage on mail-in ballots much longer

(Max Whittaker / Getty Images)

California’s largest public-employee pension fund saw an upturn in profits generated from its investments in the last year, officials reported Thursday, a record that offered some improvement to its long-term fiscal stability.

Leaders of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS, reported preliminary numbers showing an 8.6% net return on investments for the 12-month period that ended in June. That is a higher rate of return than the pension fund expects to earn over the coming decades, but not necessarily reflective of a change in its long-term challenges.

“While it’s important to note the portfolio’s performance at the 12-month mark, I can’t emphasize enough that we are long-term investors,” Ted Eliopoulos, CalPERS chief investment officer, said in a written statement. “We will pay pensions for decades, so we invest for a performance that will sustain the Fund for decades.”

California state controller Betty Yee hurt in car crash

(Max Whittaker / Getty Images)

California’s largest public-employee pension fund saw an upturn in profits generated from its investments in the last year, officials reported Thursday, a record that offered some improvement to its long-term fiscal stability.

Leaders of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS, reported preliminary numbers showing an 8.6% net return on investments for the 12-month period that ended in June. That is a higher rate of return than the pension fund expects to earn over the coming decades, but not necessarily reflective of a change in its long-term challenges.

“While it’s important to note the portfolio’s performance at the 12-month mark, I can’t emphasize enough that we are long-term investors,” Ted Eliopoulos, CalPERS chief investment officer, said in a written statement. “We will pay pensions for decades, so we invest for a performance that will sustain the Fund for decades.”