Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmental activist who is spending heavily on political races nationwide, said Thursday that he plans to pour $1 million into legislative contests in California this year, possibly including Democrat-versus-Democrat races.

Follow the closing hours of the California legislative session with updates from The Sacramento Bee's Capitol Bureau staff.

A bill to allow government regulators to monitor oil refinery shutdowns is drawing heavy criticism from media organizations because of its potential impact on the California Public Records Act.

The State of Jefferson isn’t waiting around for the Six Californias initiative to qualify to push ahead with its plan for independence.

With a prominent grocery workers’ union back in support, the California Assembly voted on Thursday to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

Separation of powers be damned: fond farewells allow exceptions.

California's film tax credit is just welfare for the wealthy, Dan says.

The California Senate’s curb on end-of-session fundraising has sharply cut into the flow of political cash to senators’ campaign accounts, even as some in the upper house run afoul of a rule that bans contributions from donors that have Capitol lobbyists.

With parents of students killed in the Isla Vista shooting watching from the gallery, the California Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would allow authorities to take guns from people displaying violent tendencies or mental instability.

Nearly four years after leaving office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will return to Sacramento early next month to unveil his official portrait.

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.

California community colleges will attempt to increase degree completion and transfers by nearly a quarter of a million students over the next decade as part of its broader student success initiative.

It took the people who make beer at home a few days to get around to this, but the American Homebrewers Association issued a statement Wednesday praising the enactment of a California law that will let them gather in San Diego next year, after all.

Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday that he has reached a deal with legislative leaders to more than triple California’s 5-year-old film and television tax credit, amid intense lobbying from the state’s TV and movie industry.

It’s a legislative tradition for last-minute policy proposals to crop up in the final weeks of session through the gut-and-amend process, but so far the bills that have emerged are more curious than scintillating.

California is just one of many states engaged in a battle over the regulation of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, Dan says.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, the Republican candidate for California controller, said Tuesday she would bring an independent voice to the state’s top fiscal office, and later backed that up by refusing to commit to her party’s candidate for governor, Neel Kashkari.

Educational research and public attitudes have changed since voters banned bilingual education in 1998, Lara said.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto lauded California on Tuesday for its relatively favorable treatment of undocumented immigrants, telling a joint session of the Legislature that the state has taken the “ethically correct” position in a national debate over immigration.

Gov. Jerry Brown was at the rostrum to introduce Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to a joint session of the Legislature on Tuesday, but amid the diplomacy he made time for Texas.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, the Republican candidate for state controller, refused Tuesday to commit to supporting GOP guberantorial nominee Neel Kashkari this fall, saying she is “still evaluating” the candidates for governor several weeks after Kashkari annoyed many Fresno leaders by going undercover there posing as a homeless man looking for a job.

Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that the earthquake that shook Napa County on Sunday is “nothing compared to the big one” that California may still face.

A Washington-based Republican group working to elect down-ballot candidates for state office has added two California legislative contenders to its latest top 14 races to watch this fall.

While Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday praised California for its relatively liberal treatment of immigrants from Mexico, about 150 protesters called from across the street for the release of a U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico on a gun matter.

A proposed statewide ban on single-use plastic bags stalled in the California Assembly on Monday, a crucial stumble for one of the of most heavily lobbied fights of the current legislative session.

California’s efforts to restrict access to guns are often rejected by courts, Dan says.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto wraps up his two-day tour of California in Sacramento today, where he’ll attend a noon luncheon at the Stanford Mansion hosted by Gov. Jerry Brown and address a joint session of the Legislature at 2:45 p.m. in the Assembly chamber.

Assemblyman Richard Pan is facing fellow Sacramento Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson this fall in the state Senate race to replace Senate leader Darrell Steinberg. With the legislative session in its final days and the Nov. 4 election looming, Pan sat down Monday with The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Bureau.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring disabling “kill switches” on new smartphones, his office announced Monday. The switch, which could render a stolen phone inoperable, was promoted by law enforcement groups as a deterrent to theft, while manufacturers argued disabling software is already widely available.

Los Angeles prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence suspended state Sen. Rod Wright to six months in jail, 1000 hours of community service and five years on probation for a jury’s verdicts in January that found him guilty of eight felonies of perjury and voter fraud.

During an hour-long interview with The Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau’s staff on Monday, Assemblyman Richard Pan was asked about his legislative history of carrying labor-sponsored bills that clamp down on outsourcing services. Pan defended civil service laws as promoting good government, but acknowledged that the private sector should provide some services.

Avoiding an election-year legislative debate over how California’s cap-and-trade program could affect gasoline prices, the leader of the state Senate has sidelined a bill that would have delayed a key aspect of California’s landmark emissions law.

Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, who is running for the state Senate in November, fielded questions from The Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau’s staff on Monday.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and attorney Douglas Emhoff were married Friday at the courthouse in Santa Barbara, her office said.

A month after Gov. Jerry Brown headed south of the border to shore up California’s trade and investment relationship with Mexico, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is returning the favor.

Rules are always flexible in the Legislature, even deadlines for introducing new bills, Dan says.

A revamped casino compact between the Brown administration and a prominent San Diego County tribe seems headed for quick ratification after brief informational hearings this week and Assembly approval Friday morning.

The state Senate overwhelmingly reconfirmed four members of the University of California Board of Regents Friday, but not before raising concerns over the university’s increasing enrollment of out-of-state and international students.

The Sacramento County jail’s website registers a Benjamin Hueso being booked with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher at 3:27 a.m. The arrest was made at 2:39 a.m. at 15th and X streets, according to the sheriff’s office.

Peter V. Lee, the head of the state’s health insurance exchange, was awarded a 20-percent bonus for his efforts in launching the federal program in California.

Hours before state Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, was arrested on Thursday night on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, he and four other lawmakers were photographed reveling on a Capitol balcony, drinks in hand.

At a panel discussion in April hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California, lawmakers called on the state to do a better job measuring how effectively counties are carrying out prison realignment. The court-ordered unstuffing of California prisons has sent lower-level offenders to county jails instead, raising concerns over the effect of the increased burden locally.

Battles over plastic grocery bags and ride-sharing services are the biggest lingering question marks of this legislative session, Dan says.

Young immigrants poised to flood California’s courts could get extra legal help under a bill offering $3 million to bolster legal services.

With a swipe of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown has ensured Sutter can tag along to some bars and restaurants.

Members of the state health insurance exchange on Thursday came out strongly against a fall ballot initiative to give rate-regulation authority to the elected insurance commissioner, with some requesting the board issue formal opposition.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday she will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional.

Californians could vote to tax themselves to build bike paths, bike parking and other bicycle facilities under a bill heading to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Democrats in the California Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican effort to overturn a state budget provision that caps the amount of money school districts can hold in reserve.

A bill that seeks to expand public access to a California beach near Half Moon Bay is heading to Gov. Jerry Brown.

With the November election less than three months away, candidates and party committees are raking in the donations. They raised $1 million across California on Monday and Tuesday alone.

The Assembly was slow to take up a proposed constitutional amendment allowing lawmakers to suspend their colleagues without pay. Dan speculates there’s a secret agenda.

Even as voting by mail becomes increasingly common in California elections, more mail ballots are not being counted, according to a study of mail voting in three counties, including Sacramento.

The Assembly on Wednesday deferred for two years the public’s vote on a constitutional amendment empowering lawmakers to strip wayward colleagues of their salaries.

Neel Kashkari, the long-shot Republican candidate for governor, is looking for a few good ads.

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.

Thirty-five members of California’s congressional delegation are pressing Gov. Jerry Brown to support an expanded film tax credit significant to California’s TV and movie industry, while actors and crew members rallied in support of the measure at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s agricilture secretary trying to rewrite state milk regulation late in session.

At least one of the three people Mayor Kevin Johnson dared to take the Ice Bucket Challenge has declined. Sort of.

A new Field Poll has found strong early support for two contentious health care-related ballot measures.

Once divided between the north and south, California politics now have an east-west split, Dan says.

One year after California and Nevada resolved a long-standing feud over development around Lake Tahoe, John Laird, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, arrived at a summit near the water’s edge Tuesday and said “peace is at hand.”

Shoddy oversight led California to approve almost $1 million for potentially ineligible drug rehabilitation providers, including for services supposedly rendered to dead people, according to a new state audit.

The Legislature shouldn’t favor old industries over businesses such as Uber at the expense of consumers.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – One day after agreeing to debate Neel Kashkari once before the November election, Gov. Jerry Brown suggested Tuesday he may not be the most enthusiastic participant – or at least isn’t inclined to talk about it yet.

A coalition of unions, environmental organizations and other liberal groups are trying to enlist Attorney General Kamala Harris in their efforts to beat back an oil industry campaign to scuttle the state’s plan to expand its cap-and-trade program to vehicle fuels in January.

Amid rampant speculation about her presidential aspirations, Hillary Clinton will appear alongside House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for an October fundraiser in San Francisco.

After what most consider a successful implementation of the law in California, support for the Affordable Care Act among Golden State voters is the highest it’s ever been, according to a new Field Poll.

The California Chamber of Commerce is remarkably successful at killing bills it views as anti-business, Dan says.

Gov. Jerry Brown will debate Republican Neel Kashkari in Sacramento early next month, the only debate the incumbent governor will participate in ahead of the November election, his campaign said Monday.

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.

California lawmakers on Monday joined a national chorus urging a name change for the Washington Redskins football team.

After the mass killing of six college students in Isla Vista in May, lawmakers called for new restrictions to prevent mentally ill people from obtaining guns.

The Legislature still has many issues involving big money, big interests and emotion to resolve in the final weeks of session, Dan says.

With the fall campaign season fast approaching, candidates and ballot measure campaigns will raise money as fast as they can spend it in the coming weeks.

Californians’ ballots this fall are all but certain to lack a proposed $4.3 billion school bond, even though the legislation cleared a key Senate committee this week.

Pornographic performers in California can remain condom-free for the foreseeable future, with legislators nixing a proposed condom mandate on Thursday.

Workers’ compensation is a perennial issue at the Capitol – a complicated web of competing interests that emerges again every few years to fix what one side or the other said was screwed up the last time.

Transparency dies in the legislative appropriations committees, as do dozens of bills, Dan says.

After months of political wrangling, Democratic Rep. Ami Bera and Republican Doug Ose will square off Oct. 8 in a debate at KVIE-TV studios, showcasing a race drawing national attention because of the suburban Sacramento County district’s close political divide.

In a clash pitting large chains against the people who manage individual stores, legislation giving franchise owners more flexibility in managing their businesses squeaked out of the California Assembly on Thursday.

Regulating California’s medical marijuana industry will likely have to wait another year.

California voters will be asked to authorize $7.5 billion to bolster the state’s water supply, infrastructure and ecosystems in November, as lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday struck a long-sought deal to move a new water bond to the ballot.

With a Friday deadline for fiscal committees to report bills to the floor, appropriations committees in the state Senate and Assembly will churn through lengthy suspense files today. The Senate has more than 300 items to get through, while the Assembly has almost 150 on the docket. Everything from pet lovers’ license plates to epinephrin autoinjectors are up for consideration.

Dan asks whether the state Senate will bid farewell to suspended Sens. Leland Yee and Ron Calderon.

Michelle Rhee, the prominent and controversial education figure who is the wife of Mayor Kevin Johnson, announced on Wednesday that she is stepping down from her post as chief executive of StudentsFirst, the national advocacy organization she founded in 2010.

As discussions over gambling regulations in California heat up, the card club industry hosted lawmakers and their staff Wednesday for blackjack in the shadow of the Capitol.

Gov. Jerry Brown has renegotiated a gambling compact with a major tribe in San Diego County, citing declining gambling revenue in a pact that will reduce the tribe’s required payments to the state, Brown’s office said Wednesday.

As California lawmakers sped toward a vote on a new water bond on Wednesday, Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown extended a new $7.5 billion offer in hopes of securing necessary Republican votes.

Politics are serious business, especially when there’s money on the line. The perpetual wrangling over gambling laws in California is a testament to that.

The California Supreme Court made the right call in booting an advisory measure about campaign finance from the November ballot, Dan says.

The Sacramento Bee spoke with suspended state Sen. Rod Wright in Sacramento on Tuesday as he stood across the street from the Capitol, shaking hands and greeting friends. Wright said he was in town to raise money for his legal defense fund and attend a retirement party for a lobbyist.

An influential former leader of the California Exposition and State Fair, the late Kirk Breed will be memorialized at the site he loved best: the horse racing track.

As California nears a new legislatively imposed deadline for putting a revised water bond on the November ballot, Gov. Jerry Brown met with legislative leaders and several prominent interest groups to push for a deal.

The federal Surface Transportation Board on Tuesday made public its authorizing for construction of a 114-mile high-speed passenger rail line between Fresno and Bakersfield.

And the bag fight continues.

With California’s economy on the mend, industries looking for special tax breaks are coming out of the woodwork, Dan says.

The California Supreme Court on Monday effectively blocked a November advisory ballot measure on the merits of unlimited independent campaign spending, dashing some Democrats’ hopes that the measure would boost voter turnout in what could be an otherwise staid election.

Scrambling to place a new water bond before voters, California’s legislative leaders on Monday converged on a $7.195 billion proposal and carved out more time to finish it by delaying a looming electoral deadline.

Fallout from the FPPC’s investigation of lobbyist Kevin Sloat continued to hit Sacramento on Monday, as the political watchdog announced reaching related settlements with Assemblyman Adam Gray, Assembly administrator Debra Gravert and an Indian tribe that is a client of the Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates lobbying firm.

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