This week on State of Affairs:
- PG&E is facing scrutiny in the wake of the devastating fires in Northern California. Investigators are trying to determine if their power lines sparked them. Now, four lawmakers are working on a bill that would prevent the company from passing on future legal costs to customers in the form of rate hikes.
- A new report shows the state legislature has shelled out at least $580,000 to settle claims ranging from harassment to racism, but specifics remain shrouded.
- Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra is facing calls to step down after revelations that he groped a longtime aide.
Christina Bellantoni, assistant managing editor of politics for the LA Times, says that harassment in the political world has persisted for years.
"I covered Washington for many years. I lived there for 13 years, and certainly, the nation's capital is not immune to this at all," Bellantoni says.
You start to go back and think about those stories — people talking about other people engaging in sexual activity after hours and gossiping. That's one of the cultures of a state house town. It just happens.
Then there's actual unwanted action. They would tell young staffers: 'make sure not to get in an elevator with Strom Thurmond' because he was touchy or he would say something to you that would make you uncomfortable. That's something that I think for a long time was just not talked about. People accepted it as one of the things that just happens.
I think this entire movement has just brought up that people want to say that we shouldn't accept it anymore.
- Christina Bellantoni, assistant managing editor of politics for the LA Times
- Ben Adler, capitol bureau chief for Capitol Public Radio