• HOW LAWMAKERS VOTED: Commercial space ventures, train control, trade pact

    Voterama in Congress WASHINGTON -- Here's how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the week ending May 22. HOUSE COMMERCIAL VENTURES IN SPACE: Voting 284 for and 133 against, the House on May 21 passed a GOP-drafted bill (HR 2262) to update federal laws designed to promote

  • HOW LAWMAKERS VOTED: Iran nuclear agreement, GOP budget

    Key Votes Ahead In the week of May 11, the Senate will debate whether to allow fast-track approval a trans-Pacific trade agreement, while the House may take up a bill on congressional review of a nuclear deal with Iran. Voterama in Congress WASHINGTON -- Here's how area senators voted on

  • Tulare County native Amanda Renteria.

    Renteria officially joins Clinton presidential campaign team

    Sanger Democrat Amanda Renteria, who returned home to the central San Joaquin Valley to try and oust Hanford Republican David Valadao from Congress, has officially joined Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign. Renteria, 40, will be Clinton's national political director, which is

  • HOW LAWMAKERS VOTED: Homeland Security budget, higher-ed savings plans

    KEY VOTES AHEAD In the week of March 2, the Senate will conduct an override vote on President Obama's veto of a Keystone XL Pipeline bill, and it could take up the nomination of Loretta Lynch as attorney general. The House schedule was to be announced. VOTERAMA IN CONGRESS WASHINGTON -

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    Proposed ammo ban boosts sales at local gun stores

    A federal proposal to ban a certain type of ammunition popular among local target shooters has sparked another run on bullets at Kern County gun shops. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently began gathering public comments on its bid to halt civilian sales of green-tip,

  • State Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, holds a holiday party in her office recently.

    Fuller elected California Senate Republican leader

    California Senate Republicans unanimously elected Jean Fuller of Bakersfield their next leader Tuesday, the latest local lawmaker to nab a high-profile post. When Fuller assumes the Senate Republican leader post in November, she will be the first woman to do so. In recent times she follows in

  • Californian contributing columnist Jose Gaspar.

    JOSE GASPAR: Politics are putting undocumented people in harm's way

    As they say in the real estate business, it's all about location, location, location. The same philosophy appears to be the case for undocumented immigrants who apply for a U visa. A bipartisan Congress created the U visa program in 2000 under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence

  • Former state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, is blamed for leaving his party in the lurch twice, weakening its grip on power: When he dropped out of the 21st Congressional District race in 2012 for family reasons and when he resigned from the Senate mid-term, in 2013, to take a job with Chevron. Here he is in a 2011 photo.

    Race to replace Rubio was state's priciest

    Senate races in the Central Valley and the south coast burned through almost $28 million during the 2013-14 election cycle, according to end-of-year spending reports that showed candidates and independent groups collectively spent more than $150 million on Assembly and Senate contests statewide

  • Isabella Lake near French Gulch Marina is shown in November 2014. At that time, the lake, which at capacity holds 568,000 acre feet of water, was down to about 45,000 acre feet, or just 8 percent of capacity. Due to the severe drought in California most bodies of water in the state are suffering with low lake levels.

    McCarthy, Boxer trade blame over drought bill

    WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy are publicly blaming each other over who derailed congressional efforts last year to pass a drought relief bill for California. McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, has maintained that lawmakers were close to passing

  • David Valadao, R-Hanford, shakes hands with supporters at an after-election dinner party in Hanford in November 2014.

    On immigration, Valadao and Denham zig where GOP zags

    WASHINGTON -- San Joaquin Valley Republican Congressmen Jeff Denham and David Valadao are now at the forefront of challenging party orthodoxy on immigration, a dissident position that brings both promise and peril. On Thursday, doubling down at a party retreat, Denham kept the spotlight on sharp