In the News

July 31, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Five years ago, the nation's high court banned mandatory life-without-parole sentences for those under 18 convicted of murder. Last year, the court said the ruling was retroactive for the more than 2,000 offenders serving such sentences nationwide, and that all but the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects "permanent incorrigibility" should have a chance at parole one day.

July 31, 2017

By Taryn Luna

The letter begins with “Dear Corrupt Mexican” and ends with “hurry up and die.” It’s signed “White Power.”

The words were typed on a note card and sent to Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León’s Capitol office earlier this year. His staff members put the letter in a file now full of racist and threatening mail in the receptionist’s desk.

Senator Ricardo Lara expects disagreements over his policy perspectives. He believes the behavior is an attempt to intimidate him from doing his work.

June 20, 2017

By Scott Shafer

South Bay Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) and Los Angeles Sen. Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) were in a mischievous mood when they stopped by KQED’s Sacramento bureau recently to talk about their paths to the State Legislature as openly gay men.

Low is chair of the Legislature’s LGBT caucus and Lara is vice chair....

June 17, 2017

By Jazmine Ulloa

California took another major step this week to protect immigrants, preventing detention centers from adding more beds and pledging to spend $1 million to make sure people have proper access to food, medical care and lawyers.

Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced that he would use the resources to launch a formal review to ensure all immigrants civilly detained in California are treated humanely and that their rights are respected.

June 16, 2017

By Patrick Michels

California lawmakers banned local governments from signing new contracts for holding federal immigration detainees and funded a state inspection program for immigrant detention centers, as part of a budget deal approved Thursday.

Advocates said they make California the first state to limit new contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or to mount an independent inspection program for ICE facilities.

June 06, 2017

Read the oped at

By Ricardo Lara and Holly Mitchell

If you said a 10-year-old should register for the military draft, drive a car or vote for president, people would write you off as a lunatic.

Yet elected leaders and law enforcement often act as if children are no different than adults when it comes to the justice system.

June 01, 2017

By Katy Murphy

SACRAMENTO — As a legislative deadline loomed, California senators Thursday — in some cases, reluctantly — voted to pass a $400 billion plan to create a government-run health care system without a way to pay for it.

Senate Bill 562, by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, passed 23-14 and will now advance to the Assembly, where it will likely be amended to include taxes. And that would mean the measure would require two-thirds votes in both chambers.

June 01, 2017

By Melanie Mason

The prospect of a universal single-payer healthcare system in California — in which the state covers all residents’ healthcare costs — has enthralled liberal activists, exasperated business interests and upended the political landscape in the state Capitol. But some are still trying to sort out what exactly all the fuss is about....

The proposal, by state Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) is still evolving, but here’s what we know so far about the bill and how it would work.

March 09, 2017

By Daniel Potter

A Democratic lawmaker from Southern California is advocating for household cleaning products to list their ingredients on labels.

Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) says some chemicals in cleaning products can cause adverse side effects such as asthma or cancer. The reproductive systems of women - whom Lara notes tend to deal with such products more often - can also be negatively affected.

March 09, 2017

 By Soumya Karlamangla

With President Trump now vowing to put forward a replacement for the Affordable Care Act in March, some California politicians and healthcare advocates are once again promoting the idea of a state-run “single-payer” system that operates like Medicare….

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced a bill Friday that would make California the first state to adopt single-payer, also called “Medicare for all.” Canada has such a system….