The Latest: Senate confirms utility commission nominees

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Latest on action by the California Legislature (all times local):

2:15 a.m.

The Senate confirmed two of Gov. Jerry Brown's recent nominees to a powerful commission that regulates privately-owned natural gas, electric, water and other utilities.

Lawmakers praised Cliff Rechtschaffen and Martha Guzman Aceves as gifted and committed public servants before confirming them early Saturday morning.

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The nominees faced tough questions from a committee about the PUC's poor public reputation following environmental disasters and other scandals. Critics of Rechtschaffen say he is too cozy with the oil and gas industry.

Rechtschaffen and Aceves began serving on the five-member Public Utilities Commission in January. The Senate had until January 2018 to confirm them.

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2:05 a.m.

The California Legislature has approved $4 billion on bond funding for parks and water infrastructure.

The Senate sent SB5 to Gov. Jerry Brown early Saturday morning. If he signs it, it will require voter approval on the 2018 budget.

The money includes $725 million to build neighborhood parks, even though a third of similar projects promised under the last parks bond are incomplete.

It also would pay for maintenance for flood and dam infrastructure, clean drinking water projects, coastal environmental protection and other outdoor projects.

Supporters of the parks bond say parks provide important recreation and exercise opportunities for residents in low-income communities in particular.

If approved, the $4 billion in bond funding would need to be paid back with interest.

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9:50 p.m.

California could become the first state to require presidential candidates to release their tax returns to appear on the state ballot.

Lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill Friday requiring candidates to publicly share five years of returns; he hasn't said if he'll sign it.

President Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns during the 2016 campaign sparked similar legislation in dozens of states from New Jersey to Hawaii. The documents reveal income sources, tax exemptions, charitable donations and potential financial conflicts of interest.

Until Trump, every major presidential candidates has released his or hers for decades.

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9:20 p.m.

California lawmakers have approved legislation that puts taxpayers on the hook for up to $270 million if the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics go over budget.

LA Olympics boosters say they have a sustainable budget and insurance protection, and the state's financial guarantee is unlikely to be used. They note that the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were profitable.

Critics say the guarantee is not a good use of tax dollars.

The state provided similar guarantees for LA's bid for the 2016 Olympics and the 2024 Olympics, as well as San Francisco's attempt to land the 2012 Games.

The bill approved Friday goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the 2024 guarantee.

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5:25 p.m.

Employers would be barred from initially asking employees if they have a criminal history under legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The Assembly on Friday gave final approval to a bill that supporters say would mean more ex-felons could get jobs and stay out of trouble.

Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento says his AB1008 would let employers ask about criminal histories later in the process. It requires businesses with five or more employees to inquire into and consider convictions only after the applicant has received a conditional job offer.

He says California would follow the lead of nine other states with similar restrictions.

There was no spoken opposition as the Assembly agreed with Senate restrictions on a 41-25 vote.

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1:15 p.m.

California lawmakers have approved a plan to spend $1.5 billion on environmental initiatives with money from a state program that charges polluters to emit greenhouse gases.

Two bills approved Friday pay for incentives and rebates to promote a cleaner vehicle fleet, including passenger cars, commercial trucks and port equipment.

A last-minute provision sought by a labor union is drawing criticism from Republicans and some Democrats. It comes as the United Auto Workers pursues an increasingly acrimonious drive to unionize thousands of workers who assemble high-end Tesla electric vehicles at a Fremont plant.

It directs the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency to come up with criteria for certifying that an automaker participating in a clean-vehicle rebate program treats its employees fairly and responsibly.

Both bills now go to Gov Jerry Brown.

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1 p.m.

California voters would know more about who's paying for campaign advertising under a bill lawmakers are sending to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The Assembly on Friday approved a bill requiring ballot measure committees and independent expenditure committees to prominently display the names of their top three donors.

AB249 also requires clearer disclosure of donors behind campaign committees that bill supporters say may have misleading names. The California Clean Money Campaign, which sought the legislation, says no other states' disclosure laws include that provision.

Supporters say the bill will help voters make better, more informed decisions.

Republicans say the bill should require labor unions to disclose individual members who contribute. Only the union would be listed under the bill, not its members.

The Assembly gave final approval on a 55-12 vote.