Calif. lawmaker resigns, another removed from a committee over sexual misconduct allegations

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CALIFORNIA

State lawmaker resigns over misconduct allegations

California Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra resigned Monday following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, making him the first lawmaker to leave office amid a spate of reports rocking the state Capitol.

The Los Angeles Democrat had previously said he wouldn’t seek reelection and would leave office at the end of the next legislative session. But on Monday, Bocanegra said that he has decided to leave immediately following reflection over the Thanksgiving weekend and conversations with family, friends and supporters. Multiple women have accused him of kissing or groping them without consent.

In a statement released by his office, Bocanegra said he had hoped he could clear his name.

Meanwhile, the Senate Rules Committee voted Monday to remove Sen. Tony Mendoza, another Los Angeles-area Democrat, as chair of the Insurance, Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. He is accused of inviting one woman over to his home, offering another alcohol when she was 19, and repeatedly holding one-on-one meetings with a woman over dinner or drinks.

His behavior with two of the women was formally reported. Mendoza has denied offering a staff member alcohol and otherwise said he wouldn’t knowingly abuse his authority.

— Associated Press

MISSISSIPPI

Supreme Court ends lawsuit over Confederate flag

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from an African American attorney who called the Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag “an official endorsement of white supremacy.”

The justices did not comment as they ended a lawsuit by lawyer Carlos Moore that sought to have the flag declared an unconstitutional relic of slavery.

Mississippi has used the same flag since 1894. It is the last state banner featuring the Confederate symbol, a red field topped by a blue tilted cross dotted by 13 white stars. Critics say the symbol is racist. Supporters say it represents history.

Moore said Monday that he has received five death threats because of the lawsuit and three death threats because he removed the Mississippi flag from his courtroom after he became a Clarksdale city judge. He said he’s disappointed but not surprised that justices chose not to consider the case.

Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who has called Moore’s lawsuit “frivolous,” has said repeatedly that if the flag design is to be reconsidered, it should be done by a statewide vote as it was more than 16 years ago. In an April 2001 referendum, Mississippi residents voted to keep the flag.

— Associated Press

COLORADO

Police investigate shooting threat against high school

One student has been taken into custody and at least five others are being questioned as authorities investigate what they called a “Columbine-style threat” against a high school in a Colorado ski resort town.

Telluride High School was closed Monday as various law enforcement agencies searched the building in the Rocky Mountain town of less than 3,000 residents.

The Telluride Marshal’s Department said a student notified school staff about a possible threat Sunday afternoon. It says investigators learned about a threat being discussed on Snapchat to shoot students at the school Monday.

They later discovered another threat to detonate explosives around the school.

The department says a rifle and handgun were found in the home of the Telluride High student taken into custody. But police said they didn’t find any guns or explosives on the school’s grounds during the search.

— Associated Press

Mysterious vault found in N.H. statehouse: Civil War bonds, travel posters and other paperwork spanning a century of New Hampshire history were among the long-forgotten artifacts found Monday in a mysterious statehouse vault. The 6-by-10-foot space is at the top of a narrow spiral staircase in a room that served as the state treasury in the 1800s and later as the Department of Motor Vehicles. The room is assigned to the Senate Finance Committee.

— Associated Press



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