This list has been compiled through an analysis of Google’s trending queries including the keywords “California” and “news,” supplemented with a review of New York Times’ and Los Angeles Times’ California sections. Events are listed in alphabetical order.


Capture of Golden State Killer

Joseph James DeAngelo, a former cop who was linked to his suspected crimes with the help of DNA technology and a genealogy website, has been charged with eight murders. Police believe the suspected Golden State Killer committed at least four more murders and about 50 rapes during a violent, 10-year crime spree lasting from 1976 to 1986.

Cash Bail Abolished

As one of his last acts in office, outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that made California the first state in the nation to abolish cash bail, effective October 2019, after decade-long efforts by criminal justice reform advocates.

Deadly Wildfires & Montecito Mudslide

Since October 2017, California has experienced four deadly wildfires that collectively killed 118 people, destroyed 27,000 properties and burned 700,000 acres. In January 2018, mudflows in Santa Barbara County resulted in the deaths of 21 people and caused at least $177 million in property damage.

Housing Crisis Continues

Housing and homelessness remain a central issue in California, where 129,972 are without permanent housing, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2018 count. In November, voters approved Propositions 1 and 2, which will provide additional funds to housing programs for veterans and individuals with mental health issues, while turning down a proposition that would have allowed cities to expand rent control measures.

Legalization Of Recreational Cannabis

Two new taxes on the purchase and cultivation of cannabis went into effect in January of this year. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, which provides fiscal and policy advice to the state legislature, total cannabis tax revenue for the 2018-19 fiscal year may be as much as $410 million.

Plastic Straw Ban Debate

Cities across California have instated ordinances to limit the use of plastic straws in order to reduce plastic waste. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that prohibits full-service restaurants from providing plastic straws to customers unless they specifically ask for them.

Sanctuary State Lawsuits

Several Orange County agencies, including the Los Alamitos City Council and the county’s board of supervisors, decided to legally oppose the state’s new “sanctuary law,” Senate Bill 54, by filing suit or creating ordinances to roll back sanctuary practices.

Statewide Elections

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, Democratic candidates won every statewide race and gained a two-thirds majority in the state assembly (60 Democrats, 20 Republicans) and state senate (29 Democrats, 11 Republicans). Democrats also gained seats in their congressional delegation (46 Democrats, 7 Republicans). Gavin Newsom was elected governor.

Thousand Oaks Mass Shooting

Thirteen people were killed and at least 10 others were injured during a mass shooting incident at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks on November 7.

The Turpin Case

David Turpin and his wife, Louise, were arrested on January 14 in Perris, on suspicion of starving, beating and imprisoning their 13 children. The Turpins’ trial is scheduled to begin in September 2019.