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388 posts
  • California Legislature
More than a dozen protesters gather at the state Capitol to speak out against bail overhaul bill.
More than a dozen protesters gather at the state Capitol to speak out against bail overhaul bill. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Another major supporter behind a sweeping bill to end money bail in California has moved to oppose the effort after amendments unveiled last week granted greater power to judges to decide who should remain incarcerated while awaiting trial. 

Three executive directors with the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday released a statement moving the organization’s stance from neutral to opposed, saying the state legislation falls short of its intended goals and would compromise the rights to fair court proceedings for criminal defendants. 

“Unfortunately, this amended version of SB 10 is not the model for pretrial justice and racial equity that the ACLU of California envisioned, worked for, and remains determined to achieve,” read the statement from ACLU directors Abdi Soltani in Northern California, Hector Villagra in Southern California and Norma Chávez Peterson, representing San Diego and Imperial Counties.

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  • California Legislature
Investigators say a PG&E power line sparked 2015's massive Butte fire.
Investigators say a PG&E power line sparked 2015's massive Butte fire. (Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers have scuttled their effort to craft a new liability standard for electric utility companies in the aftermath of a wildfire, a leader of the negotiations said on Saturday.

“It clearly became a distraction,” said state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), the co-chairman of a joint legislative conference committee that was convened earlier this summer to address wildfire prevention and liability issues.

California’s large investor-owned utilities contend that the existing liability rules are too onerous and costly. Under what’s known as “inverse condemnation,” a utility company can be held liable for costs related to a wildfire involving its equipment, even when the company followed all existing safety regulations.

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No one needs to tell Kevin de León that his campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a long shot.

In this file photo, Amado Nanalang watches basketball games while making bets at a sports book in Las Vegas.
In this file photo, Amado Nanalang watches basketball games while making bets at a sports book in Las Vegas. (John Locher / AP)

A proponent of an initiative to allow sports betting in California received the state’s approval to begin collecting signatures to put the measure on the 2020 ballot, but some key players in the gambling industry distanced themselves from the idea Friday.

The state attorney general approved the title and summary for a possible ballot measure that would amend the state Constitution to allow wagering on basketball, baseball, football and other sports contests, officials said Friday.

The proposition is being driven by Russell Lowery, a political consultant who has not disclosed who else is behind the measure but has said in-state and out-of-state gaming firms have expressed interest. Lowery would have to collect the signatures of  585,407 registered voters by February 2019 to qualify the measure for the November 2020 ballot.

Phal Sok, left, rides the Metro Blue Line train to visit with his brother in 2017. Sok is among those pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Phal Sok, left, rides the Metro Blue Line train to visit with his brother in 2017. Sok is among those pardoned by Gov. Jerry Brown. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he has issued pardons to 36 people, including three immigrants with criminal records who face possible deportation. 

Brown also issued 31 sentence commutations for current inmates. 

The governor has stepped up a focus on immigrants at risk of deportation in recent rounds of pardons since President Trump took office, while the federal government has increased arrests and detentions of immigrants who are in the country illegally. A pardon can be key for someone hoping to avoid deportation.

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Joseph Joslin, left, and Evan Albertson canvass in Tustin on behalf of the Congressional Leadership Fund for Rep. Mimi Walters.
Joseph Joslin, left, and Evan Albertson canvass in Tustin on behalf of the Congressional Leadership Fund for Rep. Mimi Walters. (Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

A conservative super PAC trying to help the GOP hold onto its majority in the House burst onto Southern California’s pricey airwaves this week with more than $2.5 million worth of buys across four congressional districts.

The ads, released by the Congressional Leadership Fund, attack Democrats running against Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), as well as a candidate running in an Orange County seat being vacated by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton).

A source familiar with the buy says the ads will run on broadcast and cable television and that August spending in each district ranges between $550,000 and $750,000.

An effort to make some internal law enforcement investigations open to the public cleared a key hurdle in the Legislature on Thursday, marking the first time in four decades that lawmakers could vote to meaningfully increase transparency surrounding police misconduct.

California could soon end money bail, but some of the criminal justice groups who worked toward that goal aren’t celebrating.

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  • California Legislature
Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance)
Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A measure that would have required California hotels to provide employees who work alone in guest rooms with panic buttons in case of emergency was shelved in a state Senate fiscal committee Thursday.

The effort, Assembly Bill 1761 from Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), was aimed at protecting hotel workers from sexual harassment and assault. Opponents, including the California Chamber of Commerce and associations representing hoteliers, argued that the measure was unworkable and could require costly new equipment and administrative rules. 

“With the #MeToo movement making significant strides this year, the holding of this bill in committee is a clear setback for hotel housekeepers,” Muratsuchi said.

AB 1335 would have required safety warnings on vending machines as well as beverage containers.
AB 1335 would have required safety warnings on vending machines as well as beverage containers. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A bill that would have required warnings on all sugar-sweetened beverages in California died in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

The bill, AB 1335 authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), would have required that every sugar-sweetened beverage sold in California in a sealed container be labeled with the words, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.” Vending machines that offered those drinks would have been required to have warning labels as well.

Supporters, including the Service Employees International Union and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, argued that children who consume just one sugar-sweetened beverage each day have an increased chance of being overweight and having related health complications.