Advertisement
387 posts
Rape kits from 2017.
Rape kits from 2017. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

A bill sent to the governor on Friday would require the swift testing of all rape kits in California.

Under Senate Bill 1449 by state Sen. Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), law enforcement would have to send DNA evidence collected in every sexual assault case to a crime lab within 20 days. The lab would then need to process the evidence within four months, or send it to another lab within one month. 

California currently has thousands of untested rape kits. Officials sometimes skip testing when it would not help an investigation — when a victim drops charges or a suspect has already pleaded guilty, for example. But failing to test the kits could cause law enforcement to miss connections to previous crimes, supporters of the bill argue.

“All survivors deserve to have their rape kits tested promptly, which in turn can help ensure justice for survivors, identifying serial perpetrators and even exonerating the wrongfully convicted,” Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) said.

Advertisement
  • California Legislature
Proponents of net neutrality protest against Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in May in Washington.
Proponents of net neutrality protest against Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai in May in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Nearly nine months after federal regulators voted to do away with net neutrality rules instituted under the Obama administration, state lawmakers are on the verge of bringing them back to California.

The state Senate on Friday sent a broad proposal to Gov. Jerry Brown that would prevent broadband and wireless companies from favoring some websites over others by charging for faster speeds and from blocking, throttling or otherwise hindering access to content.

At a press conference later that day, lawmakers said California should be setting the national standard on internet policy and vowed to persuade the governor to sign the legislation, calling it vital to the state’s resistance to the Trump administration.  

Advertisement
  • California Legislature
  • California Republicans
State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa
State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

A California state senator has been admonished for violating the Senate’s code of conduct after a woman complained he put her in a headlock and gave her a “noogie” during a reception.

According to documents released by the Senate Rules Committee on Friday, Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) was the subject of a June complaint by a woman who said he grabbed her, put his arm around her neck and gave her a “noogie” while taking a photo at a reception for GOP lawmakers sponsored by a healthcare advocacy group.

An investigator hired by the Senate determined that Moorlach acted in a way that bothered the woman, who was identified only as a member of the public who worked for the healthcare group.

California lawmakers advanced an ambitious proposal Thursday to prevent broadband providers from hindering or manipulating access to the internet, bringing the state closer to enacting the strongest net neutrality protections in the country.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who authored AB 2657.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), who authored AB 2657. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Legislators approved a bill Thursday that would allow school officials to restrain or seclude students only if they pose an imminent threat to themselves or others.

Assembly Bill 2657 would prevent teachers from restraining students, drugging them or putting them in seclusion as a form of punishment or coercion. It would also make it illegal to restrict students’ breathing or to keep them in a prone position with their hands behind their backs.

While existing regulations protect students from corporal punishment, they do not specify when teachers can use other practices to control students. Some of them, including restraining a student lying on the ground, carry risks of long-term trauma or death, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Advertisement
  • California Legislature
A line at the men's central jail in Los Angeles.
A line at the men's central jail in Los Angeles. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers have sent a proposal to the governor that would widely limit who can be charged under the felony murder rule, which allows defendants to be convicted of first-degree murder if a victim dies during the commission of a felony, even if the defendant did not intend to kill or did not know a homicide occurred.

Criminal justice reform advocates say the standard differs widely from how prosecutors charge all other crimes, where a person’s intent is central to the offense and punishment they face.

The legislation by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would restrict the criminal charge to those who committed or intended to commit a killing. It also would allow some inmates doing time for felony murder to petition the court for a reduced sentence.

  • California Legislature
A bar in Silver Lake.
A bar in Silver Lake. (Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times)

California lawmakers are fighting for your right to party.

Legislators signed off Thursday on a plan to allow Los Angeles, San Francisco and seven other cities to extend alcohol service at bars and restaurants from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), the author of Senate Bill 905, said the bill gives willing cities a chance to better shape their nightlife.

  • California Legislature
California lawmakers want more women on corporate boards.
California lawmakers want more women on corporate boards. (Sheraton)

Citing a lack of diversity in corporate boardrooms, state lawmakers on Thursday sent the governor a bill that would require women to be included on the boards of directors of firms headquartered in California.

The bill would require that publicly held corporations headquartered in the state include at least one woman on boards of directors by the end of 2019, and at least two by July 2021. Corporate boards with six or more members would be required to have at least three women on the panels by the middle of 2021.

The measure was proposed because women make up 52% of the state’s population but just 15% of the directors of its public corporations,  according to state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), a co-author of the bill with Senate leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).

Advertisement
  • California Legislature
Terry McGuire, owner of the Get Loaded gun store in Grand Terrace in San Bernardino County, shows a customer a Cobalt Kinetics BAMF rifle.
Terry McGuire, owner of the Get Loaded gun store in Grand Terrace in San Bernardino County, shows a customer a Cobalt Kinetics BAMF rifle. (Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

Californians would be barred from buying more than one rifle or shotgun in any 30-day period under a bill approved Thursday by state lawmakers and sent to the governor as part of a raft of gun-control bills in response to recent mass shootings.

The state already prohibits people from purchasing more than one handgun in any 30-day period to discourage the stockpiling of weapons and to stymie straw buyers who purchase large numbers of firearms and sell them to people who cannot otherwise legally possess them.

The bill was introduced after Congress failed to act on gun-safety proposals following a string of shooting incidents, according to Sen. Anthony J. Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), the bill’s author.

  • California Legislature
Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) talks with Assemblywoman Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara).
Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) talks with Assemblywoman Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California lawmakers took aim at how the city of Los Angeles approves homeless housing projects Wednesday night.

Legislators passed Assembly Bill 829, which tries to stop Los Angeles’ practice of allowing City Council members to quietly block homeless housing developments in their districts prior to a formal vote. 

“We cannot allow one local elected official to unilaterally stop projects that will house people and address our homelessness crisis,” Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), the bill’s author, said in a statement. “Local elected officials will continue to have significant input in the planning process, but they will not have a pocket veto to deny supportive housing projects.”