Alarmed by several explosions in residential areas caused by drug processing labs, the state Assembly on Thursday voted to ban home manufacturing of marijuana concentrates using volatile solvents.
The action comes ahead of plans by the state to begin issuing licenses in January to firms for the manufacture and sale of marijuana products in California.
“As California comes to terms with newly legalized recreational cannabis, we must continue to protect public safety and keep these potentially explosive extractors out of residential neighborhoods,” Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) told his colleagues during the floor discussion.
The state Senate approved a measure Thursday that could loosen sentencing for gun crimes.
Current law says anyone who uses a gun in committing a felony must have their sentence increased by 10 years or more in prison on top of the penalty for the felony. The proposal is to lift that mandate.
Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) said he introduced the bill after a 17-year-old riding in a car involved in a drive-by shooting was sentenced to 25 years in prison even though he denied shooting the gun.
State lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of crafting a budget proposal that would require all but eight California county jails to provide spaces for inmates to visit their families in person.
In a 4-0 bipartisan vote, members of an Assembly subcommittee agreed to make the legislative demand in budget negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown, even after he vetoed similar efforts in a bipartisan bill last year.
Over the last five years, an increasing number of jails and prisons across California and nationwide have moved to offer Skype-like video visits through phone and computer screens. Some jails have used the video systems to replace on-site meetings that have traditionally occurred face to face through a glass window.
Democrats and Republicans in California's congressional delegation praised former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III as the right pick to serve as special counsel for the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and what the Trump campaign may have known.
In a private meeting with Republican colleagues last year, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy commented that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and California congressional colleague Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) were being paid by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said in the recording of a June 15 exchange obtained and published by the Washington Post. At that point, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) cut off the conversation and swore those present to secrecy.
Amid concern over management problems at California's state tax board, a legislative panel recommended Wednesday that next year’s budget scale back an expansion of the agency's staff and supported limits on the budgets of each of the four board members.
The panel noted the state Board of Equalization has 600 vacant positions, so it recommended to cut in half a proposal for 134 new positions in the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. BOE officials agreed to the scaling back of the proposal.
“It would seem from the controversies at the BOE that there are a number of excess positions there,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), a member of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on State Administration.
Top candidates to replace termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown will gather at the California Democratic Party’s annual convention later this week, giving the most crucial speeches of their campaigns to date, courting activists and wooing donors and powerful party leaders.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Treasurer John Chiang and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin will each address thousands of delegates and guests on Saturday in Sacramento. Though the candidates are well-known among Democratic insiders, the speeches mark the first time the four of them will address the same influential crowd — a critical benchmark in the 2018 gubernatorial race.
They will also court the party faithful with food, drinks and parties. Chiang is co-hosting a “United for California” late-night reception on Saturday. Newsom is headlining a street party featuring rapper Common and DJ Jazzy Jeff the same night, as well as a couple of gatherings earlier in the day.
Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) is making a personal plea to every Republican in Congress in the form of a letter asking them join Democrats and create an independent, nonpartisan commission to look at Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 election.
House Republican leaders have largely said that existing oversight and investigatory committees are sufficient to look at the issue, but ongoing controversy spilling from the White House, including allegations that President Trump asked the FBI to drop the investigation, has made some rank-and-file Republicans leery.
Peters, who is considered one of the most moderate members of Congress, said he's hoping that a direct invitation can sway those thinking about an independent committee.