For the second straight year, California lawmakers have failed to pass any major legislation regulating police body cameras after a bill that would have allowed families of fallen police officers to block the release of body camera footage showing the officers' deaths stalled in a legislative committee Tuesday.
A bill from Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) to put surviving relatives in charge of deciding whether videos of officer deaths should be public made it the furthest. Low’s bill narrowly passed the state Senate last week after a lengthy debate between those who believed officer families deserved special protection and opponents who said the bill could block release even when there might be overriding public interest in a video.
A four-mile stretch of Interstate 210 through the heart of Pasadena will be named the Jackie Robinson Memorial Highway under a plan approved by the Legislature on Tuesday.
Robinson broke through racial barriers of professional baseball as a star player for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the team that relocated to Los Angeles in 1958. But the Hall of Famer grew up in Pasadena, attending John Muir High School and then UCLA.
“Jackie Robinson is not only an inspiring figure to us for his accomplishments in athletics, but also as a civil-rights-era trailblazer who advocated for social change,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), the author of the freeway naming plan, Assembly Concurrent Resolution 197.
The state Assembly on Tuesday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a measure that would expand the ban on texting while driving to include other distracting operations of smartphones, including searching for "Pokemon Go" characters.
Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) said smartphone technology and applications have increased since the state outlawed texting on handheld devices.
The bill, which prohibits using a handheld device in a way that distracts from driving, is “an important step in reducing distracted-driving accidents, injuries and deaths,” Quirk told his colleagues.
For the second consecutive year, Gov. Jerry Brown will have to decide on a measure that would allow gravely ill patient access to experimental drugs.
The Assembly on Tuesday gave final legislative approval to Assemblyman Ian Charles Calderon's so-called "right-to-try" legislation, which authorizes drug and medical device manufacturers to make their products available to terminally ill patients, even if the products have not yet been cleared by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
Last year, Brown vetoed a similar proposal by Calderon, a Democrat from Whittier, saying the Food and Drug Administration had recently streamlined a program that allows the very sick to apply for access to drugs still pending approval.
Gov. Jerry Brown must now decide whether to eliminate the sales tax charged on tampons, after a bipartisan vote by the Assembly on Tuesday sent the proposal to his desk.
Assembly Bill 1561 would create a five-year tax break on the purchase of menstrual products. A legislative bill analysis estimated the lost revenue at $20 million a year, split evenly between local and state governments.
But Democratic and Republican legislators agreed that the tax was unfair, imposed on women simply because of their gender and a financial burden on low-income women. They argued other life necessities, including medicine, are also exempted from sales taxes.
California lawmakers voted Tuesday to ban government travel to states believed to discriminate against LGBT people.
AB 1887 aims to prevent the government from sending its employees to states that have passed laws after June 26, 2015, that allow "discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” It also would prohibit California from funding travel to those states.
The California attorney general would be responsible for creating and publishing a list of those states.
Among the throngs of lobbyists, business interests and advocates anxiously watching Tuesday's climate debate in the Assembly, only one was a potential gubernatorial contender: hedge fund billionaire and Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer.
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Steyer said the vote on a measure to extend the state's greenhouse gas reduction goals marked a continuation of California's ambitious climate policies.
"We’ve done this since 1970," he said. "We look back at the stuff we did in 1970 and think, 'aren’t we proud of ourselves.' Hopefully we’ll look back at today and say 'aren’t we proud of ourselves.'"
“We are aware of the concerns of those who wish to see Confederate flags removed from public venues because they are perceived by many as a symbol of racial intolerance,” the letter states. “We are also aware that the national cemeteries originated during the Civil War and that they are the final resting places of those who serves on both sides of that conflict and as such flags of the Confederacy are also viewed by some merely as historical symbols."