U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris on Tuesday called for new national policies to reduce recidivism by felons released from prison and to make data on crime and police actions more accessible to the public.
Harris, California’s attorney general, made the comments during a roundtable discussion on criminal justice at Community Coalition in South Los Angeles.
California lawmakers on Tuesday sent the governor a bill that could help students graduate in four years from California State University schools.
Only 19% of students at Cal State campuses graduate in four years, state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) said, citing statistics from 2011. Glazer's bill would create programs at Cal State campuses to help students graduate on time. Students in the programs would receive extra support from academic advisors and priority registration in classes. They would be required to take a minimum number of credits and maintain a qualifying GPA.
Low-income and first-generation students, as well as community college graduates and students from communities with low college attendance rates, would be given priority to participate in the programs. They would also have to be eligible for in-state tuition.
Amid concerns over health impacts and wildfires, smoking and using electronic cigarettes would be outlawed at California’s 270 state parks and beaches under a bill sent by state lawmakers to the governor on Tuesday.
The measure creates a fine of up to $250 for those caught vaping or smoking a cigar or cigarette, or disposing of the remains of a cigarette on a state beach or park.
“SB 1333 will make our state parks and beaches cleaner and safer by reducing cigarette and tobacco litter, curtailing exposure to second-hand smoke and limiting the threat of park fires,” Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) told his Senate colleagues Tuesday before they voted 26-10 to approve the bill. He also said cigarette trash can hurt wildlife and fish.
California lawmakers voted Tuesday to add language to sentencing laws that would promote so-called restorative justice.
State law says the purpose of imprisonment is “punishment.” The bill the California Assembly voted to send to the governor Tuesday, AB 2590, would amend the law to state that the “purpose of sentencing is public safety achieved through punishment, rehabilitation, and restorative justice."
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would have to update its policies to promote inmate rehabilitation under the bill.
This bill, authored by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), makes it unlawful to launch, land or operate a drone without a permit on lands managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It also prohibits the use of drones in the taking of fish or animals.
Lawmakers took action Tuesday to prevent California state government agencies from awarding contracts to companies that participate in a boycott of Israel.
AB 2844 requires any company that accepts a state government contract of $100,000 or more to certify that it's not in violation of California civil rights law -- which, said the Assembly members who wrote the bill, would include companies involved in an international Israeli boycott.
That global campaign -- the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions movement -- is intended to put pressure on Israel to change its policies until the country ends its occupation of "all Arab lands" and recognizes an independent Palestine.
The state Assembly on Tuesday sent the governor a bill that would allow local police and sheriff agencies to increase the fee for issuing concealed weapon permits, removing the current $100 cap and allowing charges that fully recover costs for enforcement.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) introduced the measure, saying the cap has resulted in Sacramento County facing a budget shortfall of about $250,000.
“Unfortunately, the current fee structure is rigid, leaving a strain on some local budgets,” McCarty said.
A deal has been struck on a controversial bill sponsored by Planned Parenthood to create new penalties for distributing illegal recordings in the wake of high-profile secret videos circulated by anti-abortion activists.
The bill, by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Echo Park), had sought to create a new crime for distributing video or audio recordings involving a healthcare professional that were taken without a person's consent. In California, it is already illegal to make such recordings without all parties' authorization.
Planned Parenthood argued that adding additional punishment for circulating those recordings was necessary following the controversial videos taped by David Daleiden and other anti-abortion activists that purported to show Planned Parenthood employees illegally trafficking in fetal tissue. The healthcare provider, which has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing, says the videos were manipulated.
Ballots cast by California voters could be turned in at elections offices by anyone, including campaign workers or political party officials, under a bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.
Assembly Bill 1921 removes the language in existing state law that limits help in submitting a vote by mail ballot to close family members. The bill's author, Assemblywoman Lorena S. Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has said those limitations are an obstacle to getting ballots back in a timely fashion for voters in need of help.
In a legislative committee hearing in June, opponents noted that AB 1921 has no maximum number of ballots a single person can turn in and could therefore open the door to vote tampering during large-scale ballot gathering efforts.
The state Assembly on Tuesday sent a bill to Gov. Jerry Brown that would enhance penalties for sex buyers, one of at least two dozen bills this legislative session that have sought to curb the trade of forced sex and labor.
AB 1708, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), would enhance penalties for sex trafficking near schools and impose minimum fines and mandatory minimum county jail terms for people convicted of purchasing commercial sex.
It also would recast the crime of prostitution so that the statute differentiates between people receiving compensation for sex from sellers and buyers of sex.