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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.

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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.

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  • 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).

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  • 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.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego).
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego). (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Major legislation that would have toughened state standards for police officers to use deadly force will not advance this year.

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) announced late Wednesday that lawmakers did not have enough time to garner support for the measure to pass both houses of the Legislature by Friday’s deadline. Atkins said lawmakers would resume work on the effort next year.

“Make no mistake: We have a critical problem that remains unaddressed,” Atkins said in a statement. “We need to end preventable deaths and to do so without jeopardizing the safety of law enforcement officers.”

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  • California Legislature
Wind turbine generators in the mountains near Palm Springs.
Wind turbine generators in the mountains near Palm Springs. (Paul Buck / European Pressphoto Agency)

California lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a plan that would put the state on a path to phase out fossil fuels by 2045.

State senators voted overwhelmingly to support Senate Bill 100, which would require California to obtain 100% of its energy from clean sources within the next three decades. The bill, which has been touted by state and national political leaders as a key plank in California’s fight against climate change, now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.

“It’s a historic day as an example for how the United States ought to be grappling with the existential threat to our nation and to our planet, our climate,” said Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), the bill’s author.

  • California Legislature
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students hug survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting before heading to a rally earlier this year.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students hug survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting before heading to a rally earlier this year. (Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

Alarmed by a string of mass shootings by young people, California lawmakers on Wednesday sent the governor a bill that would raise the minimum age for buying long guns in the state from 18 to 21.

Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) said his bill would address concerns raised by incidents including the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in which a 19-year-old is accused of using an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle to kill 17 students and school employees.

“The two most deadly recent school tragedies have been perpetrated by people under 21 with long guns,” Portantino told his colleagues before the Senate approved the bill and sent it to the governor.