Faced with opposition from drug legalization advocates, California lawmakers backed away Tuesday from a proposal to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy on motorists under age 21 who drive after using marijuana.
A bill by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) originally proposed a one-year suspension of driver’s licenses for minors caught for the first time driving with measurable amounts of marijuana in their system. Hill had said the state should have the same “zero tolerance” policy for cannabis that it has for those under 21 who drive under the influence of alcohol.
But faced with opposition, Hill agreed on Tuesday that the first offense would result in a warning, and the second offense would add one penalty point to the driver’s record, removable if they take a drug-awareness class. Only the third and subsequent offenses would result in suspension of the driver’s license.
California’s clean-air board and its attorney general have sued the Trump administration to challenge as illegal the repeal of a policy that requires major sources of air pollutants, including oil refineries, to permanently take action to reduce their emissions, officials announced Tuesday.
The lawsuit filed by Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra and the California Air Resources Board targets a policy change by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would no longer require major polluters to install and operate equipment to permanently minimize the release of hazardous substances.
“Instead of prioritizing the health of hardworking Americans, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to let major polluters off the hook,” Becerra said in a statement. “That is unconscionable, and it is illegal.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Delaine Eastin marked Pay Equity Day on Tuesday by challenging her rivals in the race to pledge to hire equal numbers of men and women in their staffs and to pay them equally if elected.
“Several candidates have claimed to be feminists, so they should be more than comfortable making this pledge to gender parity in staffs and leadership, and pay equity for state workers in their administrations — or their claim is mere political grandstanding,” Eastin said in a statement.
The former state schools chief is one of only a handful of women to be elected statewide in California. The state’s voters have never elected a female governor, a glass ceiling Eastin hopes to shatter by campaigning vigorously around the state. But she badly lags behind her Democratic rivals in the polls and in fundraising.
Ahead of its first legislative committee hearing scheduled for next week, a Bay Area lawmaker has narrowed his bill aimed at building more housing near transit across California.
Under the newly amended Senate Bill 827 from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), cities would be allowed to restrict building heights to four or five stories, down from a maximum of eight stories, within a half-mile of rail and ferry stops. Wiener also limited changes surrounding bus stops. The new version of the bill wouldn’t mandate height increases around bus stops, instead allowing for increased density and lower parking requirements. It also would apply only at bus stops with frequent service throughout the day, rather than just during rush hour.
SB 827 tries to address the state’s longstanding shortage of homes and a push by climate regulators to build near mass transit through dramatically changing development rules, particularly in the state’s largest metropolitan areas. Earlier versions of the bill would have affected nearly all of San Francisco and, according to a Times analysis, about 190,000 parcels currently zoned for single-family homes in Los Angeles — roughly half such parcels in the city.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s reelection bid.
“More than ever, we need Dianne Feinstein's steady leadership in the U.S. Senate; she's exactly the right person to ensure that Trump is held accountable. Dianne will continue to stand up for immigrants and fight to protect our healthcare and the environment,” Brown said in a statement.
The two San Francisco natives have developed a close relationship in the decades since Brown’s father, former Gov. Pat Brown, appointed Feinstein to the California Women’s Board of Terms and Parole. Feinstein officiated at Brown’s 2005 wedding and he has helped her raise cash in the past.
Sacramento Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert was met with boos, applause and chants of “Stephon Clark” Monday at the state Capitol as she joined several law enforcement officials who were honored for their work in public safety at a crime victims rally.
Speaking over the protesters, Schubert did not address Clark’s case or take questions. She pledged only to represent victims and help people get back on track, whether through school or youth intervention programs.
“I will always stand with victims,” she said at the event hosted by Crime Victims United of California. “I will always do what’s right, and I will always follow the facts of the law.”
California on Monday jumped into the middle of a legal dispute over the future of the federal Affordable Care Act, seeking to preserve the law that is under assault in the courts by 20 other states.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra announced he is part of a coalition of 16 attorneys general who have filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed in February by Texas, Wisconsin and other states seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which provides tax credits for coverage and requires coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions.
“It is an irresponsible action,” Becerra said of the Texas lawsuit. “It is a legally unsound action, and it is a dangerous action for millions of Americans who left the bad days of pre-existing conditions and the inability to get care for their children.”
An influential political committee launched a campaign blitz for Encinitas congressional candidate Sara Jacobs after her grandfather gave it one of the largest contributions it has received this election cycle.
In one of the most aggressive efforts in the nation to curb soaring healthcare spending, a new California measure would put the state in charge of setting prices for hospital stays, doctor’s visits and most other medical services covered by commercial insurers.