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  • California Forbids U.S. Immigration Agents from Pretending to be Police

    Thursday, July 27, 2017
    ICE agents have reportedly claimed to be police officers to gain consent to enter a person’s home – a tactic that is viewed as unethical, but within the powers granted to the officers. Civil rights groups supported Kalra’s bill, looking to stymie the Trump administration’s promise to use any and all available tools to deport undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes. Many groups fear Trump will expand deportations to include all undocumented immigrants, their families and relatives.   read more
  • California Limits Lobbyist Practice of Bringing Experts to Lawmaker Pitch Meetings

    Friday, March 25, 2016
    California's political watchdog tightened state lobbying laws, voting to limit a "ride-along" loophole that allowed unregistered lobbyists to petition lawmakers during private meetings. For decades California lobbyists have taken advantage of loose lobbying laws by bringing subject-matter experts with them to help pitch lawmakers on specific issues. The changes allow lobbyists to bring ride-alongs if they are employed by the same company and add "substantive information" to the issue at hand.   read more
  • Major Airlines Sued by Central Coast Residents Irate over Aircraft Noise from New Flight Path

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016
    "Previously tranquil home life has been interrupted day and night by jet noise," said Rep. Sam Farr. "My office has heard from many people about noise that can shake windows, wake children, and drown out everyday conversation. I experienced this noise first hand and believe that this situation is unacceptable." Between March and August of 2015, residents along the new route had filed 147,442 noise complaints. During the same months in 2014, there were just 5,254.   read more
  • California to Bar High-Income Earners from Electric Auto Rebate Program

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016
    The changes come as critics have accused the rebate program of being a subsidy for the rich. Meanwhile, low- and moderate-income residents will be eligible for an additional $1,500 in rebates. California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said the increase will help to ensure that more drivers in communities most impacted by air pollution can benefit from clean vehicles. "And more ultraclean and zero-emission vehicles on our roads mean cleaner air for all Californians," she said   read more
  • Forest Service May Allow Nestle to Bottle SoCal Mountain Water Pending Environmental Analysis

    Monday, March 21, 2016
    Nestle has been drawing 25 million gallons of water a year under a permit that expired three decades ago. Critics contend that the extraction — in the midst of California's drought — could harm the creek environment that supports sensitive species. The company pays the government a modest permit fee of about $500 a year and markets it as Arrowhead. Environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit demanding that the Forest Service halt Nestle's water withdrawals until a special use permit is issued.   read more
  • Environmental Concerns Swirl around Proposed $15-Billion Water Tunnel Project

    Saturday, March 19, 2016
    In the delta, a land of tree-lined river banks and pear orchards, signs saying, "Stop the Tunnels," hang on farm gates and shop walls. People fear the tunnels would let the state take too much water from the delta. "I do resent the fact they look at the delta as being sort of expendable to protect their farms," van Loben Sels said, driving a narrow river road that would be replaced by widened highways and massive water intakes. "It's just the destruction of the delta."   read more
  • U.S. Justice Dept. Files Anti-Trust Lawsuit to Block Tribune Purchase of SoCal Newspapers

    Friday, March 18, 2016
    If it is approved, Tribune would control 98% of daily English-language newspaper sales in Orange County and 81% in Riverside, the Justice Dept said. It would also likely bring job cuts, experts said. Media analyst Ken Doctor worried about local coverage suffering if the sale goes through: "Communities benefit by having different groups of editors looking out for them. When you essentially only have one newsroom leadership deciding what is news for [multiple counties], that is unprecedented."   read more
  • L.A. Police Accused of Increasing Arrests of Homeless and Destruction of Their Property

    Thursday, March 17, 2016
    While the police were previously content to simply destroy homeless people's belongings, they have escalated their tactics to arresting people for lying or sitting on the sidewalk after dark. The plaintiffs claim that city workers treat people's belongings like de facto garbage, ripping open tents with knives and throwing away shoes, clothes, blankets, and even medications, walkers, and personal documents. Officers don't allow arrestees to pack up their property before they are taken to booking.   read more
  • Physician-Assisted Suicide Legalized as of June in California

    Saturday, March 12, 2016
    Supporters say they don't know how many terminally ill patients have been waiting for the law to go into effect. One advocate, Christy O'Donnell, a single mother with lung cancer who sued the state to demand the right to life-ending medication, died last month before getting the option. Elizabeth Wallner, whose stage 4 colon cancer has spread to her liver and lungs, said she is relieved. "It gives me a great peace of mind to know that I will not be forced to die slowly and painfully," she said.   read more
  • Legal Age for Smoking Changed from 18 to 21 by California Lawmakers

    Friday, March 11, 2016
    The higher age limit won approval despite intense lobbying from tobacco interests and fierce opposition from many Republicans. The six bills that passed represented California's most substantial anti-tobacco effort in nearly two decades. "With California having such a huge population, it's going to be very impactful nationwide," said American Cancer Society's Cathy Callaway. Advocates noted that the vast majority of smokers start before they are 18.   read more
  • Official Misconduct and Errors in California Criminal Justice System Take High Toll on Inmates and Taxpayers

    Wednesday, March 09, 2016
    There were 692 felony convictions in California that were thrown out between 1989 and 2012 based on errors or misconduct by police, prosecutors, defense lawyers or judges, according to a new study. Those cases cost taxpayers more than $282 million for trials, appeals, imprisonment and compensation -- but that figure is probably a small fraction of the financial impact of mistakes in the state's justice system. It didn't include misdemeanor cases, which amount to about 80% of all prosecutions.   read more
  • California Lawmakers Push 6 Bills to Improve Rape Laws and Testing of Backlogged Rape Kits

    Monday, February 29, 2016
    David Chiu authored legislation that would require rape kits to be tracked by law enforcement so that the state can have a better understanding of how many kits go untested each year and why. Chiu's bill is sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is also supporting a bill by Sen. Steve Glazer that requires all law enforcement agencies to use a central statewide DNA database to increase the likelihood of finding matches on cold cases.   read more
  • Californians Miss State Water Conservation Goal for Fourth Straight Month

    Saturday, February 27, 2016
    The state met the 25% savings goal in each of the first four months, but conservation rates have steadily declined since October. January's 17.1% is the lowest since the mandatory restrictions began in June. While Californians fell behind the cumulative savings threshold in January, average use per capita declined to 61 gallons - the lowest monthly per-person rate since reporting began in June 2014. More than 36 million Californians reside in drought areas.   read more
  • Los Angeles Gas Leak Deemed Biggest Methane Release in U.S. History

    Friday, February 26, 2016
    The leak had been gushing nonstop for two weeks when Conley was sent by the CEC to fly near Porter Ranch in his small plane outfitted to measure methane. As he took a pass through the invisible plume, he did a double-take at results that showed up on his laptop computer. The readings spiked at 50 parts per million over the San Fernando Valley. "What the hell is that?" he remembered thinking. It was no false alarm. "Before we went, no one had any idea the magnitude of it," Conley said.   read more
  • Court Keeps California Handgun Ad Ban in Place

    Thursday, February 25, 2016
    The panel said that U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley did not abuse his discretion in finding the gun shops were not entitled to the "extraordinary remedy" of an injunction, since the magnitude of potential harm faced by the dealers "is minimal due to the commercial nature of the speech and the limited scope of the restriction." While California's ban applies to depictions of handguns, gun shop owners remain free to advertise rifles and other firearms at will.   read more
  • Army Corps of Engineers Accused of Illegally Polluting L.A. River

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016
    The L.A. Water Quality Board claims the Corps of Engineers not only dredged 6.5 acres of the Los Angeles River without a permit, it didn't even tell the state it had done it until two months after the work was done. In doing so, the Corps pollutes the work areas with oil, grease and other pollutants, the water board says. It claims the Corps has a pattern of failing to obtain water quality certification before starting projects that have "consequential impacts" on the river and watershed.   read more
  • Plagued by Delays, California High-Speed Rail Back in Court

    Saturday, February 20, 2016
    "What people are now talking about is we're going to end up with a 130-mile mound of dirt. They're going to run out of money sometime by 2017," said attorney Flashman, who represents plaintiffs in the suit against the state. "At that point they're not even going to be starting laying tracks. They're certainly not going to be having anything usable for trains." Critics argue that the train won't be able to travel from San Francisco to L.A. in two hours and 40 minutes as voters were told.   read more
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