Assembly OKs climate-change bill

Aug 24, 2016

The bill to extend California's cap-and-trade emissions control program cleared the Assembly, and it is expected to clear the Senate by the time session wraps up next week.


Alison Noon with Associated Press writes:"California lawmakers moved closer to extending the state's ambitious climate change law Tuesday after winning critical approval from business-minded Democratic lawmakers in the state Assembly with encouragement from the White House."


"A majority of members in the state Assembly approved extending the state's landmark greenhouse gas emissions law, moving the proposal to the state Senate, which is expected to pass the measure before the Legislature wraps up next week."


"We need to make sure we are not throwing away the most incredible program we have in this country. Really, we are the leader," said Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego."


SEE MORE related to Climate Change: More than a dozen assembly members flipped their votes from last year to support climate change bill -- Liam Dillon with L.A. Times


A respected economist from UoP is highly critical of Gov. Brown's expensive plan to overhaul the Delta tunnels.


Dale Kasler with Sac Bee reports: "A prominent Sacramento-area economist says Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15.5 billion plan to overhaul the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta doesn’t make financial sense, with costs far outweighing the benefits."


"Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific, who has been a persistent critic of Brown’s plan to build a pair of massive tunnels beneath the Delta, said the project would likely deliver just 23 cents worth of economic benefit for every $1 spent."


"Even under the most optimistic scenario, the tunnels, known as California WaterFix, would generate just 39 cents worth of benefit, Michael wrote in a 24-page report released early Wednesday."


Meanwhile, Democrats beat Republicans for the second year in a row during a fundraiser baseball game at Raley Field on Tuesday night.


Sophia Bollag with L.A. Times: "Democrats in the Legislature won the annual legislative softball game 17-7 Tuesday night, the second year in a row they've beaten Republicans."


"The game at Raley Field, the home of the Sacramento Rivercats minor league team, raised more than $51,000 for PRO Youth and Families, a Sacramento-based group that works with young people in under-resourced communities."


"After falling during the game, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Echo Park) left the field in a wheelchair before he could see his team win. He broadcast his experience in the emergency room on Facebook live."


California will start cracking down on distracted driving by issuing incrementally increasing fines associated with repeat offenses.


Anshu Siripurapu in Sac Bee writes: "It could be the end of driving while scrolling in California thanks to a bill that cleared the Assembly on Tuesday and awaits consideration by Gov. Jerry Brown."


"Assembly Bill 1785 by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, would require drivers to mount their smartphones on their car’s windshield or dashboard and use them only for things that require the “motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger."


"The whole point is to prevent distracted driving,” Quirk said on the Assembly floor."


Speaking of transportation, CalTrans will be spending $1.6 million to make an area in Berkeley more ADA friendly


Daily Californian's Anna Sturla reports: "Starting this fall, Caltrans will invest more than $1.6 million in construction to make Berkeley sidewalks more accessible to people with disabilities."


"Caltrans will be widening sidewalks and regrading curb ramps on the portion of Ashby Avenue that lies between Shattuck Avenue and Seventh Street, among other projects. The project monies were allocated as part of $814 million in transportation funding from the California Transportation Commission, toward 135 projects across California designed to improve traffic and road conditions."


"The new improvements stem from a 2010 update to the Americans with Disabilities Act that mandated new requirements for sidewalks and curb ramps. The original act approved in 1990 required that public accommodations throughout the country be made accessible to people with disabilities."


Back in the Capitol, all bills regulating police bodycam footage and transparency have stalled in the Legislature this year.


L.A. Times' Liam Dillon reports: "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."


"Multiple measures to boost transparency or restrict access to the footage this year did not garner enough support from lawmakers, who have struggled to deal with the complicated privacy and accountability questions raised by the technology — even as police departments statewide have rapidly adopted body cameras as a way to increase community trust in law enforcement."


"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."


An alarming increase in the cost of EpiPens over the last few years has some lawmakers startled


AP in L.A. Times: "Members of Congress are demanding more information on why the price of lifesaving EpiPens has skyrocketed."


"EpiPens are injection devices used to ward off potentially fatal allergic reactions, and the price has surged in recent years. A two-dose package cost around $94 nine years ago. The average cost was more than six times that in May, according to the Elsevier Clinical Solutions’ Gold Standard Drug Database."


"Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to Mylan, the company that manufactures the devices, and asked for more information on why the prices have increased."


An alcohol license request from a soon-to-be 7-Eleven 24-hour convenience store in Sacramento is exacerbating worries about a spiking homeless population and crime rate. 


Sac Bee's Ellen Garrison reports: "Sacramento County supervisors held off Tuesday from deciding whether 7-Eleven can sell alcohol in a high-crime neighborhood, wanting to take a closer look at liquor licenses in Arden Arcade as residents voice concerns about safety and homelessness."


"7-Eleven is requesting a beer and wine liquor license for a 24-hour convenience store and gas station it plans to build on the corner of Howe Avenue and Hurley Way."


"The board approved the overall project Tuesday, but Supervisor Susan Peters, who represents the area, explained the board delayed discussion of the liquor license to allow for further review of existing nuisances in the area."


An intended ballot measure aimed at switching from daylight savings time to a standard year-long time arrangement has been shut down in the Senate.


Alexei Koseff writes in Sac Bee: "Californians may not get to weigh in on daylight saving time after all."


"The state Senate on Tuesday rejected Assembly Bill 385, which would have placed a measure on the ballot asking voters to dump the twice-annual changing of the clocks and keep California on standard time year-round. Only 17 members voted for the bill, four short of what it needed to advance."


"Announced in February by Assemblyman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, AB 385 became an instant cause célèbre among anti-daylight saving time partisans, who regard it as not only an irritant but a danger. Research suggests the risk of heart attacks, car crashes and workplace accidents rises in the days immediately after a time shift."


Speaking of bills, one that aims to remove sales taxes from menstrual products was approved Tuesday


Cassandra Vogel with Daily Californian writes: "State legislators are one step closer to striking down the sales tax on menstrual products sold across California, after the Senate Appropriations Committee approved Assembly Bill 1561 on Aug. 11."


"Authored by Assemblymembers Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and Ling Ling Chang (D-Diamond Bar), the bill would exempt the state sales and uses tax on all tampons, sanitary napkinsmenstrual cups and menstrual sponges. On Tuesday, the proposal will return to the Assembly floor for a final vote before it arrives to Gov. Jerry Brown desk for approval."


"Fundamentally this is about gender equity and leveling the field,” Garcia said in a press release. “Every month, for 40 years of our lives, we are taxed for being born women. Every month of our adult life we are taxed for our biology.”


Gov. Brown must decide for the second year in a row the access terminally ill patients will have to experimental drugs.


Melanie Mason with L.A. Times reports: "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."


And more bills aimed at helping victims of human trafficking are on their way to the Senate.


Jazmine Ulloa with L.A. Times says: "Five bills that aim to help human trafficking victims caught in the criminal justice system moved out of the Senate on Tuesday and are headed back to the Assembly for a final vote."


"Measures to curb the forced trade of sex and labor have been highly debated this legislative session. But most of the Assembly proposals taken up by the upper house Tuesday faced little to no opposition."


"Bills by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) were unanimously approved."

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