Reversing years of policy, California has decided to allow prostitutes to receive money from a state victims compensation fund if they are raped or beaten.
From the AP's Don Thompson: "Under the current system, those harmed in violent crimes can be paid for medical costs and related expenses, but prostitutes are excluded because their activities are illegal."
"Marybel Batjer, chairwoman of the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, called the rule "repugnant," adding in a later interview that, "Rape is rape, period."
"The three-member board voted unanimously to end California's status as the only state with such a prohibition, though it will take several months to formally repeal the regulation. The change does not affect the illegality of prostitution."
Covered California, which serves as a portal for health insurance under the new Affordable Care Act, is showing good numbers but is finding difficulties in meeting certain demographics.
From the U-T's Christopher Cadelago: "Two months into its launch, 109,296 Californians have enrolled in health coverage through the state's new insurance marketplace, officials said Thursday."
"The figures, which came a day after the latest federal release, show the exchange is steadily increasing enrollment even as it struggles to reach certain demographics. In the first week of December, 144,000 Californians completed applications and 49,708 enrolled in a plan - a rate of 7,100 per day or 15 times the agency's initial rate."
California may be a solidly blue state, but more voters now have negative vibes about labor unions -- the core of the Democratic power base -- than those who support them, according to a new Field Poll.
From the Bee's David Siders: A plurality of registered voters – 45 percent – now feel that way, compared to 40 percent who say they do more good.
"The poll registers a dramatic, 10 percentage point change in public opinion from two years ago, when voters rated labor unions far more positively. The measure follows heated controversies around public pensions, municipal bankruptcies and political campaigns involving organized labor – one of the most influential forces in California’s Democratic politics."
The much lauded, nonpartisan budget agreement in Congress produced a mixed response in California, such as opposition from conservative Republican Dana Rohrabacher and liberal Maxine Waters.
From the LAT's Richard Simon: "The Ripley's Believe It or Not moment came Thursday in a House vote to pass a budget deal designed to prevent another government shutdown."
"The vote scrambled the usual alliances within California's congressional delegation, with nine of the state's 53 House members — seven Democrats and two Republicans — voting against the agreement."
"Rizzo, who is already facing 10 to 12 years in prison for his role in the corruption scandal
, agreed Thursday to plead guilty to conspiracy to file false tax returns and to cooperate with federal authorities."
"The bogus losses "operated to substantially offset the increasing wages defendant received from his employment with the city of Bell," according to the plea agreement."
Angela Spaccia, Rizzo's second in command in Bell, who was convicted on 11 counts of corruption earlier this week, has not been charged. However, she is referred to in the charging documents as "A.S.," along with her company, Sheffield Management Corp."
And from our "Tales of the Great Depression" file comes word that the ghost of Upton Sinclair is alive and well in the state Capitol.
"State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, will chair the Ending Poverty and Inequality in California (EPIC) Caucus."
“Bill Monning suggested that name, and as a fan ofUpton Sinclair, I immediately liked it,” DeSauliner said Thursday afternoon."
"Through the difficult budgets of recent years, “a lot of my frustration was that there’s not a lot of research that indicates what a good investment is” to abate poverty and reduce inequality, he said. Just as the Legislature’s Environmental Caucus has been instrumental in developing landmark legislation that has put California ahead of the nation and world on various issues, so too does DeSaulnier hope this new caucus will do likewise."