Gov. Brown signs hard-won right-to-die legislation

As reported by the Ventura County Star:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will become the fifth state in the nation to allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives using doctor-prescribed drugs after Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday he signed one of the most emotionally charged bills of the year.

Brown, a lifelong Catholic and former Jesuit seminarian, announced that he signed the legislation approved by state lawmakers after an emotional and deeply personal debate. Until now, he had refused to comment on the issue.

The bill passed Sept. 11 after a previous version failed this year despite the highly publicized case of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman with brain cancer moved to Oregon to end her life.

Opponents said the bill legalizes premature suicide, but …

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UC system minimum wage increases to $13 per hour

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

The University of California’s plan to raise the minimum wage for all workers systemwide took effect Thursday, the first of three incremental raises expected to bring wages to at least $15 an hour by 2017.

The minimum wage rose to $13 an hour for all university employees hired to work 20 hours or more a week. It will be increased to $14 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016, and to $15 an hour on the same day in 2017.

UC president Janet Napolitano announced the voluntary minimum wage increase in July, the first of its kind to be established by a public university.

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Traffic deaths climbing in California – Is there a fix?

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

It’s an unfortunate downside to the recession’s end: As more people return to work and more cars hit the road, fatal accidents are on the climb.

Nationally, road deaths jumped nearly 10 percent in the first three months of this year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. California officials say they saw a 13 percent uptick over three recent years through 2013 and expect that trend to continue when 2014 numbers are finalized.

It’s no surprise, safety officials say.

“Realistically, when the economy started getting better, all indications …

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Pope canonizes Father Junipero Serra, but not all happy about it

As reported by the L.A. Daily News:

An 18th-century missionary who brought Catholicism to the American West Coast was elevated to sainthood Wednesday by Pope Francis, prompting Catholics, children and Native Americans to reflect on a history that touches much of Southern California — from the missions of San Fernando and San Gabriel to the Inland Empire.

In the first canonization on U.S. soil, Francis made Junipero Serra a saint during a Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in North America.

Serra was a Franciscan friar who marched north from Baja California with conquistadors from his native Spain, establishing nine of the 21 missions in what is now California.

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Jerry Brown signs new post-redevelopment bill

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Four years after approving legislation that ended the anti-blight redevelopment program in California, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill giving local agencies a way to pay for similar projects.

Assembly Bill 2, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, authorizes local governments in economically depressed areas to use certain tax revenue for public works and affordable housing improvements and to help businesses.

Alejo said in a prepared statement that the bill signing was a “major victory for our state’s most disadvantaged communities.”

Brown also signed Senate Bill 107, which supporters said …

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LAPD awarded $1M by U.S. Department of Justice to buy body cameras

A reported by the L.A. Daily News:

The Los Angeles Police Department was awarded $1 million by the U.S. Department of Justice Monday for the purchase of body cameras, despite a complaint by the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union that the department’s policies on the use and release of the footage hinders transparency.

The LAPD was one of 73 agencies across the country to be awarded a total of $19.3 million in funding for the purchase of cameras. Pasadena was awarded $250,000.

Los Angeles officials had asked the federal government for funding to purchase 700 cameras. The city ultimately wants to purchase 7,000 cameras to outfit all of its field officers. The department already has about 860 cameras purchased through private donations. Distribution of those cameras began this month at three LAPD stations. …

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UC regents chair defends proposed principles against intolerance

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

On the eve of what is expected to be a contentious debate over a proposed new UC policy statement on bias and free speech, the head of the UC regents board defended what are called “principles against intolerance” on Wednesday.

Regents chairwoman Monica Lozano said the proposed principles, which condemn ethnic, religious and gender bias, “reflect the university’s core values of respect, inclusion, academic freedom and a free and open exchange of ideas.”

The statement’s purpose, she said, “is to provide a framework for prompt and effective response to reports of intolerant behavior and for reinforcement of the university’s bedrock values.”

Lozano spoke at the regents meeting, which is being held …

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Plan to regulate medical marijuana heads to Jerry Brown

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

After years of false starts and nearly two decades after California legalized cannabis for medical purposes, lawmakers Friday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a legislative package to regulate the billion-dollar industry.

Medical marijuana would be newly defined as an agricultural product with rules for water use, discharge and pesticides, and would be tracked and tested through the process.

The trio of bills would allow for testing and labeling of edible marijuana, overseen by the Department of Public Health, and prevent environmental degradation like water diversion via the Department of Food and Agriculture, which would also manage cultivation.

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Bill banning ‘Redskins’ mascot heads to governor’s desk

As reported by the Merced Sun-Star:

A bill banning the use of the term “Redskins” as a mascot for public schools is headed to the California governor’s office after passing out of the state assembly Thursday.

Four schools in the state use the mascot: Gustine High in Merced County, Chowchilla High in Madera County, Calaveras High in Calaveras County, and Tulare Union in Tulare County.

Assembly Bill 30, the “California Racial Mascots Act,” on Thursday passed the state Assembly on 54-8 vote. The measure, authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, would prohibit public schools from using the term for mascots, team names and nicknames.

“As the state with the largest Native American population in the country, we should not continue to allow a racial slur to be used by our public schools,” Alejo said Thursday in …

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Duf Sundheim, former state GOP chair, jumps into 2016 Senate race

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

Former California Republican Party chair Duf Sundheim, 62, is jumping into the 2016 U.S. Senate race, in what’s expected to be a tough race against the Democratic front-runner, state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Sundheim, a moderate, pro-choice Republican who has worked with former Secretary of State George Shultz and former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed on political reform issues that include redistricting, open primaries, and pension and education reform, vows to bring a bipartisan approach to the job.

A former member of the Republican National Committee board of directors, Sundheim has long been active in trying to broaden the appeal of the California GOP, which lags 15 points behind Democrats in state voter registration. …

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