California could become a sanctuary state for marijuana

As reported by CNN Money:

California lawmakers are trying to protect the marijuana industry by establishing California as a sanctuary state for pot.

A bill moving through the state legislature would prohibit state and local police from assisting federal agents who target marijuana businesses that are legal according to state law, unless those agents have a court order.

“The reason for this is because the present administration in Washington is very unpredictable,” Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat from Los Angeles and the author of the bill, told CNNMoney. “This is protecting the rights of Californians.”

The bill passed the state Assembly 41-33 last week. Most Democrats supported the bill, and most Republicans opposed it. …

Click here to read the full article

California’s Single-Payer Healthcare Bill Isn’t Based in Reality

As reported by National Review Online:

On Thursday, the California state Senate passed Senate Bill 562, which seeks to establish a statewide single-payer healthcare system.

Democratic senator Ricardo Lara, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, co-authored the bill and advocated its passage, but failed to explain how the proposal’s $400-billion price tag will be financed.

The bill represents a key progressive goal, and yet, it will almost certainly never be signed into law — even though Californians have elected Democratic majorities to both legislative chambers and a Democratic governor. Why not? Because it’s absurdly expensive. This year’s entire state budget is $180 billion. The single-payer system called for in 562 costs more than double that. …

Click here to read the full article

California Bills Target Private Business to Help Immigrants

As reported by NBC News:

California Democrats are expanding their efforts to resist President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigrants in the country illegally with bills aimed at limiting how much private businesses can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Democrats control all levels of state government, and leaders have vowed to resist Trump administration policies at every turn. Immigration is among their key issues, but most legislation so far has been aimed at limiting what police can do to help immigration authorities and providing additional state services and support to immigrants in the country illegally.

Now, two bills that advanced in the Assembly in the past week are taking aim at private businesses.

A measure that would bar landlords from disclosing tenants’ immigration status or reporting them to immigration officials passed the chamber. A bill prohibiting public and private employers from letting immigration agents come into their worksites or view their employee files cleared a committee. …

Click here to read the full article

California Advances Private Sector Retirement Plan Without Feds

As reported by KQED:

California officials vowed to move ahead with a retirement savings program for the state’s private sector workers, a day after losing the federal government’s support for the initiative.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and State Treasurer John Chiang said [last week] that the state will still enact the Secure Choice program, authorized last year, that will create retirement accounts for nearly 6.8 million Californians. De Leon criticized opponents of the plan as representing the interests of large banks and brokerage firms.

“California will move forward with Secure Choice with or without Washington’s blessing,” said de Leon, who authored the legislation that created the program. “We will put the future and well-being of our workers over Wall Street greed any day of the week.”

California’s program would automatically enroll private sector workers into a state-run retirement program. Unless they opted out, employees would contribute 3 percent of their earnings and a state board would oversee and invest the funds. …

Click here to read the full article

California Bill Would Tie Traffic Fines To Violator’s Income

As reported by CBS13:

SACRAMENTO — If you’ve ever gotten a traffic violation, you know it all too well that California’s traffic fines are among the highest in the nation.

But a state Senator wants to lower fines for people who don’t make much money while making it illegal for the state to suspend your driver’s license if you can’t afford to pay.

Devon Olson is in the passenger’s seat, while mom drives her around town.

“I’m Uber mom these days,” mom said.

Devon lost her license because of $3,600 in unpaid traffic tickets. The biggest penalty is a red light camera violation. But she says she wasn’t home to receive the tickets in the mail. Then the late fees kept building and she had to give up the car. …

Click here to read the full article

Housing crisis causes legislative avalanche: 130 bills proposed in Sacramento

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

Home prices keep rising to shocking levels around the Bay Area, while rents remain out of sight. Now, state lawmakers in Sacramento are responding with a torrent of proposals.

Legislators have introduced about 130 bills to address what has become a statewide housing crisis. The sheer quantity “is unprecedented,” said Jason Rhine, legislative representative for the League of California Cities.

“I don’t think anyone can recall a time when we’ve had this many bills on housing — or on any one thing, period,” he said.

The legislative avalanche — bills to mitigate affordability concerns, boost housing production and protect tenants — demonstrates that the “crisis has reached its head,” said Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco). …

Click here to read the full article

Laguna Beach becomes first city in Orange County to ban smoking in town

As reported by the Orange County Register:

LAGUNA BEACH — The only place people will be allowed to smoke in this resort town will be inside their homes and cars.

On Tuesday, May 9, the City Council voted unanimously to expand its ban on smoking that already covers beaches and parks.

The new ordinance bans smoking throughout the city, including on sidewalks, bike paths, alleys and in parking structures. The ordinance is the first such restrictive ban in Orange County. It will go into effect after a second reading in 30 days.

The ban also applies to vapes and e-cigarettes. Last summer, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a package of tobacco bills that included these devices in the state’s smoking ban restriction. The ban would also apply to smoking marijuana in the same places tobacco smoking is prohibited. …

Click here to read the full article

Bay Area demonstrators may be paid to protest, by employers

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

It’s a common accusation lobbed at liberal protesters gathered at town hall meetings, statehouses and in the streets: They’re being paid to protest.

Thanks to a rising trend among tech companies and some Bay Area firms, some, in fact, may be.

Since the beginning of the year, an increasing number of companies have unveiled policies that allow employees to take paid time off work for political or civic activities, such as protesting, canvassing, voting, volunteering or even running for office.

Big corporations like Comcast and outdoor-apparel maker Patagonia have been offering social-justice benefits to their employees for years. But several executives said the election of President Trump, and the backlash that followed, turned them on to the idea of giving their employees time off to express themselves politically. …

Click here to read the full article

Texas governor signs ban on so-called ‘sanctuary cities’

As reported by the Associated Press:

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday night signed what he calls a ban on so-called “sanctuary cities” that allows police to ask about a person’s immigration status and threatens sheriffs with jail if they don’t cooperate with federal authorities. He did so over intense opposition from immigrant-rights groups and Democrats, who say the law echoes Arizona’s immigration crackdown in 2010 that prompted national controversy and lawsuits.

Abbott, a Republican in his first term, took the unusual step of signing the bill on Facebook with no public notice in advance. He said Texas residents expect lawmakers to “keep us safe” and said similar laws have already been tested in federal court, where opponents have said the bill likely will be immediately challenged.

“Let’s face it, the reason why so many people come to America is because we are a nation of laws and Texas is doing its part to keep it that way,” Abbott said. His spokesman, John Wittman, later said they chose to sign the bill on a Facebook livestream because that’s “where most people are getting their news nowadays.”

The bill cleared a final hurdle this week in the Republican-controlled Legislature over objections from Democrats and immigrant rights supporters who’ve packed the Texas Capitol. They call it a “show-me-your-papers” measure that will be used to discriminate against Latinos. …

Click here to read the full article

 

$84,000 a year now qualifies as low income in Orange County

As reported by the Orange County Register:

A family of four with an annual income of $84,450 or less now qualifies as low income in Orange County.

A single person living alone qualifies as low income if he or she earns $58,450 or less a year.

Orange County has the fifth-highest income threshold in the nation, according to new income limits released last month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Government and private agencies use HUD’s income calculations to determine eligibility for a wide variety of assistance programs, ranging from rent subsidy vouchers and public housing to mortgage assistance. While low-income families qualify for some programs, others are limited to households earning far less, with limits as low as $31,300 for a family of four.

Record-high rents and home prices are driving up Southern California income limits. Orange County apartment rents, for example, increased 20 percent over the past seven years, while the median sale price of an Orange County house has jumped 40 percent. …

Click here to read the full article