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December 4, 2013 | By David Lazarus
S.C. purchased a used Jeep from a Torrance dealer. It had about 50,000 miles on it. Five weeks and 4,000 miles of driving later, the Jeep developed transmission problems -- a major and costly repair. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions S.C. returned to the dealer, saying he didn't think he should be facing such a serious fix so soon after buying the vehicle. The dealer disagreed. Does California's "Lemon Law" apply in such cases? And what should S.C. do?
November 20, 2013 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON -- California's egg law has emerged as a contentious issue in congressional negotiations over a farm bill. The Humane Society has funded a $100,000 ad campaign to defeat federal legislation that would prevent California from requiring that eggs imported into the state be produced under standards that give hens enough room to spread their wings. The Humane Society Legislative Fund is running online ads in the states of nearly a dozen House-Senate negotiators. The ads do not mention the California law but show an image of a shopper in a grocery store and warn that a "dangerous federal overreach" threatens state laws that protect animals and the food supply.
October 31, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Declining to have a child immunized may become more difficult for Californians in 2014. Last year Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2109, which requires parents and a licensed healthcare practitioner to sign a form before a child can be exempted from getting required vaccinations because of personal beliefs. On Wednesday, the state's Department of Public Health made the new Personal Belief Exemption form available. By completing the single-page document, a parent or guardian vouches that the the parent has received from a health practitioner information about the benefits and the risks of immunizations -- or that religious beliefs prohibit seeing an authorized practitioner.
October 15, 2013 | By Cindy Chang
Sarait Escorza is getting a taste of what being an immigration lawyer is like. For the last few months, she has helped advise young immigrants like herself, who crossed the border illegally or overstayed their visas. The hardest part, she said, is telling some clients that there is no immediate solution. Escorza is one of nine legal trainees at Educators for Fair Consideration in San Francisco. Most grew up without legal status and plan to become attorneys, a goal that became less quixotic this month when California became the first state to allow immigrants who are in the country illegally to practice law. The training program began in 2009 on the theory that the aspiring attorneys would benefit from being exposed to immigration law even if they ultimately could not be admitted to the bar. "Their whole lives, being undocumented they faced a lot of obstacles, and none was able to stop them," said Jazmin Segura, Educators for Fair Consideration's communications director.
October 9, 2013 | Robin Abcarian
At a time when so many states are chipping away at reproductive rights, making it nearly impossible for women to exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, how refreshing to see California standing up for women's rights. On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that gives some medical professionals who are not doctors the right to perform early abortions. The bill, introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Toni Atkins of San Diego, followed a years-long pilot program involving more than 11,000 women who underwent first-trimester abortions.
October 3, 2013 | By Melanie Mason and Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown approved a change Thursday to the state's drug trafficking law that could ease penalties for those caught with drugs meant for personal use. The measure, by Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), redefines "transporting" narcotics to explicitly mean transportation for sale. Prosecutors will have to prove that a person caught with drugs meant to sell them in order to charge them with trafficking, which is a felony. "Too many people are getting caught up in the prison system with nothing more than a small amount of drugs for personal use," Bradford said in a statement.
October 2, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy and Anthony York
Those who engage in "revenge porn" -- humiliating ex-romantic partners online -- now face jail time and fines under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Under the bill by Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), those convicted of illegally distributing private images with the intent to harass or annoy face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Cannella contended that without the law, authorities have had "no tools to combat revenge porn or cyber-revenge.” Electronically distributing or posting nude pictures of an ex-romantic partner on the Internet after a breakup to shame the person in public is, he said, “destroying people's lives.” The bill that Brown signed into law on Tuesday, SB 255, takes effect immediately.
October 2, 2013 | By Lee Romney
SAN FRANCISCO - Sandwiched between rows of homes in the fog-kissed Mission Terrace neighborhood, Little City Gardens provides salad greens and fresh-cut flowers to local restaurants from what was once a weedy vacant lot. Like many of California's urban agriculture practitioners, however, Caitlyn Galloway is plagued by a key uncertainty: She is on a month-to-month lease with a landlord who must recoup the lot's steep property taxes and may soon...
September 13, 2013 | By Martha Groves and Matt Stevens
The California Department of Food and Agriculture on Friday issued notices of violation to two Orthodox Jewish groups that were slaughtering chickens in the Pico-Robertson area as part of an ancient atonement ritual. The action was taken after animal rights activists and some faith leaders protested the practice, known as kaparot , throughout the Jewish High Holy Days, saying it was inhumane. A state investigator determined that the facilities were slaughterhouses operating without licenses, in violation of law, said Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the state Department of Food and Agriculture.
September 12, 2013 | David Lazarus
CVS Caremark insists that it's just complying with federal law by informing customers that their medical information could be "redisclosed" if they sign up for the company's prescription-drug reward program. Privacy experts, though, question whether CVS is complying with state law. "California's privacy law is stricter than federal law," said Charles Googooian, a La Canada Flintridge lawyer who specializes in medical-privacy issues. "It doesn't seem like CVS is complying with either the spirit or the letter of state law. " CVS has been scrambling to defend its ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program since I recently reported that customers are being required to give up important federal privacy safeguards in return for up to $50 a year in store credits.
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