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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 12, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) decided Thursday to shelve for the year his proposal to eliminate the tax-exempt status of nonprofit groups such as the Boy Scouts of America that do not allow gay members. Lara had won Senate approval of the bill, which would have affected state taxes only, even after the Boy Scouts decided to allow openly gay boys to become scouts. But he pursued the measure because the scouts national council did not lift its ban on gays serving as adult leaders.
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BUSINESS
September 12, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - A bill that would boost California's minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016 won approval by the state Legislature on Thursday and was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, who said he would sign it. The measure would raise the current $8 minimum wage to $9 an hour next July 1 and to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. The 25% increase would be the first minimum-wage hike in California in five years and would put extra money in the pockets of an estimated 2.4 million Californians. "This is the time to raise the minimum wage to provide relief for hard-working families," said the bill's author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville)
BUSINESS
September 11, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - A heavily lobbied bill that would give California the nation's toughest regulation of a controversial oil drilling technique won easy passage Wednesday from the Legislature. The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who said Wednesday that he would sign it into law. At issue is the practice of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking. It is a process that involves injecting mixtures of sand, water and chemicals to free oil and natural gas trapped deep underground in shale formations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- A prominent government affairs firm and its high-profile employees have agreed to pay $40,500 in in fines for failing to register the workers as lobbyists. The fines will be paid by California Strategies LLC and Jason Kinney, former lawmaker Rusty Areias and Winston Hickox, who are partners in the firm. The state Fair Political Practices Commission investigators concluded that Kinney, Areias and Hickox qualified as lobbyists but failed to register with the state and disclose their lobbying activities.
BUSINESS
September 6, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher and Ken Bensinger
SACRAMENTO - An effort by the National Football League and owners of other professional sports teams to limit workers' compensation claims by out-of-state athletes is close to final passage in the California Legislature. The measure cleared the state Senate on Friday on a 34-2 vote. In May, it passed the Assembly, 61-4. The latest version of the bill is expected to win final passage next week in the Assembly and be on the governor's desk shortly after the scheduled Sept. 13 legislative recess.
BUSINESS
September 6, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- An effort by the National Football League and owners of other professional sports teams to limit workers' compensation claims by out-of-state athletes is close to final passage in the California Legislature. The measure cleared the state Senate on Friday on a 34-2 vote. In May, it passed the Assembly on a 61-4 tally. The 10 most dangerous jobs The proposal is expected to win final passage next week in the Assembly and to be on the governor's desk shortly after the scheduled Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 27, 2013 | By Jason Wells, Samantha Schaefer and Diana Marcum
The cost of fighting the massive Rim fire - which on Tuesday became the seventh-largest wildfire in California's recorded history - has topped a reported $27 million. That means the fire, which on Tuesday grew to roughly 280 square miles, has burned through 15% of the $172 million the California Legislature set aside for the wildfire season. And with the Rim fire just 20% contained, the $27-million price tag reported by the San Jose Mercury News was sure to go higher. More than 3,700 personnel had been assigned to fight the blaze, along with six air tankers and more than a dozen water-dropping helicopters, according to Dick Fleishman, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 27, 2013 | By Maura Dolan
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court refused Tuesday to block a state law that bars possession, sale and distribution of shark fins ,  which are considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals let stand a decision by a district judge refusing to issue a preliminary injunction against the ban, which became effective in January. San Francisco's Chinatown Neighborhood Assn. and Asian Americans for Political Advancement  challenged the law on the grounds that it discriminated against Chinese Americans and hurt commerce.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 19, 2013 | By Anthony York
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - As political leaders from California and Nevada gathered on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe to discuss ways to protect it, environmentalists protested that a bill in California could reverse nearly two decades of environmental improvements. The measure before the Legislature would codify an agreement reached last year between the two states' leaders to limit the powers of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which sets environmental rules for development on both the California and Nevada sides of the lake.
OPINION
August 13, 2013 | By Nora Freeman Engstrom and Robert L. Rabin
For decades, advocates of tort reform have pushed to limit the amount that courts can award for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. The California Legislature first capped this type of damages in medical malpractice lawsuits in 1975, and roughly half the states have followed California's lead. This summer, however, nearly 40 years after California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act first limited noneconomic damages in malpractice cases to $250,000, trial lawyers and consumer groups have unveiled a ballot initiative that would relax the cap considerably.
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