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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)
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 12, 2013 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- California lawmakers enter the legislative home stretch Thursday, with plenty of work still to be done in the final day before the Legislature adjourns for the year. There was a blizzard of action in the Capitol on Wednesday, with measures to ease prison overcrowding, further restrict firearms and regulate fracking, the controversial oil-extraction method, all clearing the Legislature.  But lawmakers still have a lot left on their plate when the action starts at 10 a.m.  They'll consider a bill that would raise the state's minimum wage to $10 per hour by January 2016.
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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