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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2013 | By Los Angeles Times Staff
No matter how budget negotiations pan out this year, Gov. Jerry Brown is likely to win a legacy-building victory. In his Monday column , George Skelton says the governor is successfully pushing to redistribute state education funding to help students in needier schools. Although his plan may be tweaked in the Legislature, it's moving forward. "It's an example of landmark legislating with one-party rule," Skelton writes. "The governor pretty much gets his way while being restrained by the Legislature, led by fellow Democrats.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 31, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Condoms could become harder to introduce as evidence in prostitution cases under legislation approved by the Assembly on Friday. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), would require prosecutors to show a judge that the presence of condoms is relevant to the case before they can be discussed during a trial. The proposal (AB 336) now goes to the state Senate. Ammiano originally wanted to completely ban the use of condoms as evidence in prostitution cases, saying he didn't want fear of prosecution to prevent people from taking steps to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases.
SCIENCE
May 31, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun
The California Assembly on Thursday approved legislation to protect bobcats from unlimited commercial trapping. The bill, AB 1213, was introduced by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) in response to the recent discovery of bobcat traps set along the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park. The price a trapper can get for a bobcat pelt has risen from about $78 in 2009 to more than $700 today. As a result, trapping of bobcats statewide has skyrocketed. In the region that includes Joshua Tree National Park, bobcat trapping increased more than 800% over the last two years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 31, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Lone motorists would be able to use car-pool lanes during off-peak hours on some of Los Angeles County's most congested freeways under legislation approved by the state Assembly. The measure would allow single-occupant vehicles to use high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes after rush hours on certain stretches of the 134, 210 and other freeways in Los Angeles County deemed appropriate by the Department of Transportation.  The Assembly voted 72-0 on Thursday to send the bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 31, 2013 | By Scott Glover and Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times
The state Senate on Thursday unanimously passed the last bill in a broad package of proposed reforms aimed at combating prescription drug abuse and mounting overdose deaths in California. The bills, inspired by a series of investigative stories in The Times, would help authorities track drug abusing patients as well as doctors who overprescribe painkillers and other addictive narcotics. One bill would give the state medical board the power to immediately suspend the prescribing privileges of doctors suspected of putting patients at risk.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 30, 2013 | By Lisa Girion
The California Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday that would significantly enhance a prescription-monitoring program aimed at curbing drug abuse and overdose deaths. The bill passed after sponsors made concessions to overcome pharmaceutical industry opposition. It was the last piece of a broad package of proposals approved by the Senate this week that were introduced in response to a series of Los Angeles Times articles linking doctors to patient overdose deaths. A Times analysis found that 71 physicians prescribed medications to three or more patients who died of drug-related causes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 30, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
A package of three bills aimed at requiring greater disclosure of political campaign finances in California has been approved by the state Senate. One of the measures passed Wednesday would give the state Fair Political Practices Commission the authority to perform additional audits of campaign funds and would increase fines for violations of disclosure laws. SB 2 also would require television and radio commercials approved by candidates to include a disclosure of that approval. Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 29, 2013
In its proposed budget, the state Senate wants more funding for mental health programs, dental care for poor adults and career training for high school students. The Assembly wants to increase welfare grants, expand child-care programs and reduce costs for college students. Neither wish list matches Gov. Jerry Brown's $96.4-billion budget proposal, which is almost $2 billion smaller and relies on a more pessimistic view of California's economy. The lawmakers have less than three weeks to reconcile their differences; state law requires them to pass a budget by June 15. The governor has until the end of June to sign a spending plan into law. Join us at 9 a.m. as we discuss the give and take ahead for state lawmakers with Times reporter Christopher Megerian.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 29, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
The state Senate approved legislation Wednesday that would strip tax-exempt status from nonprofit groups including the Boy Scouts of America that deny participation of people based on sexual orientation or religion Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said he was glad the Boy Scouts' national council recently decided to allow openly gay minors to serve as Scouts, but said it was unacceptable that the organization did not also lift its ban on adult leaders who are gay. “We've given the Boy Scouts ample time to solve their discrimination problem and they have chosen a path that still leads to discrimination,” Lara told his colleagues.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 29, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
The California Senate on Wednesday approved a package of seven gun control bills, including background checks for people who buy ammunition, introduced in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The shooting deaths in December of 20 children and six adults in Newtown as well as mass shootings in Colorado and Arizona, spurred Democratic legislators in California to look for ways to tighten the state's gun laws, which are already some of the toughest in the nation.
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