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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 6, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
A legislative panel  has ordered an audit into complaints that voter-approved funds are not being fairly distributed throughout Los Angeles County to provide trauma centers and emergency room services. The state's Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved the review of how funds from 2002's Measure B are being spent. The report by state Auditor Elaine Howle was requested by Assemblyman Roger Hernández (D-West Covina), who called the panel's decision a “victory for taxpayers”  throughout L.A. County.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 4, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy, Anthony York and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - FBI agents searched offices in the Capitol on Tuesday - the first such raid in 25 years - serving warrants and carting away evidence in what law enforcement officials said was a corruption probe that began in Los Angeles County. As the agents combed the offices of state Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) and the Latino Legislative Caucus into the evening, a federal law enforcement source said Calderon, a member of the caucus, was "the focus of the investigation.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Lawmakers on Monday moved to roll back state open-government rules, passing a measure that would allow the public to be excluded from certain gatherings including the governor and county officials.   The measure, which the state Senate on Monday sent to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for a signature, comes in reaction to a legal opinion by a county prosecutor that a private 2011 meeting between Brown and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors violated government transparency laws.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
This being California, Hollywood celebrities sometimes jump into battles over state legislation in Sacramento. Last week, a group of singers and actors went up against the plastics industry over a bill that would have banned single-use plastic grocery bags from California stores. “I've been bombarded by phone calls by folks who live in Malibu and stars who live in Hollywood," Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) told colleagues during the floor debate. An aide to the senator said he was contacted in support of the bill by entertainers including singers Bonnie Raitt, Bette Midler and Jackson Browne, and actress Rita Wilson, the wife of Tom Hanks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 3, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Still recovering from last year's financial scandal, state parks officials said Monday they are creating a Parks Forward Commission to find ways to put the system on more solid footing, including a possible expansion of partnerships with private groups that can help keep parks open. The 12-member panel is to be appointed by California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird, who said he wants it to conduct a “top-to-bottom evaluation” of parks operations during the next 18 months.
OPINION
June 3, 2013 | By David Margolius
As the saying goes, "With great power comes great responsibility. " That applies to physicians when prescribing medications, but it also should apply to pharmacies when they're dispensing medications. In December, after seven years of exams, lectures and rounds, I received my medical license. Finally, I had the power to prescribe medications without the co-signature of my supervisor. "Be careful," she advised, "remember the story of 'once.'" The story of "once" is a cautionary tale that - best as I am able to tell from Google - was adapted from a Spanish soap opera.
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.
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.
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