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August 30, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
As their session draws to a close, California lawmakers are poised to approve at least two hotly disputed measures that could slow the growth of healthcare costs. One would allow nurses with advanced training to deliver more medical care, and another would open the door to less-expensive versions of pricey biologic drugs. Although the nursing bill was weakened in the face of opposition from doctors, it's still an important step in the right direction. The biologic drug measure, on the other hand, strays off course.
August 28, 2013 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - Improved government accountability and transparency were the focus of several bills that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Wednesday. One directs the Department of Finance to guide monitors of state agencies to ensure they are independent and objective in scrutinizing agency operations. State agencies have been required to have independent monitors keeping an eye on accounting and administrative practices since 2011. Assembly member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) said his bill, AB 117, would help flesh out the role such monitors play.
August 28, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
As hospitals race to offer the latest in high-tech care, a major California health insurer is pushing back and refusing to pay for some of the more expensive and controversial cancer treatments. Blue Shield of California is taking on this high-cost radiation treatment just as Scripps Health in San Diego prepares to open a gleaming, $230-million proton beam therapy center this fall, only the second one in California and the 12th nationwide. This week, Blue Shield began notifying doctors statewide of its new policy for early-stage prostate cancer patients, effective in October.
August 22, 2013 | By Jeffrey Fleishman
CAIRO - As supporters cheered former President Hosni Mubarak's release from prison, Egypt's military-backed government pressed ahead with its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, taking steps to ban religious movements from forming political parties and weaken the influence of Islamic law on the constitution. The release of Mubarak on Thursday suggested that remnants of the police state he built during his 30 years in power were resurfacing two years after the autocrat was ousted in the "Arab Spring" uprising.
August 20, 2013 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- To the consternation of some environmentalists, the U.S. Navy has rejected a call by the California Coastal Commission to curtail use of sonar and underwater explosives during training. In March, the commission voted unanimously that the Navy's assertions that its training does not harm marine mammals was not supported by scientific evidence. The commission wants the Navy to declare some coastal areas to be off-limits for training. But the Navy disagreed with the commission in a letter to the commission's manager for energy, ocean resources, and federal consistency.
August 14, 2013 | By Jill Cowan
The Newport Beach City Council voted Tuesday to move ahead with an ordinance that would create a 300-foot "buffer zone" to keep pickets away from a targeted individual's home. The 6-0 decision followed a recent nighttime demonstration during which abortion protesters targeted the residence of a doctor, writing slurs in chalk in front of the house and generally frightening residents. While council members said they understood the need to protect free speech, they felt that the rule would ensure that residents could find peace and privacy in their homes.
August 13, 2013 | By Scott Glover
A bill aimed at beefing up California's prescription drug monitoring system so that it can be better used to track drug abusing patients and recklessly prescribing physicians emerged from an Assembly committee Monday on a unanimous vote. The bill by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord),  which was backed by Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, was approved 14 to 0 by members of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection. The bill is next scheduled for consideration by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
August 10, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Larry David, who is on a break from his series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" - permanent or not, he will let you know - returns to HBO on Saturday with a full-on movie-type movie, "Clear History," in which he plays not his usual fictionalized self but an entirely different character, albeit one composed of all the old familiar tics. The obsessions are here, as is the self-obsession. At the beginning of the film, set a decade before the main body of the action, he sports a full head of long hair and a long beard, which make him look, possibly not by coincidence, like "Curb" director and "Seinfeld" writer Larry Charles.
August 6, 2013 | Steve Lopez
Eggplant gardens, at least for now, are officially protected in Los Angeles. Mayor Eric Garcetti told me Tuesday that he has instructed city staff to "cool their jets" after learning from this column about two citizens who'd been ordered to remove vegetable gardens from curbside strips. Meanwhile, City Council President Herb Wesson introduced a motion Tuesday to "immediately suspend enforcement of Municipal Code Section 56.08(e) in those cases where parkways are being occupied by vegetable gardens....
August 3, 2013 | Steve Lopez
In a rare but perhaps fleeting triumph of clear-headed thinking at Los Angeles City Hall, high-level officials have rescinded a citation issued to a South L.A. family for the crime of planting squash in their frontyard. On the evening of my Wednesday column about Angel and Carl Teger's vegetable garden, two members of City Councilman Bernard Parks' staff visited the scene of the crime and reported back to their boss. Parks then fired off a letter to Ron Lorenzen, assistant chief of the city's Bureau of Urban Forestry.
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