May 6, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - A "Made in USA" label has long been seen as an advantage in marketing a product. Now there are in-state manufacturers that want to see the adoption of an official label that declares Made in California. State Sen. Ellen M. Corbett (D-San Leandro) has introduced legislation to require Go-Biz, the governor's business development office, to come up with a plan - including the new label - to promote California-manufactured products. The bill, now before the Senate Appropriations Committee, would enhance California's reputation for making environmentally safe and energy efficient products, Corbett said.
May 5, 2013 |
Supporters of a measure that would have expanded background checks for firearm purchases decried the bill's death in the Senate last month. But was the defeat really such a bad thing? Had it passed, the new law would have been hailed as a historic breakthrough by "anti-gun" forces and a historic mistake by "pro-gun" forces. But on the ground, where American citizens are being shot and killed every day, nothing much would have changed. That's the way things have gone for decades in the grinding American culture war over guns.
May 3, 2013 |
Silicon Valley has wielded its growing political clout at the state Capitol to kill a digital privacy bill that would have given consumers access to information about them being collected online. Had the Right to Know Act become law, California would have been the first state to take direct aim at an online industry that stockpiles and trades in a wide range of personal data about nearly every adult in the United States. In a major defeat for consumer groups and privacy watchdogs, AB 1291 will instead become a two-year bill, effectively putting it into a deep freeze until next year.
May 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama nominated Democratic Rep. Mel Watt to be the top regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, moving to replace a career bureaucrat who has been sharply criticized by liberals for not doing more to help troubled homeowners. But confirmation of Watt, a 20-year congressman from North Carolina, to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency is expected to be blocked by Senate Republicans. And the fight over the nomination could make it even more difficult for Republicans and Democrats to come together on legislation to overhaul the housing finance system and replace taxpayer-owned Fannie and Freddie.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 2013 |
A pared-down bill that would send sex offenders who repeatedly remove their GPS tracking devices back to state prison cleared its first legislative committee Tuesday, making progress where broader measures failed. In a deal struck with Democratic leaders who seek to protect Gov. Jerry Brown's prison realignment plan, Sen. Ted Lieu amended his GPS-tampering bill to make first offenses punishable by a mandatory 180 days in county jail, the maximum penalty currently on the books. Second offenses would require a year in county jail, and on the third offense, the parolee would be required to be returned to prison.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 29, 2013 |
California's bullet train agency is facing a series of new regulatory and political problems that could jeopardize its July construction kickoff, which already has been delayed more than six months. The new challenges are coming from a private railroad that controls a key right of way, a legislative committee delving into contracting issues and a powerful federal agency asserting authority over the project. The rail agency is beginning to make purchase offers for land around Fresno and says it still plans to start building this summer.
April 28, 2013 |
Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced legislation last month that would allow Israel to continue racially profiling Americans of Arab and Muslim heritage who travel to Israel, even as it confers new privileges on Israelis traveling to the United States. I wonder whether she understands what it's like for her Arab American constituents to enter Israel. I always bet myself how long it will take for Ben Gurion Airport's security screeners to detect my heritage. My given names are European, and my family name is an unusual pluralization of a common Arab name that sometimes throws even Arabic speakers.
April 26, 2013 |
The last time Manuel Cardenas fell ill, the 24-year-old single father had no choice but to report for work. His employer, a security contractor, doesn't offer sick pay to part-timers like Cardenas, he said, and he can't afford to lose a day's wages. "I probably shouldn't have, but I had to," said Cardenas, a security guard in San Jose. He is among California workers for whom labor groups and others are fighting to secure paid sick leave. Currently, 4.5 million workers in California, about 40% of the state's workforce, don't have sick-pay benefits.
April 26, 2013 |
The time has come to put the Medical Board of California out of its misery. The board oversees the licensing of doctors and their discipline for misdeeds or incompetence. It also has jurisdiction over doctor-owned surgical clinics. Long ago the board acquired the reputation of being one of the least effective regulatory bodies in Sacramento. But evidence has mounted that it's worse: It's a danger to the community. Because of its ineffectiveness in a variety of spheres, patients have died.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 2013 |
The Medical Board of California would be stripped of its power to investigate physician misconduct under a sweeping reform plan by legislators who say the agency has struggled to hold problem doctors accountable. The medical board has come under fire for failing to discipline doctors accused of harming patients, particularly those suspected of recklessly prescribing drugs. Under the proposed legislation, amended Thursday, investigations of doctors would be handled by the California attorney general, leaving the board to deal mostly with licensing doctors.