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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 | By David Zahniser
The L.A. City Council is expected vote Tuesday on a proposal to treat e-cigarettes like conventional cigarettes and prohibit them in nearly every workplace and many outdoor spaces. Lobbyists for the e-cigarette industry have been pushing back, and want to secure exemptions for establishments where "vaping" -- taking a drag of flavored nicotine vapor from an e-cigarette -- is increasingly popular. Backers of the battery-powered e-cigarettes portray them as a godsend for those looking to quit conventional smoking.
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NEWS
February 27, 2014 | By Cathleen Decker
In its swiftness and brute force, Republican opposition to the Arizona measure that would have bolstered the right to deny services to gays sent one message to GOP Gov. Jan Brewer: Veto it. And it sent another to everyone else in the Republican Party: Keep your eyes on the ball. On the cusp of what the GOP hopes will be a November takeover of both houses of Congress, and the start of a 2016 presidential contest that it hopes will end with the White House in its embrace, party leaders appear to have shifted strategy: Instead of ignoring deviations from Republicans' strong suit, they will try to quash them.
NATIONAL
February 24, 2014 | By Cindy Carcamo
TUCSON - Three Republicans who supported a bill bolstering the rights of business owners to refuse service to gays and others on the basis of religion reversed course Monday and asked the governor to veto the controversial measure. Republican state Sens. Adam Driggs, Steve Pierce and Bob Worsley wrote a letter to Gov. Jan Brewer pleading for her to reject SB 1062. The measure is intended to support business owners who refuse service to gays and others because they believe serving them violates the practice and observance of their religion.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO -- A measure to block California's transgender students rights law failed to qualify for the November ballot Monday, according to the secretary of state's office. The referendum would have repealed a law passed last year that requires school districts to let transgender students participate in school programs and use school facilities, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, based on their gender identity instead of their biological sex.  The measure was backed by a coalition called Privacy for All Students.
BUSINESS
February 23, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - California farmers markets want to get tough with interlopers who don't sell what they grow. They're backing a bill to crack down on vendors who falsely claim to offer pesticide-free or locally grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. "Californians are fortunate to have the highest concentration of farmers markets in the nation," said the bill's author, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento). The bill, AB 1871, he said, would "increase consumer protections and accountability at our certified farmers markets, protect local farmers and help this growing sector of the economy continue to thrive.
NATIONAL
February 21, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian
After a spate of high-profile accidents, the railroad industry agreed with government regulators Friday to reduce speeds on trains carrying crude, conduct more frequent track inspections and improve braking by July. The measures come on top of an effort by the Department of Transportation to upgrade tank car safety and an emergency order last year to tighten operating procedures on trains that can haul about 100 tank cars at a time across long stretches. The response comes after a handful of major North American crashes of oil trains that set off fires and explosions, the worst one killing 47 people in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada, last summer.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO-The Assembly approved a measure Thursday that would ramp up disclosure requirements for nonprofit groups and other organizations that spend money in California campaigns, a response to a infamous multimillion-dollar anonymous donation in 2012. The measure, by Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) would establish thresholds under which organizations would have to disclose their donors, such as when an organization receives $1,000 or more from donors for the purpose of making expenditures or contributions.
WORLD
February 20, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko
KIEV, Ukraine - The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday passed a measure calling for a halt to a day-old "anti-terrorism operation" and ordering all law enforcement officers to cease fire and return to their barracks, the UNIAN news service reported. If the steps are carried out, they could ease the political crisis that has cost scores of lives this week in clashes between protesters and security forces in Kiev, the capital. Even if the move is not successful, the ability of opposition lawmakers to push through the measure in a parliament dominated by the ruling Party of Regions was widely seen by them and many others as an important victory for their cause.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - A protracted political battle over California's medical malpractice law may be coming to a new front: the voting booth. For decades, trial lawyers and consumer groups have railed against limits on certain damages in malpractice cases, arguing that such restrictions deny victims fair compensation for grisly medical mistakes. Insurance companies, doctors and other healthcare providers have been equally vigorous in defending the law, saying it is crucial to controlling costs and maintaining the availability of care.
NEWS
February 13, 2014 | By Amy Hubbard
Money worries are killing romance right when we need it, on Valentine's Day. The holiday means pricey dinners and sparkly gifts, an outlay of cash -- and added financial stress -- for many Americans. For those wanting to add some romantic sizzle, money worries are a cold shower. PHOTOS: For Valentine's Day, monogamous animals A recent survey shows money-related stress may be snuffing out sexual desire.  A majority of Americans surveyed in the Harris poll, conducted for financial data company Yodlee , thought about money more often than sex -- 62% of those 18 and older.
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