CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 |
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.
February 12, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The White House has released guidelines aimed at prodding companies that run some of the nation's most essential services such as utilities, cellphone towers and banks to better protect themselves from cyberattacks. Officials said the guidelines, developed under an executive order that President Obama signed a year ago, provide companies overseeing the nation's crucial infrastructure with a blueprint for identifying potential threats, protecting themselves from cyberattacks and, if an attack occurs, recovering from it. But the voluntary nature of the guidelines showed how sharply proponents of strong regulation have scaled back their ambitions - and even their language - in the face of industry opposition to government intervention.
February 11, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives approved legislation Tuesday to extend the nation's borrowing capacity for another year, lifting the threat of government default and ending - for now - three years of partisan fiscal battles. House Republican leaders rushed the measure to the floor after their fractious majority failed to agree on what, if any, conditions it would try to attach to the must-pass legislation. In the end they submitted a bill with no strings, leaving it to the chamber's Democratic minority to provide most of the votes for passage.
February 9, 2014 |
If lawmakers could send voters a November bond measure that would guarantee 150 inches of winter snow in the Sierra every year, Californians would certainly pass it, even if it cost a few billion dollars. The snowpack feeds the reservoirs and aqueducts that slake the thirst of Northern and Southern California, water the crops that power the economy in the Central Valley, and sustain the state's essential but sensitive heart and lungs in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. But our state senators and Assembly members can't write such a bond, so they're instead reworking a 2010 water measure that they keep polishing but pulling off the ballot in the quite reasonable belief that voters weathering a deep recession would reject a package larded with spending for pet projects.
February 9, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO - California's minimum wage is pegged to go up $1 an hour to $9 on July 1 and by another buck in 2016. But that isn't high enough or fast enough for Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley software entrepreneur who has dabbled in state politics over the years. The 52-year-old multimillionaire hopes to put a measure on the November ballot raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour March 1, 2015, and to $12 a year later. Unz said he's confident he will get the needed signatures of 504,760 registered voters by the June deadline.
February 4, 2014 |
A disturbing new law in Nigeria establishes sweeping restrictions on homosexuality and has already led to dozens of arrests. Even before the law went into effect, it was illegal to engage in same-sex relations. But the new law goes further, prohibiting civil unions and same-sex marriages and threatening to slap a 10-year prison sentence on anyone who officiates at such a marriage. The law bans public displays of affection between people of the same sex, outlaws gay support organizations and makes it illegal for gay groups to meet.