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May 30, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- A proposal to ban single-use plastic grocery bags in California is dead for the year after it failed to win passage by a deadline in the state Senate on Thursday. It was the third time since 2010 that such a bill has stalled in the Legislature amid heavy lobbying by the plastics industry. The measure by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) would have banned the bags from large retailers in 2015 and from smaller stores in 2016. Stores would have been able to sell recyclable paper bags and reusable plastic or cloth grocery bags to customers.
January 12, 2013 | By Tina Susman
New York's governor declared a state health emergency Saturday because of a flu epidemic that has sickened more than 19,000 people, giving pharmacists the right to immunize infants and children in hopes of curbing the spread of the potentially lethal virus. Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order, pharmacists for at least the next 30 days will be able to give flu shots to children as young as 6 months, a break from state law that usually limits them to immunizing those 18 years and older.
October 31, 2012 | By Michael McGough
Civil libertarians are upbeat after an argument in the Supreme Court this week over whether lawyers, activists and academics can challenge the constitutionality of a law authorizing the wiretapping of potential terrorists abroad -- who may be conversing or swapping emails with Americans. The plaintiffs, who carry on confidential conversations with foreign clients and sources, say the law chills them in the exercise of their rights. As is often the case, the civil liberties groups are pinning their hopes on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who has voted with liberals on the court in previous cases arising from the war on terrorism.  Kennedy seemed receptive to the plaintiffs' argument that they have standing to sue because they fear that their confidential conversations with sources and clients are being monitored.   “I think the lawyer would engage in malpractice if he talked on the telephone with some of these clients, given this statute,” Kennedy told Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.
January 22, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - So the state of the state's governor is static - at least until he is safely reelected. Until the election year blows over, Gov. Jerry Brown is stationary - in a crouch, protecting himself politically, satisfied with the status quo. In his 30th year in elective office - 12th as governor, after failing in three bids for the presidency and one for the U.S. Senate, and growing up watching his politician father - Brown is instinctively cautious...
June 15, 2012 | By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO — The state's ethics agency is investigating whether state Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) violated conflict-of-interest laws when her office placed phone calls to California prison officials about the status of a financial claim her husband's company had filed. The inquiry was disclosed in a written notice to Walters' attorney by Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement for the state Fair Political Practices Commission. He wrote that his office "will be pursuing an investigation regarding whether or not Sen. Walters violated the Political Reform Act's conflict-of-interest prohibitions.
May 29, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Former state Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg can't get enough of Sacramento. Eleven years after he left the Assembly, Hertzberg said Wednesday that he has decided to run for a state Senate seat being vacated in 2014  by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) because of term limits. Hertzberg, a Democrat from the San Fernando Valley who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Los Angeles in 2005, has stayed active in state policy issues.  He has worked with groups including California Forward and the Think Long Committee for California to improve state government, supporting changes including open primary elections and allowing the budget to be approved by majority vote rather than a two-thirds tally.
February 15, 2013 | By Evan Halper
SACRAMENTO -- Here is how one attorney's website explains California code section 11361.5 to pot smokers: “When was the last time that you read about the law and said, 'that's awesome?'” What might be awesome to that particular group is that after two years it wipes clean any record they have of being arrested, charged and convicted for the position or transport of marijuana in California, provided the amount is less than 28.5 grams and they keep their record clean in the meantime.
October 14, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez and Marc Lifsher
The California Assembly plans to hold a hearing as early as next month to probe the causes of a snafu at the Employment Development Department that caused tens of thousands of unemployment claim payments to be delayed. Assemblyman Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno), who chairs the Assembly Insurance Committee, which oversees the unemployment insurance program, said Monday in an interview with The Times that his committee plans a postmortem on computer problems that have plagued the EDD. A hearing is tentatively set for November or December, Perea said.
January 15, 2011 | Tom Petruno, Market Beat
Dateline Sacramento, Jan. 5, 2012: The state of California today filed for federal bankruptcy protection, citing a worsened economy that has blown out even the most pessimistic assumptions about its long-term financial picture. Would that be a nightmare come true ? or the only logical way out of the state's deep fiscal crisis? For now the question is purely academic because federal law doesn't allow states to file for bankruptcy. But that could change if some conservative factions prevail in Washington.
April 18, 2013 | By Michael Muskal and Molly Hennessy-Fiske
BOSTON -- Amid heightened security and facing a packed audience, President Obama on Thursday urged this city and nation to put aside its fears and tragedies and reclaim the spirit and grace that had been disrupted by terrorist bombs. The crowd, including civic and political dignitaries and some of the runners and families caught in the twin blasts at the finish line of Monday's Boston Marathon, looked on as Obama stepped to the lectern at Boston's famed Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Cross for an interfaith service.
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