Posts Tagged: law

News

California inconsistently enforces hospital privacy laws

An elderly patient in a wheelchair receiving care at a California hospital. (Photo: bikeriderlondon, via shutterstock)

In 2008, outraged by a string of snooping incidents involving celebrities’ medical records, California legislators passed a groundbreaking law that compelled hospitals to quickly report patient privacy breaches and gave the state power to levy fines for such violations. But a ProPublica analysis of state data shows enforcement has been inconsistent.

News

Motor voter: An electorate in flux

As rush hour approaches, traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge. (Photo: Frontpage)

To political experts up and down California, California’s new Motor Voter law is a question mark that likely will involve rethinking some practices and require a great deal of new effort. To Democrats, it’s the long-overdue removal of a barricade to full participation in California’s civic life. To Republicans, it poses a danger that a flood of illegal immigrants will start participating in political decision-making.

News

Governor signs end-of-life bill

Debbie Ziegler, mother of Brittany Maynard, speaks to the media in Sacramento after the passage in September of legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives. Gov. Brown signed the bill Monday.(Photo: AP/Carl Costas)

Gov. Jerry Brown, in one of the most emotional moments of his long political career, signed into law a bill allowing people near death to end their lives with lethal drugs supplied by a physician. “The crux of the matter is whether the state of California should continue to make it a crime for a dying person to end his life, no matter how great his pain or suffering,” Brown wrote in his official signing message.

News

Pension spiking’s ‘poster child’

The CalPERS' governing board during a meeting several years ago at the pension fund's headquarters. (Photo: CalPERS board)

A Moraga-Orinda fire chief drew national attention six years ago for retiring at age 50 with a pension much larger than his base pay. He went back to work as chief the following Monday, hired as a consultant with full salary. “People point to me as a poster child for pension spiking, but I did not negotiate these rules,” Peter Nowicki said.

News

Drought top issue; partisanship roils greenhouse gas law

Shasta Lake in August 2014. (Photo: David Greitzer, Shutterstock)

As the state suffers through its fourth year of drought, most Californians say the lack of water is the single most important environmental issue facing the state, a dramatic increase over the number who expressed similar concerns a year ago. A survey by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California reported that 58 percent of Californians ranked the drought as the top issue — up 23 points from July 2014 and up 50 points from July 2011.

News

Hawaii, California lead fight for renewable energy

A sugar factory , Puunene, Maui, Hawaii. (Photo: Mike Brake)

Hawaii last month became the first state to establish a goal of relying 100 percent on renewable energy, setting 2045 as the year to reach this ambitious target. Meanwhile, legislation moved forward in California that would significantly expand its pioneering efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. The Golden State has an economy larger than all but six nations in the world, and almost anything it does has the potential of having global impact.

News

Brown OKs mandatory vaccinations

A youngster gets his vaccination shot. (Photo: Luiscar74, via Shutterstock)

Gov. Brown today signed one of the strictest laws in the nation requiring vaccinations for schoolchildren, saying “science is clear that vaccines dramatically protect children against a number of infectious diseases.” The new law bars parents from invoking religious or personal beliefs in order to keep their children from being vaccinated, but it does allow for an exemption with the approval of the child’s doctor.

Opinion

Vaccination bill dismantles parents’ informed consent

SB277 removes the right of informed consent from California parents. It slid through the Senate Floor on a Democratic Party line, and paused briefly at the Assembly Health Committee Hearing June 9th, drawing over 5,000 people in protest to the Capitol stairs and hallways of Sacramento. Its next stop, this week, the Assembly Floor Vote.

News

State urged to take lead in probing police-custody deaths

Demonstrators protesting police conduct at a gathering in Capitol Park, Sacramento, October 2014. (Photo: Rachael Towne)

An effort is under way to make California the first state in the nation to have its top law enforcement officer independently investigate deaths in police custody, bypassing the prosecutors in California’s 58 counties. Under the plan, the state attorney general would appoint a special prosecutor to direct an investigation when a civilian dies as a result of deadly physical force by a peace officer.

News

Criminal justice, sentencing reforms gain traction

An inmate gestures through the bars of his prison cell. (Photo: Sakhorn, Shutterstock)

For decades, Californians and their representatives in the state Capitol had a “lock-‘em-up-and-throw-away-the-key” approach to lawbreakers. But that view is changing. Following years of a steadily increasing prison population and some communities repeatedly being devastated by crime, public discussion has shifted in part toward reforming law enforcement’s approach to crime prevention.

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