News stories that East Bay progressives and environmentalists shouldn’t miss:
1. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan yesterday unveiled her budget for the next two years, and proposed to steer tens of millions of dollars to the police department, adding dozens of new officers and bringing the force up to about 700 cops by 2015, the Trib and Chron$ report. Quan would effectively pay for the new officers by eliminating at least 87 jobs elsewhere in the city. The mayor’s budget also would restore some of the temporary givebacks made by city-employee unions. The budget, however, does not address the unsustainably high salaries and benefits given to cops.withhold campaign donations from four Democratic senators who voted against requiring universal background checks for gun purchases, after the measure went down to defeat in the US Senate yesterday, SFGate reports. The four Democratic senators who voted against the gun control bill were Max Baucus of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of South Dakota, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Mark Pryor from Arkansas.
3. Some state lawmakers called for a change in leadership at the California Public Utilities Commission after a report showed that the CPUC is still not focused on public safety nearly three years after the deadly PG&E blast in San Bruno, SFGate reports.
4. Lobbyists for the payday lending industry defeated legislation yesterday in the state Senate that would have added tough new restrictions on high-interest loans given to low-income residents, the Mercury News reports. The Senate banking committee that voted against the legislation is dominated by legislators who have received big donations from payday lenders.
5. A state Assembly committee defeated a bill that would have banned smoking in apartments, condos, and duplexes in the state, the SacBee$ reports.
6. And a bill backed by the big agribusiness that would have forced anyone who filmed instances of animal cruelty to hand over their video to law enforcement died in the Assembly, the SacBee$ reports. The bill was viewed by animal rights groups as an attempt to thwart undercover investigations of animal cruelty.
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