Thursday, August 14, 2014

State Lawmakers Consider LGBTQ-Friendly Birth Certificates

by Ari Nussbaum
Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez is sponsoring AB 1951.
  • Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez is sponsoring AB 1951.
A bill in Sacramento could force the California Department of Public Health to modify birth certificates in California to be more LGBTQ-friendly. The legislation, AB 1951, would require all birth certificates to provide parents with a gender-neutral option rather than just the traditional mother and father ones.

Currently, California birth certificates have two options for parents — one labeled as “Name of Mother” and one “Name of Father.” This restrictive wording has forced same-sex couples to inaccurately define their status — for example, a lesbian couple may have to choose one partner to sign as the child’s father. If passed, AB 1951 would change birth certificates to simply label both lines as “Name of Parent”; following the parent’s name would be three boxes from which they could choose labeled “mother,” “father,” or the gender-neutral option “parent.”

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California Health Department Opposes Bill to Help Formerly Incarcerated People Access Jobs

by Sam Levin
Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 9:47 AM

click image Senator Holly Mitchell. - VIA SENATE.CA.GOV
  • via
  • Senator Holly Mitchell.
People with criminal records often face a steep uphill battle when trying to find employment after incarceration — a challenge which can trap them in poverty as they struggle to rehabilitate their lives. Securing stable, living-wage jobs can be particularly difficult for this population, which is why civil rights advocates are promoting legislation that would eliminate a key employment barrier in the healthcare industry. Senate Bill 1384, which passed the state Senate in June and will soon face a vote at the Assembly, would change the law so that people hoping to become certified nursing assistants (CNAs) would no longer face automatic license denials due to past convictions. 

It's a reform that would level the playing field and open up CNA job opportunities to otherwise qualified candidates. Why, then, is the California Department of Public Health opposing the measure? 

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Thursday Must Reads: Oakland Council Finalizes New Garbage Deal; State Lawmakers Put $7.5 Billion Water Bond on Ballot

by Robert Gammon
Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council finalized a deal on the city’s garbage contract, awarding the lucrative pact to California Waste Solutions (CWS), an Oakland-based company that has never collected garbage or green waste before, the Chron and Trib$ report. Under the deal, CWS will take over all garbage, green waste, and recycling in the city from Waste Management starting next year, and collections rates for residents will increase by 23 percent. Waste Management had made a last-minute offer with lower rates, but the council rejected it. CWS must build a temporary waste processing facility, while it constructs a permanent one to open in about five years.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Must Reads: Court Frowns on San Jose’s Bid for Oakland A’s; EBMUD Bans Water Wasting

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. A federal appellate court appears ready to dismiss an attempt by the City of San Jose to force Major League Baseball to allow the Oakland A’s to move to the South Bay, the Chron reports. The three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals told San Jose’s lawyers that it does not have the power to overturn MLB’s anti-trust exemption under federal law. That exemption allows MLB to establish so-called territorial rights, and under league rules, the San Francisco Giants own the rights to San Jose, thereby barring the A’s from moving there. San Jose is expected to appeal its case to the US Supreme Court.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday Must Reads: Kill Switch Bill Goes to Governor; Lawmakers Reach Deal on $7 Billion Water Bond

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

Mark Leno
  • Mark Leno
1. In an effort to stem the robbery epidemic in California, the legislature approved a bill that would require cellphone manufacturers to install kill switches that make the devices inoperable when stolen. The Chron reports that the legislation — SB 962, authored by state Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco — is now headed to Governor Jerry Brown for approval. The bill mandates that a kill switch would be the default function and that consumers would have to purposely turn it off if they don’t want use it. The smartphone industry, which makes billions each year when robbery victims must replace their stolen phones, originally opposed the bill, but many companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, withdrew their opposition in recent months. Oakland leaders had pushed hard for the bill.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Must Reads: Lawmakers Can’t Agree on Water Bond; State Considers First-Ever Groundwater Rules

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators have been unable to strike a deal on a proposed water bond for the November ballot, and the deadline for reaching a compromise is tonight, the Chron reports. Currently, the water bond calls for $11 billion in water infrastructure upgrades, but opinion polls show that such a bond has no hope of passing. Brown wants to lower the bond to $6 billion. On Friday, Republicans, who want to spend $3 billion on new reservoirs, proposed an $8.7 billion measure.

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Lawmakers Consider Controversial Bill That Would Require Adult Film Actors to Wear Condoms and Be Tested for HIV

by Ari Nussbaum
Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 11:08 AM

A bill currently in the California Assembly could force adult film-makers to adopt a “no glove, no love” rule, which would mandate that all adult-film actors in the state of California use condoms when engaging in vaginal or anal sex scenes and undergo HIV testing. Supporters say of the bill, AB 1576, say it will help prevent the transmission of blood borne pathogens, but critics argue that it would violate workers’ privacy rights and effectively dismantle the adult-film industry in California. 

AB 1576, which was introduced by Assemblyman Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) earlier this year, would amend current labor code to also require that all adult film employees be tested for sexually transmitted diseases no more than fourteen days before filming a scene.

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Updated: Tom Butt to Run for Mayor of Richmond

by John Geluardi
Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Tom Butt.
  • Tom Butt.
Longtime Richmond city councilmember Tom Butt has decided to run for mayor this year. Butt, a liberal who often votes with the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), will square off against fellow councilmember Nat Bates, who is being backed heavily by Chevron. Butt has often taken a tough stance against the oil giant, which is both the largest polluter in the city and is Richmond's biggest private employer. Current mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a progressive who also has battled with Chevron over the years, is being termed out.

Butt, an architect and a nineeen-year veteran of the council, made his decision to run late Thursday night just in time for Friday’s filing deadline. “I have no money, no campaign manager and no organization,” the 70-year-old Butt said. “I’m going to have to crank it up, but I know how to do it. I’ve done it before.”

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

California 'Kill Switch' Law Aimed at Curbing Smartphone Theft Passes Assembly

by Sam Levin
Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 1:47 PM

California is one step closer to passing a law that could help curb Oakland's robbery epidemic — by mandating that all smartphones sold in the state include an anti-theft feature commonly known as the "kill switch." The California Assembly this morning approved Senate Bill 962, which would require cellphone companies to sell smartphones with technology that would make them inoperable when stolen.  

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A’s Co-Owner Renews Interest in Building New Oakland Ballpark

by Steven Tavares
Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Lew Wolff
  • Lew Wolff
Oakland A’s co-owner Lew Wolff said team officials met last Monday with an architect regarding a potential ballpark at the current Coliseum site. His comments came following a vote Wednesday morning by the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to finalize a new lease agreement to keep the A’s in Oakland for, at least, the next three years.

Wolff struck a conciliatory tone during a press conference Wednesday and said the team is serious about finding a suitable site for a new ballpark in Oakland. Wolff also voiced a willingness to work with the Oakland Raiders for a stadium of their own on the same property. “We’re on a winning streak with both the JPA and in Major League Baseball and want to continue both,” said Wolff. Wolff, however, also suggested other sites for a new baseball park are still play.  As part of our arrangement here, we said, we’re going to make a serious effort to look at the feasibility of doing that as well as any other site.”

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