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Browsing the archives for the State gov category.

California to drivers: Starting Sunday, don’t hold that cellphone

State gov

Sac Bee.com

December 27, 2016 10:44 AM

In Sacramento, where distracted driving has reached dangerous levels, drivers expressed mixed feelings this week about a new state law cracking down on cellphone use by motorists.

Starting Sunday, drivers no longer will be allowed to hold their cellphones in their hands for any reason, including using any of a phone’s apps, such as music playlists.

“The whole idea is you don’t have the phone in your hand, period,” said Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, author of the new law, which he says should make it easier for officers to stop and cite drivers for illegal phone use.

Quirk’s bill, AB 1785, plugged what safety officials called a major loophole in the state’s groundbreaking hands-free cellphone laws. Those laws ban talking and texting on handheld phones while driving. But any other handheld use of a phone, such as shooting videos or scanning Facebook, has been technically legal.

Under the new law, drivers can still use their cellphones if they do it hands-free, which often means voice activated and operated.

However, phones must be mounted on the dashboard or windshield. With a phone mounted, the new law allows the driver to touch the phone once, to “activate or deactivate a feature or function … with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.”

The law is designed to stop people from holding their phones for a variety of uses that have become popular in recent years, including checking and posting on Facebook, using Snapchat, scrolling through Spotify or Pandora playlists, typing addresses into the phone’s mapping system, or making videos and taking photos.

A California Office of Traffic Safety study this year determined that 1 out of 8 drivers on the road is paying as much attention to his or her smartphone as to the road. State road safety officials estimate that some form of distracted driving is a factor in 80 percent of crashes. That’s prompted numerous education and enforcement efforts in California aimed at reducing distracted driving.

“Smartphones and apps have made that a very difficult goal,” state traffic safety spokesman Chris Cochran said. “We recognize that it’s not going to be a quick turnaround, but a long haul.”

Few Sacramentans this week said they had heard of the new law, and many said they wonder how enforceable it will be.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article123126354.html#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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CalPERS refuses to bite bullet

State gov

CalPERS Refuses To Bite Bullet–Will Continue to Grow $1.4 Trillion Problem

By Stephen Frank on Dec 20, 2016 08:14 pm

The New York Times is worthless as an opinion maker.  But, it does a fair jobs with the facts—just do not look at their interpretation of facts.  Here is a fact that will kill off the California economy and taxpayer. “According to the New York Times, CalPERS will not consider cutting its investment return assumption […]

Read More and Comment: CalPERS Refuses To Bite Bullet–Will Continue to Grow $1.4 Trillion Problem

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Opinion: State’s water grab will devastate jobs, economy in Merced

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, State gov

OPINION: State’s water grab will devastate jobs, economy in Merced

Merced Sun-Star

Our community’s way of life is under direct attack by Sacramento’s plan to take our water and send it to the Bay-Delta for the benefit of others.

The State Water Resources Control Board’s own document describes the resulting damage to our community as an “unavoidable impact.” This is narrow and unacceptable thinking. The Merced Irrigation District is fully prepared to protect and defend our community and water rights on the Merced River. But we believe there is a better way.

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The Latest: Ex-California lawmaker gets prison in bribe case


 October 21, 2016

The Latest on the sentencing of former California state Sen. Ron Calderon (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

A former California state senator who took bribes in exchange for supporting legislation has been sentenced to 3½ years in federal prison.

A U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles imposed the sentence Friday on Ron Calderon after listening to the former legislator ask for house arrest instead.

Federal prosecutors had sought a five-year prison term.

Calderon earlier pleaded guilty to mail fraud and acknowledged taking bribes in two instances.

The scandal rocked the state Senate and tarnished the Calderon family’s political dynasty.

His brother, Thomas Calderon, a former assemblyman and political consultant, was sentenced to 10 months for laundering bribe money.

Calderon was one of three state senators charged with separate crimes in 2014 that shook up the Legislature.

1 p.m.

Federal prosecutors are seeking a five-year sentence for a former California state senator who took bribes in exchange for supporting legislation.

Ron Calderon faces sentencing Friday in U.S. District Court for a scandal that rocked the state senate and tarnished his family’s political dynasty.

Calderon pleaded guilty to mail fraud and admitted taking bribes in two instances.

His brother, Thomas Calderon, a former assemblyman and political consultant, was sentenced to 10 months for laundering bribe money.

Ron Calderon’s lawyer is seeking house arrest. Prosecutors say Calderon’s arguments are whimsical and revisionist about his role in the scandal.

Calderon was one of three state senators charged with separate crimes in 2014 that shook up the Legislature.

Calderon admitted accepting cash and jobs for a son and daughter.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/article109716657.html#storylink=cpy

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Who will go extinct first, salmon or Valley farmers?

Agriculture - California, Endangered Species Act, Hypocrisy, State gov, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

PNP comment: Enviros and government agencies NOT sharing the water is an issue throughout California. — Editor Liz Bowen

Who will go extinct first, salmon or Valley farmers?

Modesto Bee

Here, on the front lines of the state’s recently declared water war, we have more questions than ammunition. Is the State Water Resources Control Board serious? Is the water board even in charge? Was Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for “voluntary agreements,” instead of regulatory demands, a suggestion or an order? Who will go extinct first – salmon or farmers?

OK, that’s a rhetorical question; salmon have a huge head start. But the race isn’t over. To recap: Battle was enjoined Sept. 15 when the water board re-released its justification for taking more water from the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers – which combine to create the San Joaquin before it reaches the Delta.

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Records: State agency sought to obscure role in ‘intimidation’ case

Elections, Lawsuits, Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou County, Siskiyou Sheriff's report, State gov

PNP comment: For those not living in Siskiyou County or not paying attention, the growth of the commercial marijuana plantations has gone from 450, of 100 plants or more, in 2015, to an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 plantations in 2016 — by law enforcement agencies. 

The growers are of a variety of ethnic groups, including white. The influx of workers and plantations is visible is many ways, including the customers in local stores, carts over-glowing with gardening supplies, neighbors complaining about new grows and looking at Google maps for the plantations.

County ordinances were on the June Primary 2016 Ballot that would limit the number of plants that could be grown.

The opposition to these ordinances was, in my opinion, extreme and at times vicious as there is apparently BIG MONEY in the illegal commercial marijuana business. Sheriff Lopey has been verbally attacked many times for his outspoken stand against illegal marijuana grows and use.

I defend our Siskiyou Co. Sheriff Jon Lopey and our Siskiyou Co. Clerk Colleen Setzer. I know them. They are honest in their dealings. Their goal is to protect and serve the people of Siskiyou County.

I believe the real “intimidation” is from certain Hmong and their ACLU attorneys. Reports I have received state that a significant number of the questionable newly-registered voters in Siskiyou Co., last spring, claimed their residence was on private property where there was no home, no water or septic systems. You must be living in Siskiyou Co. to be able to vote in Siskiyou Co. The were no residences.

I, and others allege, that false addresses were supplied on legal registered voter applications. It is the job of the Secretary of State’s office to investigate possible voter fraud, when it is reported by a county clerk! So, now you get to read between the lines! — Editor Liz Bowen

Sept. 30, 2016

By Alayna Shulman of the Redding Record Searchlight

In the week leading up to June’s state primary election, at least two investigators from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office spent three days tracking down members of the Hmong community in rural Siskiyou County.

But when allegations that they and local officers had intimidated those potential voters surfaced, Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey says the state office left him to take the blame.

Now, the issue has gained new life: A federal lawsuit looms, and Lopey has hired an attorney of his own to help restore a reputation he says was victim of a smear campaign.

While the state’s involvement is under renewed scrutiny, Lopey continues to face questions of his own about the events of early summer. Some of them come from Hmong residents who say the pattern of intimidation that spurred their lawsuit continues with selective enforcement of marijuana cultivation laws.

Originating in one of the state’s least populated and most conservative counties, the case is caught in the crosswinds of race, marijuana policy and law enforcement.

And one thing has emerged clearly from a Record Searchlight review of public records and details in the lawsuit: Padilla’s office played a greater role in the activities that allegedly intimidated a minority group than his aides initially disclosed.

Politically, that’s an uncomfortable position for the Los Angeles Democrat and California’s first Latino secretary of state. The second sentence of his official biography highlights his commitment to “increasing voter registration and participation, and strengthening voting rights.”

Padilla’s office has had little comment on the incident beyond acknowledging its involvement and saying that it dispatched poll monitors when it received complaints of voter intimidation by county, not state employees.

But an employee from the office is nonetheless named as a defendant in the suit, which doesn’t paint a simple picture of Siskiyou County employees going rogue during a polite and routine state investigation. One of the Hmong community plaintiffs alleges the state employee “terrified” him with threats of jail. Jesse Vang, 45, alleges in the suit that he also felt threatened by “a sheriff’s deputy standing at his gate holding an AR-50 assault rifle.”

Padilla’s office also has declined to say definitively whether its officials asked Lopey to accompany investigators as they visited areas known to have illegal marijuana growing operations. Lopey insists that they did, and, after the fact, asked him not to mention the office in a news release.

As claims of investigative teams wearing “commando-style body armor” and confronting Hmong residents spread, Lopey found himself at the center of a media firestorm that spread coast to coast: He was named in a piece by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, as having allegedly intimidated minorities, and a Record Searchlight editorial denounced his actions. The California Attorney General’s Office went to Siskiyou County to investigate the alleged voter intimidation.

“I don’t mind getting attacked. But at least people could tell the truth. And they’re not,” Lopey said, calling the Secretary of State’s Office’s conduct “cowardly and totally inappropriate.”

Sam Mahood, press secretary for the office, said it didn’t release information on the case because of a policy to not comment on any investigation, and that the Sheriff’s Office shouldn’t have either.

Meanwhile, one key element of the early allegations is notable for its absence: reports that deputies set up checkpoints to target and intimidate Hmong voters are not included in the lawsuit, and the person who raised those allegations now says she can’t substantiate them.

Initial concerns

The episode appears to have begun when county Elections Clerk Colleen Setzer sent what she has said were suspicious voter applications to the Secretary of State’s Office for investigation.

Setzer did not return a message seeking comment on the case, but one of the attorneys representing the Hmong residents said her justification for flagging those applications as suspicious was a high number of property transactions in the areas and the absence of established homes on some of the properties. The lawsuit says at least 360 Hmong residents tried to register to vote at the time, though why so many of them were registering all at once remains unclear. An American Civil Liberties Union official involved in the case said most of them are new to the area and were drawn there by the rugged land that reminds them of their home country, Laos.

Each of the 10 plaintiffs is identified in the suit as having purchased her or his property within the past year — mostly in the first few months of 2016. The plaintiffs are represented by three San Francisco attorneys. The plaintiffs also have been in close contact with Lori Shellenberger, California voting rights director for the ACLU, since the investigation began.

The suit seeks $100,000 in damages and unspecified “punitive and exemplary” damages. It also seeks restraining orders and permanent injunctions that would bar officials from entering the plaintiffs’ properties without a warrant, interfering with their ability to vote in the November election or enforcing county marijuana ordinances passed in 2015 and 2016 without a warrant.

Who made the call?

Lopey insists the Secretary of State investigators asked his department for protection “five or six times.”

“Let me clarify one thing: I didn’t call them,” he said. “They called me repeatedly and asked for my assistance and support.”

That’s something he has said from the start. In the June 3 news release on the investigation, Lopey wrote that several departments “were asked to assist the state investigators with their voter fraud investigation.”

Lopey acknowledged that, once he got back to the Secretary of State employees, he told them it was probably a good idea his deputies come along because of marijuana grows in the targeted areas and their remote location.

Secretary of State spokesman Mahood stopped short of saying whether his agency requested backup, simply acknowledging in a June 10 email to a Talking Points Memo reporter that the Sheriff’s Office “advised” his agency of potential security risks and “recommended” deputies join the agent investigating reports of voter fraud from the county clerk.

Mahood did not say which side initiated those conversations, and, when asked by the Record Searchlight for clarification, he promised to follow up, but did not.

In that June 10 email, the paragraph on the talks with Siskiyou County is preceded by one that stresses the importance of safety for Secretary of State investigators, whom Mahood noted are not allowed to carry guns while working. The email was released to an attorney representing Lopey and then provided to the Record Searchlight.

That attorney, James Buchal, believes the state won’t admit it asked for protection to avoid embarrassment.

Portland, Oregon-based Buchal noted the Secretary of State’s Office requested Lopey not to mention the office in a news release. Lopey obliged, simply telling the media that “State of California investigators” had been in the county looking into voter fraud allegations.



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Response to Cow Farts will now be regulated by State of CA

cattle, State gov

Here is the back story on the article you sent about the recent action by Governor Jerry Brown. When Americans think about cheese, they think Wisconsin as being the Nation’s top Dairy State and look for Wisconsin Cheese when shopping. It works great for marketing their product. Now, what is the average consumer going to think when they find out California produces 19.6% of America’s milk and Wisconsin’s output is a distant second at 13.9%? Well, Wisconsin Dairy farmers are concerned that consumers will confuse more with better. They don’t want to see TV commercials on National TV showing a field of happy cows followed by a picture of a platter of sliced cheese with someone like actor Sam  Elliot voicing “California Cheese, We are number one. What in your fridge?


Wisconsin Dairy Farmers sent a busload of lobbyists with pockets full of cash to try do something to curtail the California Dairy Industry. They tried to wine and dine Democrat legislators and Governor Brown to do something to hurt the California Dairy Industry. They met a wall of resistance with statements like, “We would have to be crazy to do that!”  After putting their heads together, the lobbyists decided to go in that direction. They spiked all of their coffee and herbal tea with LSD and PCP. It worked! After this law fully kicks in 2030, Mississippi will be producing more milk than California.



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Utah: Attorney General Reyes joins 15-state coalition, tells Congress to rein in federal agencies

Congress - Senate, Constitution, Federal gov & land grabs, State gov

Written by or for St. George News

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California’s Legislature blazes new path in deterring dangerous activities

CA & OR, State gov

California’s Legislature blazes new path in deterring dangerous activities

Comment by Stephen Frank on Jul 13, 2016 08:18 pm

California Political Review.com

The Sacramento legislature is so anti-smoking that many oppose your right to smoke a Marlboro, anywhere…but support the right to smoke pot—which is more toxic and creates cancer quicker than a cigarettes.  Confusing?  Nope, these folks are Nanny state advocates.  I bet you thought Guv Brown and his Democrat buddies want to stop those under […]

Read More and Comment: California’s Legislature blazes new path in deterring dangerous activities

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Federal judge strikes down BLM fracking rule; Utah AG comments

Bureau of Land Management, Courts, Federal gov & land grabs, Lawsuits, State gov
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