Democratic voter registration shows a sharp increase in California.
Sac Bee's Phillip Reese reports: "The California Democratic Party added about 700,000 voters between January and July of this year, a 10 percent increase that is significantly higher than the rise in registered Democrats during previous presidential elections, according to new data from the California Secretary of State."
"The Republican Party in California added about 130,000 voters, a 3 percent increase, between January and July. The number of voters not stating a party preference rose by about 70,000, or 2 percent. The number of third-party voters fell by about 90,000, or 10 percent."
"Much of the increase in party registration seems to have come from the ranks of those not already registered to vote. Overall, the number of Californians registered to vote increased by about 825,000 between January and July to 18.1 million. That equates to 73 percent of California adults eligible to vote."
California's agricultural laborers see a win in the Legislature after a bill enforcing pay and schedule equality moved forward.
Jazmine Ulloa with L.A. Times writes: "After an hour of debate, including emotional words from Senate leader Kevin de León, the California Senate on Monday passed a bill that would expand overtime pay for farmworkers."
"AB 1066, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), squeezed out of the Senate floor with a 21-14 vote. It is now headed back to the Assembly, where it faces its most passionate opposition, for a final vote."
"The proposal would roll out new rules for overtime in 2019, lowering the current 10-hour-day threshold for overtime by half an hour each year until it reaches the standard eight-hour day by 2022. It also would phase in a 40-hour standard workweek for the first time."
Meanwhile, the state's Public Utilities Commission could face another overhaul -- and the governor's already on board.
KQED's Marisa Lagos reports: "Nearly a year after Gov. Jerry Brown bucked lawmakers and vetoed a series of measures aimed at reining in the troubled California Public Utilities Commission, the governor faces a new package of CPUC reform bills. This time, though, he’s already on board."
"The governor’s office and three Democratic lawmakers have been hashing out details for months. On Monday, the Assembly approved one of three major bills Brown has already said he will sign; the other two pieces of legislation are expected to come up for votes in the coming days."
"Supporters in the Legislature say the package will help ensure that the CPUC is more effective and accountable to the public after a series of disasters and scandals — starting with the deadly San Bruno gas line blast in 2010 — helped uncover evidence of a regulator overly cozy with the utilities it was supposed to be policing."
California's traditional polling system could see a massive restructuring: neighborhood polling places will assimilate into larger, government designated 'voting centers' that provide specialized services and help.
John Myers with L.A. Times: "Sweeping legislation at the state Capitol would make the future of California elections dependent on a major expansion of absentee ballots, one that would give local officials the power to close thousands of neighborhood polling places."
"In their place, counties would open temporary elections offices known as “vote centers” sprinkled throughout communities, locations offering a wide variety of elections services including early voting and same-day voter registration as well as a limited number of in-person voting booths."
"“We're trying to make it easier for people to participate, given the complexities of modern life,” said state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), the author of Senate Bill 450. The bill faces an Aug. 31 deadline to make it Gov. Jerry Brown for his ultimate signature or veto."
A landmark bill promoting all-gender bathrooms is headed to the governor's desk for signature.
Anshu Siripurapu with Sac Bee reports: "The day after a federal judge blocked the Obama administration’s guidelines regarding bathroom access for transgender students, a bill requiring single-user bathrooms in California to be labeled “all-gender” cleared its final legislative hurdle and is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk."
"Assembly Bill 1732, by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, passed the Assembly 53-13 Monday, after clearing the Senate last week."
"Ting’s bill requires that all single-user restrooms “in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency” be labeled as “all-gender."
A viral photograph posted last week (IMAGE LINK, DISTURBING CONTENT) showing a young, 4-year-old Syrian boy shellshocked with PTSD after being recovered from a bombed-out building has galvanized a Stanford researcher to make it her life's work to provide relief to innocent war-torn refugees.
Erin Allday reports in The Chronicle: "A photo of a young boy rescued from the rubble of a bombing in Syria made the rounds on social media last week. He’s sitting in an ambulance, moments after his rescue, and even through the grime and dust and blood on his face, it’s his eyes that are most striking: He’s haunted."
"It’s an expression echoed in millions of children in refugee camps outside Syria, where they have escaped the violence at home only to live in fear and uncertainty, and with almost no access to mental health care. And the children aren’t the only ones suffering. Signs of post-traumatic stress, and more mundane mental health problems like depression and anxiety, run rampant among refugees of all ages in the camps."
"Their needs are so acute that one young Stanford researcher, just out of graduate school, has made it her life’s work to bring treatment to these Syrian refugees, as well as the many millions more who have been displaced by other conflicts."
As the governor's vaccination bill lingers overhead, thousands are starting the school year without the required vaccinations.
The Chronicle's Jill Tucker writes: "While a new state law requires children to be vaccinated to attend public or private school, thousands of California students are filing into classrooms this month without the required immunizations."
"In fact, it will be years before the law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed last year, in the aftermath of a measles outbreak that was traced to Disneyland, fully takes effect and forces all kids — save those with strict medical exemptions — to have all their shots."
"What’s changed is that parents can no longer opt out of vaccinations by claiming a religious or personal-belief exemption. However, parents need to provide immunization records at only two points of their child’s school career — at the outset of kindergarten and seventh grade."
READ MORE in Education: Next chancellor to fill several empty campus leadership positions -- Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks with Daily Californian
If you hate sales tax, stay away from Santa Monica: it could soon become the most taxed area in the nation.
KPCC's Mary Plummer reports: "As Southern California counties and cities gather their ballot measures for November, a tax policy expert says Santa Monica could find itself joining another city with the highest sales tax rate in the country."
"The tax rate in Santa Monica would be 10 and a half percent, which would be tied with Chicago for the top rate in the nation," said Jared Walczak, a policy analyst at the Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C."
"Santa Monica currently has a 9.5 percent sales tax rate. The popular beach city is proposing to increase the sales tax by one half of one percent to help pay for community services. On top of that, Los Angeles County is proposing to raise the sales tax by a half cent for transportation projects and programs. Together, the measures would put Santa Monica in Chicago's top rate category."
Voters, not lawmakers, could have the final say if SB 32 is successful -- a Senate Bill aimed at reducing emissions levels to 40% below the 1990 level by the time 2030 rolls around.
Capitol Weekly's Chuck McFadden reports: "The fundamental things apply … As time goes by.”
"That lyric from the classic film “Casablanca” could certainly apply today in the continuing, fundamental battle between environmentalists and a major part of California’s business community over legislation containing stricter measures to curb greenhouse gases."
"It’s a familiar fight in the Capitol: Oil companies and their allies say jobs and Californians’ ability to get from place to place at reasonable cost are at stake, which can have a dramatic impact on lower income workers."