State courts, individual rights

Mar 24, 2017

A California Supreme Court Justice says that state courts owe it to individuals to go beyond the U.S Supreme Court in protecting rights.


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "State courts must be willing to go beyond the U.S. Supreme Court in protecting individual rights, California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu said Thursday."

"A state court can provide protection for basic liberties that otherwise would go unprotected in that state,” Liu, an appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown, said in remarks prepared for a speech at New York University in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice William Brennan."

"State courts have the prerogative and duty to interpret their state constitutions independently,” Liu said. He added that there was no reason for a state court, in interpreting rights under its own constitution, to give a “presumption of correctness” to the U.S. Supreme Court’s view of similar provisions in the U.S. Constitution."


READ MORE related to Local: Who is this man and what has he done with Darrell Issa? -- OC Register's MARTIN WISCKOL


Sacramento has officially joined a lawsuit challenging Trump's federal defunding threat against 'sanctuary cities.'


Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS: "The city of Sacramento has joined a lawsuit seeking to block the Trump administration’s threat to cut federal funding to cities and counties that do not help authorities enforce immigration law."

"Sacramento is one of 34 “sanctuary cities”around the country joining a lawsuit filed last month by Santa Clara County. Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Ana and Denver are among the other cities named in the brief filed Wednesday."


"In the brief written by the San Francisco law firm Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, the local governments argue Trump’s executive order targeting sanctuary cities violates due process, seizes authority from local governments in violation of the 10th Amendment and is “unconstitutionally vague” by not providing specific actions that will subject cities and counties to penalty." 


Sacramento County Jail is planning to expand its mental health facilities as the number of inmates with psychiatric problems increases.


Sacramento Bee's ELLEN GARRISON: "As the Sacramento County Main Jail handles more inmates with psychiatric problems, the Sheriff’s Department is developing a new section staffed by UC Davis medical professionals, social workers and deputies that can provide intensive mental services without 24-hour care.""

The county currently keeps inmates who are suicidal or deemed a threat to others in an 18-bed “acute care” unit, which functions like a residential treatment facility. It also has a unit that provides medication and regular meetings with a psychiatrist for 120 inmates who aren’t ready to be in the general population, but don’t need constant monitoring."

"But nothing exists in between, which means the jail has to keep some inmates in the “acute” unit who don’t need that level of care, said Aron Brewer, chief of Correctional Health Services for Sacramento County. Inmates in “crisis” who desperately need psychiatric attention sometimes end up in separate cells until they can be moved into the acute unit. Last year, 460 inmates passed through the acute unit." 


READ MORE related to Public Safety: LA Police Commission wants your input on whether to release LAPD body camera video -- Daily News' ELIZABETH CHOU


Gubernatorial candidates spent Thursday discussing charter schools and how best to succeed Jerry Brown's education policies.


Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HART: "Charter school advocates on Thursday got a glimpse of where most of the announced candidates in the 2018 race to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown stand on privately-governed institutions that have grown across the state in recent years."

"Three Democrats in the contest – Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang and Delaine Eastin – all said at an education forum in Sacramento that they support the concept of charter schools, but expressed widely varying views on key issues, including school funding, accountability and student accessibility. Of the three, Villaraigosa spoke most strongly in support of charters."

"I believe that public schools, and charters – choices for parents, for kids – is the road to opportunity in America,” Villaraigosa told a crowd of charter school advocates, who cheered the former Los Angeles mayor and Assembly speaker several times during the forum. “The fact of the matter is there are a number of high-quality charters, and they’re all getting pushed back – not just in LA but across this state."


READ MORE related to Education: Among white Americans, people without college degrees are driving an increase in death rates -- LA Times' MATT PEARCE


More than 60 percent of cancer is a cocktail of unfortunate circumstance and genetic flaws, recent research says.


LA Times' MELISSA HEALY: "Even in a world with a pristine environment, no cigarettes and the ability to fix faulty genes inherited from our parents, most of the cancers diagnosed today still would occur thanks to a combination of biology and bad luck."

"Every new case of cancer depends on a collection of specific mutations in our DNA, and a sweeping new study finds that 66% of the mutations that put us at risk for cancer are the result of unavoidable errors made by cells as they copy themselves millions of times throughout our lives."


"In research published Thursday in the journal Science, geneticist Bert Vogelstein and biostatistician Cristian Tomasetti demonstrate that most cancer risk stems not from bad genes, environmental toxins or poor lifestyle choices, but from simple random mutations."


READ MORE related to Health: Trump delivers ultimatum in move to pass health care bill -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEAD; LA protestors cheer GOP's delayed vote on Obamacare repeal -- Daily News' SUSAN ABRAM; Trump threatens to leave Obamacare in place if GOP bill fails -- LA Times' LISA MASCARO/NOAM N. LEVEY


California air quality officials have just passed the country's toughest methane restrictions.


The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "California air quality officials have approved what are widely considered to be the most rigorous and comprehensive regulations in the country for controlling methane emissions, a move that helps cement the state’s status as a standard-bearer for environmental protection."

"The new rules, green-lighted Thursday by the state’s Air Resources Board, seek to curb methane emissions at oil and gas production plants by up to 45 percent over the next nine years. The cuts will come from a combination of heightened efficiency requirements, inspection mandates and rules meant to ensure that leaks are discovered and fixed swiftly. The regulations apply to both onshore and offshore oil and gas centers."

"The standards, which experts said mark the first major piece of environmental regulation passed by any state since the turnover of power in Washington, were hailed as a triumph by environmental activists, but criticized as cumbersome, costly and ultimately unnecessary by oil and gas producers."


READ MORE related to Environment: Damage, design flaws in Oroville Dam spillway point to lengthy repairs, consultants say -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW/DALE KASLER; Another reservoir overflows as Northern California receives more rain -- LA Times' JOSEPH SERNA


A BART extension will soon be coming to South Fremont.


The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN: "Starting Saturday, BART riders will be able to climb aboard a train and travel on an extension that will take them farther south than the rail system has ever gone."

"The 5.4-mile Warm Springs/South Fremont extension is one more step toward taking BART to the heart of Silicon Valley, a goal that might be achieved this year. For now, the long-anticipated, much-delayed extension takes riders to and from a section of south Fremont that has long been the town’s light-industrial backwater."

"The first train Saturday will depart the Warm Springs station at 45193 Warm Springs Blvd. at 5:48 a.m. The first arriving train will pull in at 7:04 a.m."


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes is finding himself under fire for what many perceive to be partisan tactics that threaten the credibility of their current investigation. 


Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL DOYLE: "California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes seemed to set his partisan gloves aside when he stepped into the national ring as the new chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2015."

"Now, upending the committee’s most politically sensitive investigation, the 43-year-old native of the rural San Joaquin Valley has antagonized the panel’s Democrats, who until now have worked closely alongside him. While Nunes offered his colleagues a muted private apology Thursday, lingering turmoil could ripple well beyond the damage to Nunes’s own reputation."

"Our investigation is on life support,” Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., an intelligence committee member, said in an interview Thursday, calling the actions by Nunes “a betrayal of the independence we’re expected to demonstrate."


READ MORE related to Beltway: Did Nunes' disclosure of secret intelligence data violate the law? -- Sacramento Bee's MATTHEW SCHOFIELD


  A new report by the Board of Equalization shows that thirteen medical marijuana dispensaries owe more than $12m in state taxes.


Daily News' BROOKE STAGGS: "Thirteen medical marijuana dispensaries owe more than $12 million in unpaid state taxes, according to a report recently published by the Board of Equalization."

The list includes several pioneers of the medical marijuana movement, who opened dispensaries not long after California became the first state to legalize weed as medicine in 1996."

Many of the businesses on the list have long been shut down, though a few continue to sell marijuana in some fashion."


READ MORE related to Economy: Dodgers TV standoff lives on as AT&T, Justice settle lawsuit -- LA Times' MEG JAMES

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