California loosens sex offender residency restrictions

Mar 27, 2015

Responding to a state Supreme Court ruling that found California’s blanket residency restrictions on sex offenders to be unconstitutional, the state’s corrections department will begin assessing cases on an individual basis.  Don Thompson has the story for Associated Press:


The March 2 court ruling applied only to registered sex-offender parolees in San Diego County, but prison officials will apply the ruling statewide. Some local governments outside San Diego County also have begun repealing their local residency restrictions in response to the high court’s ruling.


“It will take about 60 days for the department to review the files of about 6,000 sex offender parolees to decide if the restriction should still apply, department spokesman Luis Patino said. Existing restrictions will stay in effect until then…


“The ruling, and the change in policy, do not affect a different law that will continue to bar certain high-risk child molesters from living within a half-mile of any K-12 public or private school.”


The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney sat down with Senate 2016 frontrunner Kamala Harris


“’I always start my campaigns early, and I run hard,’ Ms. Harris said in an hourlong interview. ‘Maybe it comes from the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco politics, where it’s not even a contact sport — it’s a blood sport. This is how I am as a candidate. This is how I run campaigns.’


“’And she always wins,’ Sean Clegg, an aide seated at her side, added in a stage whisper.


“’Oh God, don’t say that,’ Ms. Harris said, knocking the wooden table before her with three sharp, superstitious raps. ‘Don’t, don’t, don’t! So far, so good.’”


The Assembly yesterday approved a $1 billion drought relief package, sending the legislation to the Governor’s desk.  While the plan will supply some immediate relief to those hit hardest, most of the funds will be directed at long-term efforts to combat a drought that some are calling ‘the new normal.’


Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times: “[The] legislation, which has been billed as emergency relief, will not rescue California from the drought that is now entering its fourth year.


“Rather, it would help officials prepare for the next one. Most of the funds would be directed to long-term efforts such as strengthening flood controls, improving water recycling and building desalination plants to produce clean water from the ocean.


"’When your house is burning, there's only so much you can do to fireproof it,’ said Lester Snow, executive director of the California Water Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports research and other projects. ‘We need to do everything we can to soften the impact of the drought. But then we really need to have laser focus’ on the future.”


The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to reconsider a controversial ruling that had loosened restrictions on carrying concealed weapons in San Diego County – a decision that was seen as having statewide implications.  Howard Mintz has the story at the San Jose Mercury News:


“In a brief order filed Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to take a second look at the so-called Peruta case with a special 11-judge panel. The order effectively scraps a February 2014 decision that invalidated the San Diego County sheriff's strict guidelines for concealed-carry gun permits. And for now the order preserves similar limits in the Bay Area and elsewhere enforced by local sheriffs.


“A majority of the 9th Circuit's 29 fulltime judges had to vote in favor of rehearing the case with an 11-judge panel. In a separate order, the court also agreed to reconsider a related case out of Yolo County. The court will hear arguments in the cases the week of June 15.”


Assembly Democrats are taking advantage of President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba, heading to the island nation to explore options for tradeJeremy White has the story at the Sacramento Bee:


“’It is important for California to also engage with Cuba and expand economic relationships that create new opportunities for businesses in our state,’ [Assembly Speaker] Atkins said in a press release. ‘The Assembly wants to do everything we can to create more jobs and business in California, and this trade delegation is one way to help California companies gain a competitive edge.’


“The emphasis will be on agriculture, with participants including Assembly Agriculture Committee Chairman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, and agriculture organizations and businesses like the California Rice Commission, a wine company and almond producers. They will be meeting with Cuban trade officials, among others, Perea said.”


As Dems headed for communist Cuba, Assembly Republicans announced a large-scale restructuring of their caucus staff, laying off eight policy and budget staffers, making way for hires in public relations.


“With Republicans firmly in the minority, and unable to advance many of their policy priorities, the reorganization is an acknowledgment that no amount of internal budget or policy work is likely to help the party disseminate its message and grow its ranks. Despite the layoffs, the caucus payroll will increase by one position.


Amanda Fulkerson, a spokeswoman for the caucus, said the changes are long overdue. She said the framework of its current structure was developed more than two decades ago – ‘when Twitter was a verb (and) ‘going green’ was something you did on St. Patrick’s Day. Times are changing … and we are, too….’


“As part of the changes Thursday, Danita Ng will be named deputy chief of staff for the caucus’ policy and communications… Steve McCarthy, who had been the interim policy director for the caucus, will become permanent.”


And, speaking of Republican PR efforts…we’d have to guess that California GOP leadership would prefer that anyone – ANYONE – other than former GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly get a new radio talk show in California


Starting April 15 (Tax Day, natch!) Donnelly will take to the airways of Talk 960 to offer his patented brand of ultra-conservative orthodoxy, sure to be manna from heaven for hardcore GOP activists who strongly preferred Donnelly over centrist reep Neel Kashkari in the last governor’s race.  But for a party striving to rebrand itself as an inclusive, big tent organization, welcoming to all who share its small government aims, Donnelly having a new megaphone is a nightmare.  Donnelly’s anti-immigrant, anti-gay rights, anti-Muslim mantras are anathema to many, many California voters – so much so that Dem operatives fantasized about funding his campaign for governor to increase Democratic turnout.


So, for all that, we think California Republican Party head Jim Brulte gets the Worst Week in California Politics


But chin up, Jim.  You can always hope Donnelly will declare as an independent.


See you next week.