Brown hikes smoking age to 21

May 5, 2016


Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a package of anti-tobacco bill that includes raising the legal smoking age to 21, a landmark move that has drawn national attention.


From the Chronicle's Melody Gutierrez: "California will raise the smoking age to 21 and regulate popular vaping products the same as cigarettes under sweeping antitobacco legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday."


"Under the bills, the state will become the second in the nation to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21. The five bills signed by the governor Wednesday will go into effect June 9."


“This is a huge victory for public health in California and a big hit to Big Tobacco’s ongoing efforts to addict a new generation to the neurotoxins of nicotine,” said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who authored the bill signed by Brown that regulates e-cigarettes the same as tobacco products."


SEE ALSO: California raises legal tobacco age to 21 -- AP's Alison Noon.


Meanwhile, billionaire developer Donald Trump becomes the presumptive presidential nominee for the GOP, much to the chagrin of fellow Reeps, as Ohio Gov, John Kasich drops from the presidential race..


From the AP: "Donald Trump's last Republican foe, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, ended his quixotic presidential campaign Wednesday, cementing Trump's remarkable triumph as his party's presumptive nominee and launching him toward a likely fall battle with Hillary Clinton. Some Republican leaders began reluctantly rallying around Trump, but others agonized over their party's future."


"The billionaire businessman vowed to unite the splintered GOP, even as he was bitingly dismissive of members who have been critical of his campaign."


"Those people can go away and maybe come back in eight years after we served two terms," he said on NBC's "Today" Show. "Honestly, there are some people I really don't want."


California's Supreme Court will hear arguments for Gov. Brown's prison release program today to see if he can go to the ballot in November to get voter-approval for the initiative.


LAT's Maura Dolan and John Myers report: "California's highest court is slated to hear arguments Thursday on whether Gov.Jerry Brown may ask voters in November to allow an early release from prison for some who were convicted of nonviolent crimes."


"The California Supreme Court hearing, scheduled for 9 a.m. PDT, can be watched live on the court's website."


"Brown's proposal, unveiled in late January as part of a plan to reduce the prison population, was amended into an existing proposed initiative that dealt solely with juvenile justice."


The initiative to legalize marijuana in California likely will appear on the November ballot, after proponents submitted hundreds of thousands of signatures more than they needed.


From the Bee's Christopher Cadelago: "The coalition behind the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in California launched Wednesday, vowing to avoid the stumbles that undermined past efforts here to legitimize the drug."


"The as-yet unnumbered initiative aiming for November has begun submitting more than 600,000 signatures, far more than the 365,000 needed."


"It was California that led the legalization debate six years ago with Proposition 19, a pivotal moment in the national discourse that spurred Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska to formally recognize cannabis, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said at the downtown event."


Climate change is now revealed to affect not only planetary health, but individual health as well, according to the results of a US Global Change Research Program report


Reported by Sabrina Perrym & Graphiq in the Mercury News: "The term "universal agreement" is almost an oxymoron given how infrequently everyone can agree on something. However, that's exactly what the UN Climate Change Conference in December of 2015 hoped to achieve - a universal agreement on climate, from all nations of the world."


"Unless you live under a rock, this probably isn't the first time you've heard of climate change (or its dire implications). The decade from 2000-2010 was the warmest on record, and the global average temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century."


"According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these rising global temperatures are accompanied by other changes, such as more frequent and severe heat waves and more intense rainstorms."


Meanwhile, speaking of greenhouse gases, researchers at UC Berkeley have discovered a startling correlation between human activity, wildfires and climate change in California--with data revealing that inhabitants cause 95% of the state's wildfires.


The Daily Californian's Jessie Qian reports: "Human activity and climate change both play important roles in causing wildfires in California, according to a study published last Thursday."


"The study — co-authored by UC Berkeley wildfire specialist Max Moritz andcampus professor of agricultural and resource economics and policy Peter Berck — concluded that in many areas of California, human activity accounts for about half of the total wildfire count. The study also found that failure to include human activity in future fire estimates could significantly overstate the correlation between wildfires and climatic change."


"We don’t have long levers on climate change, but when it comes to local development, that’s a place where we do have a long lever,” said Michael Mann, co-author of the study and assistant professor of geography at George Washington University. “People need to look closely at how their decisions affect not only themselves but also their neighbors.”"


Speaking of greenhouse gases, the University of California ranked number one in the nation in regards to incorporating climate change risk assessment when dealing with investment decision making.


Jennifer Kang reports in Daily Californian: "The University of California ranked first among all universities worldwide in incorporating climate change risks in its investment decision making, according to findings released Monday by an independent organization."


"The Global Climate 5oo Index, which is determined by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, graded asset owners on three key areas — engagement, carbon risk management and low carbon investment. The UC system received the highest possible AAA rating, placing it well above Stanford and Yale, the next two universities on the list, which were both given the lowest passing grade of a D."


“I think UC tries to be a leader in every area, and climate change is one of the things that demands tangible solutions, global leadership and efficient approaches” said UC Spokesperson Claire Doan. “It is important to serve as a global leader to show other universities what we can do to be responsive to the global concern of sustainability."


Unfortunately, higher education also has a darkside -- sexual assaults are being reported more than ever in the last decade on campuses across the nation.


Katy Murphy with Mercury News reports: "New federal data reveal a dramatic jump in the number of on-campus sexual assaults reported by colleges nationwide over the past decade -- an increase of 126 percent between 2001 and 2013 -- even as overall campus crime fell."


"What's more, campus sexual assault reports rose by 25 percent between 2012 and 2013 alone, the data show, climbing to about 5,000 incidents nationwide."


"The latest figures coincide with the beginning of an unprecedented movement to prevent campus sexual assault, with students and alumni demanding a stronger response from their colleges. The report released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics didn't explain the reasons behind the sharp uptick, but experts believe heightened awareness may have caused the numbers to swell."


And now from our "Magical Mammals" file...


A mischevious hippopotamus gave his circus masters the ol' Houdini 1-2 slip after imbibing a mysterious powder--and was then later found wondering a Spanish city's streets aimlessly. 


"A hippopotamus weighing in at more than 3,000 pounds was found wandering the streets of a Spanish city after escaping from a nearby circus."


"Witnesses said the hippo took a powder from the circus Wednesday night and wandered the streets of Palos de la Frontera, where bystanders snapped photos and videos of the unusual pedestrian."


"The hippo was seen getting close to traffic and wandering past pedestrians without incident."