Health, enviro laws

Jan 2, 2019

The most important new environmental and health laws of 2019


From KQED's KELLY O'MARA: "The California Legislature in 2018 cranked out 1,016 pieces of legislation that Gov. Brown signed into law. Number of bills vetoed? 201. (For those keeping track, note that Brown rejected bills at a much higher clip his second time around as governor.)"


"Here are some of the most important environmental and health changes coming in 2019:"


--SB 100: The Long road to 100 percent Clean Energy. It was, in many ways, the defining environmental law of the year: a groundbreaking mandate for generating 100 percent of the state's electricity from solar, wind and other non-fossil sources by 2045. Now comes the hard part: actually doing it."


READ MORE related to 2019New California law mandates in-car breathalyzers for repeat drunk drivers -- Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK; Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will propose almost $2 billion for early childhood program -- LAT's JOHN MYERS


PG&E: Fire investigation could show utility violated San Bruno probation


The Chronicle's J.D. MORRIS:  "Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said Monday that it could have violated terms of its probation if it recklessly maintained power lines in a way that caused recent deadly wildfires, part of a detailed accounting the utility provided to a federal judge about its role in two seasons of historically devastating California conflagrations."


"PG&E made the admission in response to a series of wildfire-related questions from U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the embattled utility’s probation imposed after its criminal conviction stemming from the deadly 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion."


"One of the terms of the five-year probation is that the utility not commit any other crimes. That condition could be implicated if authorities determine that recklessness by PG&E sparked a wildfire and “the specific circumstances gave rise to a violation of federal, state, or local statutes,” attorneys for the utility told Alsup."


READ MORE related to California Burnin': Numerous PG&E employees saw flames soon after Camp Fire started -- The Chronicle's ROLAND LI


Qualifying a California ballot measure to become a 'playground of billionaires'


The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "The price of putting an initiative on the ballot is soaring, and California voters have only themselves to blame."


"The huge turnout in the Nov. 6 election instantly boosted the number of valid signatures required to qualify a measure for the ballot by about 70 percent. And because almost every initiative backer uses paid collectors to gather those signatures, the cost will skyrocket."


"The initiative process already has turned into a playground of millionaires,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, which has been involved in numerous initiative campaigns. “Now it becomes the playground of billionaires."


Here's your handy guide to the 2020 Presidential primary


Sacramento Bee's ADAM WOLLNER: "The calendar may be about to turn to 2019, but for many ambitious Democrats, it might as well be 2020."


"At this point, Democrats eyeing a matchup against President Donald Trump in the next election have been testing the waters for months (if not longer). They’ve embarked on book tours, visited early-voting states, hired new staffers and met with influential party leaders and donors behind the scenes."


"In January, many presidential hopefuls will be ready to take the plunge and officially become candidates, kickstarting another campaign for the nation’s highest office. Elizabeth Warren couldn’t even wait for the ball to drop, announcing her plans on Dec. 31."


New California law protects trash-truck drivers


From RUBY GONZALES at the Press Enterprise: "Drivers, get ready for a new law that will take effect next January."


"Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, drivers approaching a stopped garbage truck with flashing amber lights must change lanes into a nearby available lane then pass at a safe distance.

If this can’t be done safely, the driver must slow down."


"A successful bill by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, was sponsored by the Service Employees International Union California.In California, similar “move-over” laws exist for police officers, emergency medical staff, firefighters, and tow truck drivers, according to Santiago’s office."


San Jose mayor hit by car while bicycling, hospitalized with broken bones


From the Chronicle's STEVE RUBENSTEIN: "San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was hospitalized with several broken bones after being struck by a car while bicycling in northeast San Jose on New Year’s Day."


"Liccardo, 48, a frequent cyclist, was struck about 12:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Salt Lake Drive about 3 miles northeast of downtown, according to a statement from the mayor’s office."


"Liccardo was believed to have suffered a broken collarbone, a broken chest bone and injuries to his neck and back. He was being treated at Regional Medical Center in San Jose, said his friend Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group."


How young immigrant 'Dreamers' made flipping control of the House a personal quest


LA Time's JAZMINE ULLOA: "Gabriela Cruz, who was brought to the U.S. illegally when she was 1, couldn’t vote, but in the final hours before the Nov. 6 election, she was making one last run to get people to the polls."


"The sun was setting in Modesto when she found Ronald Silva, 41, smoking a cigarette on a tattered old couch behind a group home. He politely tried to wave her off until she reminded him he had a right that she as an immigrant without citizenship didn’t have."      


150 migrants rush U.S. border, are met with tear gas from agents who say they were throwing rocks


From WENDY FRY, Union-Tribune: "A group of about 150 migrants attempted to breach a San Diego border fence on New Year’s, and some began throwing rocks at responding U.S. border agents who deployed pepper spray and tear gas on the crowd, authorities said."


U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the group was attempting to climb over and under the San Diego border fence. When agents and officers responded, about 45 migrants turned back to Mexico, according to the agency."


"Some migrants began throwing rocks over the fence at agents and officers, according to the agency."


NASA's New Horizons just flew past the most distant world visited by humankind and it went pefectly


LA Times's DEBORAH NETBURN: "It’s official."


"Four billion miles from Earth, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sped past a small, cold Kuiper Belt object known as Ultima Thule on Monday night, successfully collecting data on the most distant world ever visited by humankind.


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Yosemite visitors turn roads into toilets as shutdown crises mount at national parks -- Sacramento Bee's DON SWEENEY


House Dems have plan to fund govt, but not a wall


AP: " A week and a half into a partial government shutdown, House Democrats released their plan to re-open the government without approving money for President Donald Trump’s border wall. At the same time, the president struggled to find leverage to break the stalemate before the GOP’s monopoly on Washington power ended."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate/Shutdown: White House invites Hill leaders to briefing -- AP


Paul Whelan, American detained in Russia on espionage charges, was in Moscow for a wedding, family says


LA Times's MATT PEARCE: "Paul Whelan, the U.S. citizen detained in Russia on espionage charges, is a former Marine who had traveled to Moscow for a fellow Marine’s wedding, the man’s family said Tuesday, alleging that he is being wrongly held."


"“We are deeply concerned for his safety and well-being,” Whelan’s family said in a statement provided to the media by his twin brother, David. “His innocence is undoubted, and we trust that his rights will be respected.”


"Whelan’s family said it had contacted the U.S. State Department and other federal officials for help after learning of his Friday arrest from news reports Monday, and the family expected U.S. officials to visit Whelan, who works in Michigan, within three days."


Incoming Senator Romney questions Trump's 'character' in op-ed


AP: "Utah Sen.-elect Mitt Romney says President Donald Trump's "conduct over the past two years ... is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office."


"The Republican presidential nominee in 2012 is praising some of Trump's policy decisions in a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday. But Romney adds: "With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent's shortfall has been most glaring."


"Romney says he doesn't intend to comment on every Trump tweet, but he promises to "speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions."

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