California may toughen immunization rules to block measles
AP's DON THOMPSON: "California would give state public health officials instead of local doctors the power to decide which children can skip vaccinations before attending school under legislation proposed Tuesday to counter what advocates call bogus exemptions."
"The measure would also let state and county health officials revoke medical exemptions granted by doctors if they are found to be fraudulent or contradict federal immunization standards. The proposal comes amid measles outbreaks in New York, Washington and elsewhere that are prompting states including Maine and Washington to consider ending non-medical exemptions."
"California eliminated all non-medical immunization exemptions in 2016, as have Mississippi and West Virginia. The lawmakers want California to now follow West Virginia's lead in having public health officials rather than doctors decide who qualifies for medical exemptions. Doctors would send the state health department the reason they are recommending the exemption and would have to certify that they examined the patient."
READ MORE related to Health: Bill could ban anti-vaccine parents from doctor-shopping for medical exemptions -- Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER; Another giant SF General bill gets trimmed -- time for comprehensive action -- The Chronicle's HEATHER KNIGHT
California has never had a female governor. These 3 women want a shot at it in 2026
Sacramento Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "The race to become California’s first woman governor has officially started."
"At a Sacramento Press Club luncheon on Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, State Treasurer Fiona Ma and California Controller Betty T. Yee all said they are open to running for the state’s top position in 2026, when Gov. Gavin Newsom would term out of office."
"Wow! @EleniForCA @BettyYeeforCA @fionama say they are all in for Gov in 2026!” a Press Club tweet read."
Bay Area lawmakers demand more info from Mueller investigation
The Chronicle's TAL KOPAN: "Lawmakers from the Bay Area and elsewhere in California hold a number of positions key to the investigation into Russian election interference and more broadly into President Trump."
"So when the news came that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had concluded his investigation, those lawmakers were in the spotlight — especially after Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Congress saying there was no case to be made against the Trump campaign in connection with Russian interference, and not enough evidence to establish that Trump obstructed justice in Mueller’s probe. Republicans and the White House called the letter a vindication for Trump."
"Mueller, however, wrote that the report did not exonerate Trump when it came to obstruction, according to the attorney general. So Barr’s letter isn’t good enough for many of those lawmakers. They are calling for the release of Mueller’s full report and underlying evidence, saying that without it, there can be no transparency."
Trump planning a rare California visit. Tickets start at $15,000
The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "President Trump will be in California next week for a campaign fundraiser, buoyed by what he called his “complete and total exoneration” by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election."
"He’s likely to find plenty of people who disagree with him as he ventures into California for only the third time in his presidency. California is a deep-blue state that overwhelmingly supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, and that opposition hasn’t gone away. A January poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that only 30 percent of the state’s adults approved of the job Trump was doing as president."
"Trump will be in the Los Angeles area April 5 to raise money for his re-election campaign. Tickets are $15,000 for dinner, $50,000 for the opportunity to take a picture with Trump and $150,000 to participate in a roundtable discussion, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service in Los Angeles."
State controller 'gravely concerned' about $1B accounting program
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "State Controller Betty Yee is “gravely concerned” that problems with the state’s accounting software could undermine California’s credit worthiness, she wrote in a recent letter to legislators."
"Efforts to tie a new computer program into the state’s legacy systems have delayed monthly cash reports and are threatening the accuracy of the state’s annual financial report, which is typically published at the end of April, Yee wrote."
"If the annual report is inaccurate, it could negatively affect the state’s credit rating, which influences borrowing costs for spending on things like infrastructure projects."
Californians would vote on raising estate taxes under Sen. Scott Weiner's bill
The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "Are Californians ready to tax some of the state’s richest residents after death to close the wealth gap with the poor?"
"Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, is betting on a new state-level estate tax, modeled on the federal tax on property inheritance, to pay for programs that address California’s economic inequality."
"It’s a way of not having a permanent nobility in the U.S.,” Wiener said. “We should help low-income, working families accumulate wealth so that they can send their kids to college, so that they can buy a home, so that they don’t go bankrupt if they have an unexpected medical expense."
Kamala Harris unveils teacher pay-hike proposal in first major policy push
The Chronicle's TAL KOPAN: "Sen. Kamala Harris outlined Tuesday how she would rapidly increase teachers’ pay as president, in her first major policy push as a 2020 candidate — a move that taps into a surge of teacher activism across the country."
"The California Democrat is proposing to use federal tax money to help close the teacher pay gap — the amount by which teachers’ salaries trail those of similarly educated peers in other professions — by the end of her first term, if elected. According to her campaign, the plan would boost the average teacher’s salary nationally by $13,500, the amount by which educators lag behind. The average California teacher would get a $10,300 pay bump."
"Harris would also make helping low-income schools and teachers and students of color a top priority."
Sick of those long paper receipts? California lawmakers are weighing a bill to ban them
LA Times's MELODY GUTIERREZ/DIYA CHACKO: "Those glossy paper receipts that are often trashed before a shopper even leaves a store could become a relic of the past under a bill that cleared its first hurdle in the California Legislature on Monday."
"Modeled after a new state law requiring that plastic straws be given in restaurants only upon request, the bill would require businesses to provide electronic receipts by default unless a customer asks for a paper one."
"Assembly Bill 161 by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said his bill is an easy way to reduce paper waste in the state while addressing consumers’ frustrations with excessively long receipts. Customers have taken to social media for years to complain and poke fun at the size of their receipts, particularly at CVS drugstore, posting pictures of the coupon-packed printouts measuring taller than a refrigerator."
'I was struggling:' Sacramento residents tell Gov. Newsom what it's like to pay the rent
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "A Sacramento preschool teacher and her 2-year-old would be homeless without financial support."
"A 27-year-old woman lives with two roommates in West Sacramento despite having a full-time job."
"A 71-year old woman says without help she couldn’t afford rent in the city on the less-than $1,000 per month she receives from Social Security."
Nepotism investigation finds state executive got her daughter a job, undermined audit
Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON/WES VENTEICHER: "A former California state government executive under investigation for alleged nepotism sought to undermine a state audit and helped her daughter win promotions that violated state civil service rules, according to a report released Tuesday."
"The report from State Auditor Elaine Howle does not name the department or identify the director who got her daughter a job working for her. Margarita Fernandez, spokeswoman for the auditor’s office, said Howle declined to name the director and the department in the report because doing so could inadvertently disclose the identity of whistleblowers."
"The timeline of events described in the audit coincides with publicly available information describing the retirement last year of former Department of Industrial Relations Director Christine Baker."
Early results show a tight race in state Senate District 1 special primary election
Sacramento Bee's ALEXANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS: "Early results from the special primary election for California Senate District 1 indicate voters across a broad swath of Northern California will have to wait until a special general election this summer for a new representative."
"As of 9 p.m. with about 40 percent of precinct partially reporting, Republican Assemblyman Kevin Kiley of Rocklin had 29.5 percent of the vote, Democrat Silke Pflueger had 27 percent, Republican Assemblyman Brian Dahle of Bieber had 26.6 percent, Republican Rex Hime had 9 percent and Republican Theodore Dziuba had 1.9 percent."
"Steve Baird, who dropped out of the race in February after ballots were certified, received 6.1 percent of the vote."
Why Kamala Harris didn't vote on a climate change bill after sponsoring one just like it
Sacramento Bee's KATE IRBY: "Both California Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein voted “present” on the progressive Green New Deal, declining to take a stance on the non-binding proposal that lays out goals for how the government could reduce the affects of climate change."
"Most other Senate Democrats similarly declined to vote on the Green New Deal. They criticized Republican leaders for a calling a procedural vote on the bill when they knew it had no chance of passing."
"Harris, who is running for president, had sponsored a resolution similar to the one that went to the Senate floor."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: California commercial crabbers to end season early in settlement over whale deaths -- The Chronicle's TARA DUGGAN; Dramatic sardine population decline means likely West Coast fishing ban -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE; Thousands of Oakland residents to get an earthquake alert. Here's what they need to know -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE
Sacramento takes step toward opening homeless shelter on Cal Expo property
Sacramento Bee's THERESA CLIFT: "Sacramento took a step Tuesday toward opening a homeless shelter at a Cal Expo-owned site near the intersection of Ethan and Hurley ways."
"The Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to authorize city staff to move ahead with plans for the 100-bed triage shelter in a tent-like structure, proposed by Councilman Jeff Harris. Councilwoman Angelique Ashby was not present for the vote."
"The shelter’s design, construction and operations would cost about $9.4 million for two years, funded by the state and Measure U reserves, according to a city staff report."
In Juul crackdown, some see 'double standard' for SF smoking rules
The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO: "In the past 20 years, San Francisco has banned plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic water bottles, fur, high-capacity gun magazines and cigarettes from pharmacies. Soon, if City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Supervisor Shamann Walton have their way, electronic cigarettes will join the list."
"Yet pot, alcohol and soda — which also carry health risks when consumed in excess — are widely available at dispensaries, bars and corner stores. So are traditional cigarettes."
Legionnaire's disease confirmed in dead Stockton prison inmate
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "State corrections officials are investigating a Legionnaire’s disease outbreak at a prison in Stockon after an inmate from there died at an outside hospital."
"The California Health Care Facility inmate tested positive in a post-death analysis for legionella, the bacteria that causes the disease, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation news release issued Tuesday. The disease is a type of pneumonia."
"Another patient tested positive after CHCF tested 16 more inmates, according to the release. Fourteen tested negative and one result is still pending."
READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Mario Woods' mother settles lawsuit against SF for son's fatal shooting by police -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO; Is mental illness a factor in police shootings? Sacramento commission wants answers -- Sacramento Bee's THERESA CLIFT
Berkeley has big ideas for a new pier, ferry service to SF
The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN: "More than just a place to anchor boats, the Berkeley Marina is a civic treasure on the East Bay waterfront with huge chunks of parkland, a funky playground where kids are encouraged to play with hammers and saws, and expansive bay views. But the marina has seen better days."
"The popular and historic recreation pier, which reaches more than a half mile into San Francisco Bay, has been barricaded for nearly four years, the victim of structural damage. Last year, one of two waterfront restaurants closed its doors after five decades in business. And twice in the past year, the city shooed away informal villages of people living in recreational vehicles."