California, Canada sidestep Trump, ink deal on emissions
AP: "California picked up an important partner its long-running dispute with the Trump administration over vehicle emissions and fuel economy by announcing a deal with Canada to work on pollution reductions."
"The agreement comes as the state is in a standoff with its own federal government on the same issues, with little hope of resolving the dispute outside of court."
"Few details were offered under the deal announced Wednesday, but it’s clear that Canada would be amenable to stricter regulations that now match those in California and 13 other states, setting up a conflict with the Trump administration’s plans to relax the standards. Canada is in the midst of reviewing its requirements."
PG&E power line linked to 2500-acre wildfire in Monterey County, Cal Fire official says
Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER: "A small fire that broke out this week in eastern Monterey County may be linked to a PG&E Corp. power line, state fire officials said Wednesday."
"Cal Fire spokesman Capt. Tim Berget said investigators believe the Lonoak Fire, east of King City, is “power line-related” but he gave no further details."
"Billions in liabilities from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires drove PG&E into bankruptcy in January and has plunged the utility into a crisis that has consumed lawmakers, regulators, investors and Gov. Gavin Newsom."
Newsom's biggest budget win? Lawmakers didn't break his heart
CALmatters' LAUREL ROSENHALL: "Love was in the air early this year when the newly-inaugurated Gov. Gavin Newsom first proposed his first-ever state budget. Pacing the stage of a packed auditorium, he unveiled his ambitious, $209 billion plan with the studiousness of a policy wonk and the charm of an eager politician. He praised lawmakers by name, tossing verbal valentines at fellow Democrats whose majority party support he needed to approve the budget."
“I love this Legislature,” the governor declared."
"As budget negotiations heated up over the spring, however, lawmakers weren’t as easily wooed as it may have seemed at the outset."
DMV won't face independent review over handling of Real ID, Motor Voter
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "For the second time in the past 12 months, California Democrats declined to open an independent investigation into the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles."
"The audit request was billed as the most sweeping review of the DMV’s troubled roll-out of a voter registratio program and a new federal ID requirement that has put the state at odds with the Trump administration."
"The proposal would have also examined the California Department of Technology’s role in implementing Motor Voter — a program that launched in April 2018 to automatically register eligible voters when they visit DMV offices. About 105,000 registration errors have occurred since the program’s launch."
Sikh drivers are transforming US trucking. Take a ride along the Punjabi American highway
LA Times's JAWEED KALEEM: "It’s 7:20 p.m. when he rolls into Spicy Bite, one of the newest restaurants here in rural northwest New Mexico."
Ten Democratic presidential candidates try to make the most of a crowded debate
The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH/JOE GAROFOLI: "Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls spent two hours introducing themselves to America on Wednesday night, telling a national audience how they would deal with problems like immigration, health care and economic inequality."
"And the party will do it all over again on Thursday, with 10 more candidates in a speed-of-light debate from Miami."
"For Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is running third in the polls, it was a chance to put her call for economic equality before a crowd that stretched far beyond the party faithful who show up for her rallies and town halls."
READ MORE related to Democratic Presidential Debate: This is not your father's Democratic Party: Debate shows how leftward it has moved -- LA Times's JANET HOOK; Eight takeaways from Night 1 of the Democratic debate -- LA Times's EVAN HALPER; O'Rourke, Booker and Castro dust off their Spanish in Democratic debate -- LA Times's MICHAEL FINNEGAN/MELISSA GOMEZ; What Harris' past debate performances tell us about how she'll do tonight -- BANG's CASEY TOLAN
Check your paycheck -- Nearly 1,000 state workers didn't get raises after their last contract
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "California is struggling to give raises to state workers who were supposed to get them last year even as a new contract year begins.
"Nearly 1,000 members of Professional Engineers in California Government reported payroll errors after their 2018 contract was signed in September, and 300 are still trying to recover pay they believe they are owed, according to emails and interviews."
"New contracts for other unions are now on the bargaining table. In the first week of July, five unions’ contracts will expire. One of the unions, the California Correctional Peace Officers’ Association, has negotiated a new agreement that is awaiting approval from the Legislature."
OP-ED: Proposed scrap metal recycling rules poorly thought out
ROBERT W. HALL in Capitol Weekly: "Imagine if a government agency required nurses to endure the same costly and lengthy training as surgeons. Such overreach would result in fewer nurses and the demand for such skilled labor would reach a crisis."
"This kind of government overreach should never occur. After all, government is expected to develop measured policies that strike the balance between protecting the public’s health and safety while fostering the supply of private services that have a public benefit."
"While this extraordinary overreach is not occurring in the health care industry, it is when it comes to California’s regulation of the scrap metal recycling industry."
New California law requires background checks for ammunition
BANG's NICO SAVIDGE: "A California law going into effect next week aims to fix what supporters describe as a glaring gap in gun control: While background checks can stop people with criminal records from buying firearms, there is no such system in place to keep them from loading up on bullets."
"Starting Monday, anyone looking to buy ammunition in California will be subject to a background check. Voters approved the first-in-the-nation requirement as part of 2016’s Proposition 63, the slate of gun control measures that also banned the possession of high-capacity magazines."
"It’s not clear, though, whether the law would have prevented a quadruple homicide and suicide inside a San Jose home earlier this week that was carried out by a man whose criminal record was supposed to bar him from possessing guns or bullets."
Despite water levels, spillway release 'unlikely'
OROVILLE MERCURY-REGISTER: "For those wondering if the gates to the Oroville Dam’s spillway will be opened this summer, the answer from the Department of Water Resources is “unlikely.”
"The DWR said Friday that levels for the reservoir are full, but stable. The current water elevation of Oroville reservoir is 895 feet."
"Snowpack from the Feather River has mostly melted, while use of the main Oroville Dam spillway to manage lake levels is “unlikely,” officials said in a press release. However DWR did confirm that if new circumstances arise, causing the department to activate the spillway, the public and media would be notified immediately."
Butte County approves $586 million budget
Chico ER's BRODY FERNANDEZ: "Butte County’s recommended budget for fiscal year 2019-20 will total $586.6 million as county supervisors took action and approved the fiscal year budget Tuesday afternoon."
"The budget is an increase of $33.6 million from fiscal year 2018-19 according to the county’s website. Additionally, from last year the budget includes increases in the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility Fund, Road Fund, Behavioral Health Fund, Social Services Fund and the General Fund."
"The recommended budget for the general fund is $172.6 million, which is a slight increase of 1 percent from fiscal year 2018-19."
Ghost Ship trial: Firefighter says warehouse conditions 'seemed fine' before blaze
The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "An Oakland firefighter who helped move his daughter out of the Ghost Ship warehouse about three years prior to the catastrophic fire that killed 36 people said his safety concerns for her while living there were minimal."
"Daniel Keenan, a 28-year fire veteran who specializes in hazardous materials, said the warehouse’s location in Oakland’s Fruitvale district caused him more anxiety than his daughter’s living quarters."
“I was most concerned ... about her getting to and from her car,” Keenan said Wednesday in the eighth week of testimony in the Ghost Ship criminal trial. “The space seemed fine
Why 'technical' violations are still sending ex-cons back to California lockups
Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL FINCH II: "Missed appointments, failed drug screens and unpaid fines are still sending a large number of former convicts back behind bars for probation and parole violations, despite recent efforts by California to overhaul its sentencing rules and end a decades-long trend of mass incarceration."
"A new study by the Council of State Governments shows that a quarter of the people incarcerated in California in 2018 were previously on probation or parole. In 2017, more than 12,000 former inmates were sent back to lockups, mostly county jails — 35 percent of whom were being locked up again because of so-called technical violations of their supervised release."
"Under the law, people on parole or probation can be sent back to prison or jail for “technical” or “substantive” violations. Technical violations are usually anything that violates the terms of their release, such as possessing a firearm, failing to maintain a job or not passing a drug test. Substantive violations are new crimes committed while on probation or parole."
READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Are California cops abusing privacy rights with license plate readers? Lawmakers open inquiry -- Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON