A new climate surcharge is coming to your restaurant bill in California
The Chronicle's JANELLE BITKER: "Some California restaurants will put another surcharge on their bills later this year — but this time, it won’t be for service or employee benefits. It will be to fight climate change."
"The initiative, announced Wednesday, is called Restore California Renewable Restaurants, and it will allow restaurants statewide the option of charging diners an additional 1%. They money would go toward California’s Healthy Soil Program, which helps farmers transition to methods that put carbon back in the soil."
"It’s a partnership between the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the California Air Resources Board and the Perennial Farming Initiative, a San Francisco nonprofit."
Cities could get denser housing after lawmakers strike deal
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "A high-profile housing bill that would force cities and counties to allow construction of more tall apartment buildings moved forward Wednesday after California lawmakers agreed to narrow the proposal by exempting small counties from some requirements."
"The bill would allow more apartments and other types of “high density” housing near transit hubs like rail stops and areas with high concentrations of jobs."
"It would diminish local government’s power to set rules about what types of buildings can be built where, a process called zoning. Many city officials spoke against the plan during the hearing."
READ MORE related to Homelessness & Housing: SB50 bill clears key hurdle -- The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF; Mayor Breed wants to use public land to build affordable housing -- The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA
Anti-vaxxers crowd California Capitol to protest exemptions restrictions bill
Sacramento Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "Hundreds of vaccine-skeptical families crammed into the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon where they battled a bill that would give the state authority over whether children receive medical exemptions for mandatory vaccines."
"The massive crowd lined up for nearly four hours to oppose Senate Bill 276, authored by state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, at a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health."
"The proposal would restrict how doctors administer medical exemptions for vaccines in California, taking that authority out of the hands of doctors and placing it with officials at the Department of Public Health."
READ MORE related to Vaccine Debate: Opponents call it a 'crime against humanity,' but vaccine bill moves forward -- LA Times's MELODY GUTIERREZ/SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA
Newsom warns of coming wildfire danger as warm weather creeps into the season
The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "As temperatures soared to summertime levels across the Bay Area, Gov. Gavin Newsom was at Tilden Regional Park in the East Bay hills Tuesday to warn that wildfires don’t only threaten California’s rural regions."
"About 25 percent of California lives on the wildland-urban interface” and other high fire-risk areas, Newsom said. “Contra Costa and Alameda County, you’re as vulnerable as Butte County and as vulnerable as Northern California counties.”
NRA sues city of L.A. over its new contract disclosure law
The LAT's DAKOTA SMITH: "The National Rifle Assn. filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a new Los Angeles lawrequiring companies that seek contracts with the city to disclose whether they have ties to the gun rights group."
"The suit was filed in federal court on behalf of the NRA, including a John Doe, who is described in court documents as an NRA member and business operator with several L.A. city contracts."
"“Plaintiff Doe participates in this action as a Doe participant because he reasonably fears retribution from the city and the potential loss of lucrative contracts should Doe’s identity be known,” the lawsuit says."
New lawsuit alleges sexual assault by former California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman
From the LAT's CHRISTINE MAI-DUC: "A California Democratic Party employee sued the organization in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday, alleging he was repeatedly groped and sexually assaulted by former Chairman Eric Bauman."
"William Floyd, who served as Bauman’s assistant from March 2016 until November 2018, claims in the suit that Bauman performed oral sex on him without his consent on at least three occasions. He said he became fearful of Bauman after the party leader allegedly told him, “If you cross me, I will break you.”
"Floyd, 28, is seeking damages for lost income, emotional distress and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The complaint names Bauman, 60, and the state and Los Angeles County Democratic parties as defendants, alleging that the two organizations failed to prevent Bauman’s harassing behavior and retained him in “conscious disregard of the rights and well-being of others.”
A farmer goes in search of a successor
From JULIA MITRIC, Capital Public Radio: "As a generational wave of farmers in California enters retirement age, these growers and ranchers face difficult choices about what to do with their farms and how to support themselves as they age."
"There is no “cookie-cutter formula” for farmers navigating this chapter, said Rod Carter, an expert in land succession planningwho has advised California farmers for several decades."
“The only thing I can tell you (is that) out of 300-plus families I’ve worked with here in California on this particular topic, none of them are the same,” Carter said."
School spending popular, taxes not so much
From CALmatters' DAN WALTERS: "For years, even decades, polling has consistently found that Californians’ highest political priority is public education."
"That trend continues in a new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, conducted in the wake of teacher strikes for higher salaries in three urban school districts."
"PPIC found that three-quarters of California adults and likely voters want Gov. Gavin Newsom to make support of the state’s K-12 education system a high priority; that a “lack of funding” rates the highest on a list of vital issues; and that 61 percent believe teacher salaries are too low."
California state workers could bring babies to work under new proposal
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "California State workers would be able to bring their babies to work under a proposal from Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-San Diego County."
"Voepel’s legislation would create a pilot program authorizing state departments to let new parents or caregivers bring babies to work starting at six weeks old. The infants would be allowed in the workplace until they reach six months old or until they begin to crawl, according to the proposal."
"The pilot program would be voluntary for state agencies and would run from January 2020 through January 2022."
GSK trial could put anti-death penalty Newsom in hot water with voters
LA Times's GEORGE SKELTON: "One year ago Wednesday, a former policeman was arrested and accused of being the Golden State Killer who raped and murdered up and down California in the 1970s and ’80s."
"If anyone deserves the death penalty, it’s the Golden State Killer — also known as the East Area Rapist, Visalia Ransacker, Creek Bed Killer or Original Night Stalker, depending on the community he terrorized."
"He is suspected of raping more than 50 women and charged with 13 serial murders."
Cannabis consumption is allowed on party buses; a lawmaker wants to protect drivers
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "A California lawmaker is looking to close what he calls a loophole in the law that could lead drivers of cannabis-oriented “party buses” vulnerable to a second-hand high."
"State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, introduced Senate Bill 625, which would require vehicles like buses, limousines and taxicabs that permit cannabis use to provide the driver with a sealed, separately ventilated space."
"SB 625 will prohibit cannabis use in these vehicles unless safety standards are followed,” Hill said while testifying in support of his bill Wednesday."
UCSF technology could be breakthrough for those who have lost ability to speak
The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY: "A team of UCSF scientists has created a computer decoder that can translate brain signals that control the way a person makes sound into synthetic speech that is almost as clear and natural as a real human voice."
"In a paper published Wednesday in Nature, the scientists describe their first-of-its-kind approach to what is essentially mind-controlled speech, using technology that could someday allow people who have lost the ability to speak due to illness or injury regain a voice."
"It’s been a long-standing goal to create technologies to restore communication for patients with severe speech disability — to produce speech directly from brain activity,” said Dr. Edward Chang, a UCSF neurosurgeon and senior author of the Nature paper. “This study provides a proof of principle. It’s possible to generate speech from brain activity, in particular the brain’s speech centers."
California could soon ban schools from suspending 'unruly' students
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "It could soon be illegal in California for schools to suspend students for being disruptive."
"A bill banning that practice for K-12 students, in both public and charter schools, sailed to passage in the California Senate on Monday, 30-8. The bill moves on now to the Assembly."
"An overwhelming body of research confirms that suspending students at any age fails to improve student behavior and greatly increases the likelihood that the student will fail, be pushed out of school and/or have contact with the juvenile justice system,” wrote Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who is the primary author of Senate Bill 419. “SB 419 helps keep students in school, increases student success rates, and increase high school graduation rates."
READ MORE related to Education: Majority of Californians support teacher wage strikes -- Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG
Prison begins treating water contaminated with deadly bacteria
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "California prison officials have started treating water with chlorine following tests that showed a dangerous bacteria was present in water throughout several facilities in Stockton."
"Hyperchlorination of the water started Wednesday, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation news release. Officials will treat water at California Health Care Facility as well as neighboring N.A. Chaderjian and O.H. Close youth correctional facilities, where inmates are using bottled water, according to the release."
"The treatment comes after an inmate who died in early March tested positive for the bacteria legionella, which can cause a deadly type of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease. Another inmate who tested positive for the disease is now in good condition, according to the release."
Trump's angry tweet about a common border incident prompts a Mexican investigation
LA Times's PATRICK J MCDONNELL: "On April 13, a Mexican military patrol spotted an unmarked vehicle on the south side of the border fence outside El Paso, and confronted the two people inside."