Solar required for new California homes starting in 2020, first-ever US state mandate
Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "California became the first state in the country Wednesday to require that new homes have solar panels on their roofs."
"The mandate, which takes effect in 2020, won unanimous approval of the California Energy Commission. One commissioner predicted the "green" lifestyle regulation will eventually go national."
"We are the first, we will not be the last," said commissioner David Hochschild. "This is a landmark vote today."
READ MORE related to solar: Think Solar Is Upending California’s Power Grid Now? Just Wait -- Bloomberg's MARK CHEDIAK
California's cannabis tax collections lag below expectations
Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "California probably won’t get a windfall in tax revenue from its newly legal marijuana market this year."
"The state collected $34 million in cannabis taxes between January and March, according to an update released by the Legislative Analyst’s Office on Tuesday."
"That’s behind the pace Gov. Jerry Brown projected in his January budget proposal. At the time, he anticipated that the state would gain about $175 million in revenue from cannabis taxes between January and June of this year."
Feds pick San Diego to test autonomous drone deliveries
From the U-T's JENNIFER VAN GROVE: "The futuristic possibilities associated with autonomous, commercial drone activity — think food and package delivery, medical supply transport or enhanced border security — will be realized in San Diego, and soon."
"Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the city was selected to participate in its experimental commercial drone program, called the “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program.”
"The city, in partnership with the city of Chula Vista and San Diego’s Regional Economic Development Corporation, applied earlier this year for the program to push the limits of commercial drone testing in real-world environments. The program is also meant help the Federal Aviation Administration develop ground rules around commercial drone use across the country."
What have they sacrificed? Most California candidates fumble the question
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "The most telling moment in the California gubernatorial debate came in response to a question that had nothing to do with politics. It had to do with sacrifice."
"People and families across Californians are making big sacrifices to live here,” said KQED-FM’s Scott Shafer, one of the panelists questioning the six top candidates at Tuesday’s debate in San Jose. “Long commutes to work. Working two jobs. Going into debt to put their kids through college."
READ MORE related to State Politics: Up for election, here's how Yvonne Walker's pay stacks up with her peers -- Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON; How California's candidates for governor want to fix the state's housing problems -- LA Times's LIAM DILLON
California pesticide use high, covers vast acreage
PAUL FELDMAN in Capitol Weekly: "Farmers in California, the nation’s top agricultural state, are applying near-record levels of pesticides despite the rising popularity of organic produce and concerns about the health of farmworkers and rural schoolchildren."
"The latest figures, released in April by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and covering 2016, show that 209 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients were used in agriculture. That was down 1.4 percent from the year before, but still the third-highest yearly total since the state began reporting the numbers in 1991. The record high of 215 million pounds came in 1998."
Santa Clara County race roiled by sexual allegations
The Chronicle's ANNIE MA: "Santa Clara City Councilman Dominic Caserta has lost support in his campaign to be elected to the county Board of Supervisors and police have asked for any victims to come forward after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged against Caserta."
"The misconduct allegations, first reported by San Jose Inside, came to light when a Santa Clara Unified School District personnel file for Caserta, who teaches civics at Santa Clara High School, was accidentally sent out to the entire school district. It was later deleted."
California counties join nationwide lawsuit against opioid manufacturers
The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO: "Marin is the latest California county to take legal action against opioid manufacturers and distributors, accusing the companies of falsely promoting the safety and efficacy of addictive prescription painkillers and contributing to the opioid epidemic."
"The move comes a day after 30 California counties, which represent 10.5 million residents, joined a similar but separate lawsuit against drug companies."
Wells Fargo owes $97 million to California employees who didn't get breaks
Bloomberg: "Wells Fargo & Co. must pay $97 million to home mortgage consultants and private mortgage bankers in California who didn't get the breaks they were entitled to under the state's stringent labor laws."
"A federal judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday agreed with the bankers and consultants that the money they were entitled to should be based not just on their hourly pay but also on their commissions. That bumped the damages for Wells Fargo well above the $25 million it had argued it owed the employees."
Families tell EPA chief of deaths linked to paint stripper
AP's ELLEN KNICKMEYER: "Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has met with families of two men whose deaths were linked to a toxic compound in a widely sold paint stripper, weeks after lawmakers pressed him about an Obama-era rule that would limit sales to consumers."
"Kathy Davis, the grandmother of a 21-year-old Nashville man who died in April 2017 after using a paint stripper containing methylene chloride, urged Pruitt to rethink his moves to roll back regulations."
"Americans are stupid. That's why we have rules. That's why we're told to wear seatbelts," Davis told the EPA administrator, according to her daughter, Wendy Hartley, who also was in the half-hour meeting Tuesday at EPA headquarters."
An LA-area gang member killed a cop nine days after he got out of jail. Are California's justice reforms to blame?
LA Times's RICHARD WINTON/ABBIE VANSICKLE: "In the heated debate over California's efforts to slash its prison population, the case of Michael Christopher Mejia has become a political rallying cry."
"An admitted gang member, Mejia was charged last year with shooting two Whittier police officers – a crime the city's mayor and many in law enforcement saw as clear evidence of the failure of less strict sentencing laws."
In political flip, Republicans unite behind prison reforms while liberals hold out
Sacramento Bee's ANDREA DRUSCH: "Left-leaning civil rights groups that have vocally championed criminal justice reforms now stand as some of the effort’s last, biggest holdouts on Capitol Hill."
"In an unusual realignment of political interests, all but one Republican and most of the Democrats on a House committee Wednesday joined together to approve major changes to the federal prison system."
"The plan includes criminal rehabilitation and job training programs designed to reduce recidivism — ideas a majority of lawmakers from both parties support."
Kamala Harris says she'll vote against Gina Haspel as CIA chief
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Sen. Kamala Harris says she will vote against confirming Gina Haspel as the next director of the CIA."
"Harris, D-Calif., said Wednesday that she is concerned about what message Haspel’s promotion would send to the spy agency and to the international community. Haspel, a 33-year CIA veteran, was involved in the agency’s program of torturing post-9/11 terrorism suspects to try to gain information, and oversaw sites in Thailand where detainees were held. Later, she supported destroying video of the torture."
Trump greets 3 Americans freed by North Korea
AP: "Three Americans who were detained in North Korea for more than a year were greeted by President Trump beneath a giant American flag after they returned to the mainland U.S. early Thursday."