Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Religious Leaders Urge Support for SB54 Immigrant Protections

Religious leaders are urging Governor Jerry Brown to support Senate Bill 54, a measure often referred to as the “Sanctuary State” bill. The measure would limit police cooperation with federal immigration officials. The religious groups say they want to be sure California continues to welcome people fleeing poverty and violence in their homelands, and to assure immigrants and refugees are treated with dignity and respect.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Contra Costa Votes for New Jail Despite Broad Opposition

A plan to build a new county jail in Contra Costa County has passed its final hurdle, despite hours of nearly unanimous public comment at a Board of Supervisors meeting. The supervisors voted to spend $25 million to match a state jail construction grant, along with $5 million a year for ongoing costs.
Christopher Martinez files this report.

Friday, June 16, 2017

State Will Oversee Federal Immigrant Detention Centers

California’s Department of Justice will start reviewing conditions in immigrant detention facilities, under new legislation passed as part of the state budget. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined several state senators and advocates in San Francisco to announce actions to increase oversight of conditions and due process concerns at jails and private detention centers used to house immigrants detained by federal immigration officials.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

State Budget Passes After Heated Debate

State lawmakers have approved a new budget, with increases in funding for social service programs and education. Health care providers will get increases in their payments for seeing Medi-Cal patients, and there are increases for schools and legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Gas Tax Dispute Roils Legislative Election Prospects

The controversy over a new transportation infrastructure bill has turned into a swirling struggle over taxes, legislative recall, and the partisan balance in the state legislature. There’s now a petition effort to recall a Democratic lawmaker who voted for the bill, a lawsuit over the recall campaign, and legislation that could change the way recall elections are run.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Tensions High During Berkeley City Council Meeting Over Affordable Housing Mitigation Fees

The Berkeley City Council considered a proposal this week to review a fee the city charges developers before they can build housing in the city. Revenue from the fee goes toward addressing the city's affordable housing problem. Backers of the fee say the money is badly needed. Critics say the fee needs further study to strike the right balance between finding affordable housing solutions and encouraging new housing in Berkeley. Pacifica's Saadia Malik reports.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

AG Sessions Defends His Role, Dodges Trump/Russia Questions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday, days after former FBI director James Comey’s damaging testimony about his firing and Trump’s relation to the ongoing Russia investigations. Sessions gave an impassioned defense of his conduct in the controversies. But he also dodged questions about his conversations with President Trump, leading to heated exchanges with democratic senators who blasted him as impeding the congressional investigation.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lawmakers Nearing State Budget Vote

State lawmakers are getting ready to vote on a new state budget agreement on Thursday. This marks the first time they’ll vote on a budget under a new rule requiring bills to be finalized three days before a vote. The biggest hitch, how to spend tobacco tax money on health care programs, seems to be resolved, though final details were not available by news time.
Christopher Martinez reports.

Self-driving robots in Berkeley now delivering take-out food

If you are walking across the UC Berkeley campus this summer, you may notice a very small wheeled unattended vehicle scooting along next to you, with aromas of hamburger and onions or General Tsaos chicken trailing behind it. These diminutive robots are operated by a new tech startup, Kiwicampus, which aims to provide cheap fast food delivery to hungry students who are too busy studying to take time out to go out to eat. These self-propelled messengers may be a harbinger of a future in which machines take over more and more of the tasks of everyday life. Tom Herriman recently watched some of the robots in action and talked to Kiwi Campus CEO Felipe Chavez. (Photo: Sergio Pachon running robot field tests on Durant Street.)

Friday, June 9, 2017

State Sets Exposure Limit for Popular Herbicide that Many Want Banned

Public Health Activists, Farmers, Researchers and members of the public packed a State EPA hearing Wednesday to set the official safe level for the herbicide Glyphosate, a top-selling herbicide for home and farming use. It's the main ingredient in Round Up and other weed killers...Glyphosate was recently put on the State’s Proposition 65 list of substances that can cause cancer. Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.