CLEAN VEHICLES-CARPOOL LANES
Lawmakers extend carpool perk for clean vehicles
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate has approved two bills designed to encourage motorists to buy low-polluting vehicles.
Both extend existing programs that allow solo drivers to use carpool lanes as an incentive.
SB286 by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco passed the Senate Wednesday on a 30-8 vote. It would extend through 2018 the white sticker program that applies to plug-in hybrid vehicles and others that qualify as "inherently low emission" and "traditional zero emission" vehicles.
AB266, carried by Democratic Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, extends the green sticker program for electric, hydrogen and natural gas-fueled cars.
Bloom's bill, originally sought by former Democratic Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield of Woodland Hills, passed the Senate Tuesday on a 29-8 vote. It now returns to the Assembly for final approval.
CALIFORNIA-SEPT 11 PLATES
Senate approves reopening 9/11 scholarship program
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate has approved reopening a college scholarship program for the relatives of Californians who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, although its fate in the Assembly is unclear because there is so little time left in this year's legislative session.
Republican Sen. Ted Gaines of Rocklin and Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier of Concord introduced SB384 after an investigation by The Associated Press last year. A state audit confirmed that state officials failed to notify many of those who were eligible before the application deadline for the 9/11 Memorial Scholarship Program.
The bill would reopen the scholarship program for two years.
The Senate passed the bill 37-0 Wednesday, sending it to the Assembly.
But the Assembly would have to waive several deadlines if it's to be considered before lawmakers adjourn next week.
Bill allows discretion in charging drug offenses
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Assembly has approved a bill that gives county prosecutors the option of charging lower-level, non-violent drug offenses as misdemeanors instead of felonies.
The bill from Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco cleared the Assembly Wednesday on a 41-30 vote. Leno says his bill will reduce incarceration costs by allowing flexibility in how prosecutors and judges handle some drug cases.
Anyone involved in selling or manufacturing drugs would not be eligible for the lesser charges.
Supporters include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Drug Policy Alliance and the California Public Defenders Association.
Republicans opposing the bill said lessening penalties would send the wrong message. Assemblyman Brian Jones of Santee said drug users need "tough love," not coddling.
SB649 returns to the Senate for a final vote.
IMMIGRANT DETENTIONS-SAN FRANCISCO
SF law proposed to ban immigrant detentions
(Information in the following story is from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A proposal being considered by supervisors would make it illegal for San Francisco law enforcement officials to detain someone solely on the basis of immigration status.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the proposed law will be considered by a board committee made up of its supporters Thursday, where it is expected to be approved.
Supervisor John Avalos, who authored the proposal, argues that the current situation has created a "dragnet" that is wrongfully sweeping up innocent people. He says there needs to be a "basic standard of proof" to show that someone is undocumented and deserves to be detained.
Police Chief Greg Suhr says he wants to see convicted violent felons, sex offenders and those with prior weapons possession convictions exempted from the law.
MORMON MISSIONARY-CAR CRASH UPDATE
LDS missionary in car crash not expected to live
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — LDS officials say a 19-year-old Mormon missionary from California who was critically injured in a car crash in Idaho is not expected to live.
Taylor Ward, of Vacaville, Calif., and another missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were in a two-car crash Tuesday evening in southeastern Idaho. Ward was the passenger in a sedan driven by fellow missionary John Floyd of Deep Run, N.C.
Idaho state police said Floyd drove through a stop sign. The car then collided with a pickup truck.
Ward was taken to Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho, where he was being kept on life support as his family makes decisions about donating his organs.
LDS church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement Wednesday that The young missionary is not expected to live.
Judge denies Calif. school's suit over AP tests
(Information in the following story is from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com)
MILLBRAE, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled the College Board and Educational Testing Service was right invalidate more than 200 Advanced Placement tests at a San Francisco Bay Area high school due to "seating irregularities."
The San Jose Mercury News reports the ruling Wednesday is a rejection of Mills High School students' bid for a temporary restraining order forcing a reinstatement of their test scores.
The College Board maintained the school in Millbrae failed to follow protocols during the administration of 11 exams to 224 students in May.
The protocols cover seating, including the distance between desks, the direction students face, and the size of tables at which more than one student is seated.
School district officials, several students and their attorney did not immediately respond Wednesday to calls and emails seeking comment.
Yahoo unveils new logo
SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — Yahoo has adopted a new logo for the first time since shortly after the Internet company's founding 18 years ago.
The redesigned look unveiled late Wednesday is part of a makeover that Yahoo Inc. has been undergoing since the Sunnyvale, Calif., company hired Google executive Marissa Mayer to become Yahoo's CEO 14 months ago.
Mayer has already spruced up Yahoo's front page, email and Flickr photo-sharing service, as well as engineered a series of acquisitions aimed at attracting more traffic on mobile devices.
The shopping spree has been highlighted by Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr, an Internet blogging service where the company rolled out its new logo.
The logo was shown in purple spelling out the word Yahoo!, with no letters touching and ending with an exclamation point.
1,200 Calif. chickens to retire on the East Coast
(Information in the following story is from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Their egg-laying days behind them, some 1,200 Northern California chickens are heading for a cozy retirement on the East Coast, where they will live outside of cages and have plenty of room to spread their wings.
The Sacramento Bee reports that an anonymous $50,000 donation is funding Operation Chicken Airlift, which will send the hens on a cross-country cargo flight to upstate New York on Wednesday evening.
From there the white Leghorn chickens will be ferried to different sanctuaries. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in New York, where 200 of the birds will end up, is providing perches, grass and even a wooded area where they can roam.
Laying hens are generally too lean for human consumption and are usually slaughtered after they stop providing eggs.