Politics, government and public life for Southern California

State Senate approves package of gun control bills

Mercer 2562

Kitty Felde/KPCC

California Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg (seen here in a file photo with former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass) pushed a bill that bans detachable ammunition magazines.

Invoking the image of recent mass shootings, Democrats in the state Legislature on Wednesday passed a series of firearms bills designed to reduce the chances for widespread carnage even as opponents warned that the measures would not keep weapons from those intent on committing horrific crimes.

Among other changes, the bills that passed between the Senate and the Assembly would expand the list of people who are prohibited from owning firearms, require permits and a fee when buying ammunition, and ban semi-automatic rifles with detachable ammunition magazines.

RELATED: To track all the gun control bills in the current legislative session, click here.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who pushed the ban on detachable magazines, said the bills would close loopholes in existing laws, keep firearms away from dangerous people and strengthen requirements for gun ownership.


Maven's Morning Coffee: Greuel consultant defends campaign and Bob Hertzberg runs for office -- again

Election Night Greuel

Grant Slater/KPCC

In a Los Angeles Times and "Which Way, LA?" appearance, Wendy Greuel's top consultant defends the way her mayoral campaign was run.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Wednesday, May 29, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


A political consultant for Wendy Greuel, John Shallman, penned a post for the Los Angeles Times that knocks the newspaper's coverage of his client's campaign. "It is easy to Wednesday-morning quarterback campaign strategy. But in this election, The Times was to Eric Garcetti what Fox News was to Mitt Romney," he writes.

On Which Way, LA?, Shallman and Eric Garcetti's consultant Bill Carrick discuss the mayor's race.


California state senate approves tougher GPS monitoring bill

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Inmates at Chino State Prison.

The California state senate Tuesday unanimously approved SB57, a bill to increase the penalties for paroled sex offenders who cut off their GPS monitoring devices.  The legislation is one of dozens of bills introduced to address problems caused by prison realignment.

In 2011, the legislature enacted realignment to shift responsibility for the incarceration and post-release supervision of low-level felons from the state to the counties.   They did that to comply with a federal court order to relieve overcrowding in state prisons.

As a result, some counties with crowded jail systems became even more crowded, and released certain offenders after serving little time.  Law enforcement officials believe that's emboldened some criminals.

State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) said he authored SB57 after the number of parolees cutting off their GPS monitors spiked to more than 4,000 last year. 


LA City Council opposes creation of its own public health department

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of publi


Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for the County of Los Angeles, testified before the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday about the challenges of creating a new public health entity.

A proposal to create a city-operated Public Health Department was opposed by the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is backing the proposal for a municipal public health unit that would assume duties managed by Los Angeles County for nearly 50 years. The group claims the county's Public Health Department has become too big and ineffective. 

The L.A. County Department of Public Health is responsible for emergency preparedness, tracking diseases, operating health clinics, and supporting programs for STD, drug and alcohol treatment.

The foundation collected signatures to place the initiative on the June 2014 ballot. The City Clerk is in the process of verifying the 41,000-plus needed signatures. A financial analysis of the proposal will be presented to the City Council on June 19.


What’s the future of LA’s marijuana dispensaries?

Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Los Angeles voters passed Measure D, which requires most medical marijuana shops in the city to close. (Photo: Finely rolled marijuana joints from one marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles.)

David Welch has been fighting the city of Los Angeles and its attempts to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries for more than five years. An attorney who represents more than 40 dispensaries in the city, Welch said the passage of Measure D by L.A. voters last week makes that fight a lot tougher now.

“The public and the courts may no longer have a stomach for endless marijuana litigation,” Welch said. “People want it to be done.”

That does not mean his clients are not considering a lawsuit challenging Measure D, which allows only the 135 dispensaries that first registered with the city in 2007. Welch argues that’s an unfair and arbitrary way to regulate businesses.

But he and others who follow the legal battles say the California Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing cities to ban dispensaries outright make legal challenges to local regulations more difficult. Welch is issuing a new warning to the pot shops he advises that are among the 135.