Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California state senate approves tougher GPS monitoring bill

Inmates at Chino State Prison.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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. 


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LA City Council opposes creation of its own public health department

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.


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

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.)
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

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.


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Maven's Morning Coffee: what's next for Greuel, Garcetti, a profile of Jerry Brown, Villaraigosa in China

The Daily News looks at what's next for Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti -- and the candidate he defeated.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

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 Tuesday, May 28, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


In Rick Orlov's Tipoff column, a look at what's next for Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, and what the city is doing about low voter turnout.

The Los Angeles Times looks at what went wrong with the Wendy Greuel campaign. "The portrait that emerges from interviews with campaign aides and analysts begins with a candidate who underestimated the strength of her opponents in the primary election and the importance of maintaining her brand as a trusted public servant," reports The Times.


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Arrests of illegal would-be gun buyers is a low priority

People with criminal records who apply to purchase a gun in California should be prosecuted, but they seldom are.
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It may sound unlikely that a person with a criminal history that bars them from owning a gun in California would try to legally purchase one.  But it happens. A lot.

California’s Department of Justice denied permits to 7,500 people last year who applied to purchase guns from a licensed dealer. More than half failed the state’s mandatory background check  because of a domestic violence restraining order, misdemeanor or felony conviction, or because they’re wanted fugitives. 

“They don’t get the gun.  It’s as simple as that.” says Justice Department spokeswoman Michelle Gregory. "We notify the dealer so that they don’t release [a gun] to them and they can’t pick it up.”   

They don’t get the weapon, but are they prosecuted for trying to attain it? State Senator Roderick Wright (D-LA) thinks they should be. 


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