Californians Could Sue Gunmakers Under New Bill

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California Today

Lawmakers are also considering a proposal to require parents to tell schools if they have firearms in the home.

Soumya Karlamangla

Feb. 9, 2022, 8:26 a.m. ET

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Residents brought flowers to Oxford High School in Michigan after four students were killed in November.
Credit...Nick Hagen for The New York Times

As with yesterday’s newsletter, today I’ll be walking you through some of the latest legislation that California lawmakers are considering adding to the books.

The state legislative session kicked off on Jan. 3 and legislators have until Feb. 18 to introduce everything they hope to get passed this year. If you’ve noticed a flurry of new bills making the news in recent weeks, that’s why.

At the moment, these proposals are essentially just ideas and have a long way to go before becoming laws, if they ever make it that far.

Each would need to pass in the Assembly and the Senate and then be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Some would even require approval from voters.

S.B. 906: Gun violence in schools

Part of an effort to reduce school shootings, this bill would require parents to inform schools if there are firearms at home and provide details about how accessible the weapons are.

It would also mandate that, in the event of a threat of school violence, administrators immediately contact law enforcement and search students’ campus property for firearms. Though schools already have the ability to call the police and search students, S.B. 906 proposal would make it mandatory if there’s a credible danger.

The proposal is a response to a recent high school shooting in Michigan in which school leaders and the shooter’s parents have been accused of failing to respond to troubling signs.

“As we saw in Michigan, a school was notified of a credible threat, and then hesitated to take action and that led to tragic results,” Anthony Portantino, the senator who wrote the bill, told LAist.

A.B. 1594: Suing gun makers

Angered by a Texas law that allows private citizens to sue abortion providers, Newsom called for legislation in December that would give ordinary Californians legal standing to file lawsuits against purveyors of restricted firearms.

Less than a month later, lawmakers introduced a bill in the same spirit. This proposal would allow people and governments to sue gun manufacturers or dealers for liability in shooting deaths or injuries.

Read more from The Guardian.

A.B. 1706: Clearing cannabis convictions

A recent investigation by The Los Angeles Times found that tens of thousands of Californians still have felonies, misdemeanors and other cannabis convictions on their records despite a 2018 law that required the state to clear them.

A.B. 1706 would speed up the process by setting new deadlines to dismiss and seal many cannabis convictions.

A.B. 1725: Increasing weed penalties

Under this proposal, California would instead increase charges associated with drug crimes.

A.B. 1725 would increase the penalty for illegally growing more than six cannabis plants from a misdemeanor to a felony. The maximum jail time would rise to three years from one.

While most bills require a majority vote in the Senate and the Assembly to pass, this measure would need two-thirds approval from both houses.

A.B. 1603 and A.B. 1599: Harsher punishments for retail thefts

California voters in 2014 passed Proposition 47, a ballot measure that recategorized some nonviolent crimes, such as writing bad checks and shoplifting, as misdemeanors instead of felonies.

Now, amid a rise in smash-and-grab burglaries, some lawmakers are looking to undo parts of the law to try to further deter thefts.

A.B. 1603 would make it so that a person who steals more than $400 of goods could be charged with a felony. The current threshold is $950.

A.B. 1599 would repeal Proposition 47 altogether and change a litany of crimes now considered misdemeanors back into felonies.

Both of these bills would have to be approved by voters to be enacted.


How Eileen Gu, an Olympic freeskier from California, manages fear.


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Credit...Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
  • Newsom challenger: State Senator Brian Dahle, a Republican, announced an improbable campaign to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom, The Associated Press reports.

  • State politics: California Republicans elected a new leader in the State Assembly, The Associated Press reports.

  • John Williams: The New York Times profiled the famed composer of “Star Wars” and “Jaws” on his 90th birthday on Tuesday. Williams says he will soon step away from film, but he has no intention of slowing down.

  • Sick leave: A bill that would require employers to offer Covid-related paid sick leave wouldn’t apply to at least one in four workers in California, CalMatters reports.

  • College athletes: An advocacy group filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against the N.C.A.A., the Pac-12 Conference, U.C.L.A. and the University of Southern California — the latest step in a push to give employee status to college athletes, The Associated Press reports.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

  • Weather warning: A heat watch is in effect in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside Counties between Wednesday and Sunday, with temperatures expected to reach as high as 91 degrees.

  • U.C.L.A. sex abuse settlement: The University of California will pay $243 million to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit against a U.C.L.A. gynecologist.

  • Perjury claims: A former spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles wants him charged with perjury for denying that he knew about a former aide’s alleged sexual misconduct, The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Mayor’s race: Representative Karen Bass unveiled her public safety plan and said that, if elected mayor of Los Angeles, she would move 250 police officers out of desk jobs and into patrols, The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Trevor Bauer: The Dodgers pitcher will not face criminal charges after being investigated for sexual assault, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

  • Abortion resolution: Two Fresno council members removed a reproductive freedom resolution from their agenda. City leaders are arguing against it anyway, The Fresno Bee reports.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

  • Oakland officer killing: A former U.S. Air Force sergeant plans to change his not guilty plea in the fatal shooting of a federal security officer during 2020 protests against police brutality, The Associated Press reports.

  • Vacant-home tax: Lawmakers and activists proposed a ballot measure that would tax property owners if homes were left empty for too long, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.


Carrot-parsnip soup.


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Credit...Jason Henry for The New York Times

This winter, where to see sea lions in California.


With Valentine’s Day coming up, we’re asking about love: not who you love, but what you love about your corner of California.

Email us a love letter to your California city, neighborhood or region — or to the Golden State as a whole — and we may share it in an upcoming newsletter. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.


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Credit...Kelsey McClellan for The New York Times

The original wedding that Edgar Alonzo and Beatriz Rivera planned for 2020 was to be held at the Berkeley Rose Garden. But the pandemic wrecked their plans.

Once they regrouped and scheduled an intimate ceremony at San Francisco City Hall for Oct. 1, 2021, rumors that bigger venues might reopen were circulating. So they scrapped that idea too.

Then they settled on a wedding at Stern Grove park in San Francisco. But a water main break forced them to cancel that as well.

Finally, Alonzo and Rivera returned to their first wish: to marry at the Berkeley Rose Garden.

On Nov. 20, 2021, as 100 guests watched from the garden’s tiered steps, Alonzo and Rivera enjoyed the happy day they had long awaited.

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