CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORMS
California campaign finance bill sent to governor
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - State lawmakers have sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill designed to strengthen California's campaign finance standards in response to a recent case that prompted the largest campaign reporting fine in state history.
The bill passed the Assembly on Monday over opposition by Republicans. They objected to a provision that gives the state Fair Political Practices Commission the authority to audit campaign funds before elections.
Several Republicans say the bill could affect elections before targeted candidates have a chance to defend themselves.
Assemblyman Richard Gordon, a Democrat from Menlo Park who carried the bill, says the bill will give voters confidence that elections are conducted fairly.
The measure responds to $15 million in anonymous donations that were funneled into two 2012 initiative campaigns.
It received final approval on a 54-19 vote.
California quake downgraded to magnitude-6.8
EUREKA, Calif. (AP) - An earthquake that struck offshore and rattled the Northern California coast has been downgraded to a magnitude-6.8.
The quake about 50 miles west of Eureka on Sunday night was initially reported as a magnitude-6.9. It was felt widely across the region and across the Oregon border, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.
The quake had produced 20 aftershocks of magnitude-3.5 or larger by late Monday morning, and more were expected over the coming days.
Phillips 66 fined $230K for SF Bay air violations
RODEO, Calif. (AP) - Phillips 66 Company has been fined $230,900 by San Francisco Bay Area air quality officials for numerous air pollution violations.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District says the settlement covers 19 violations from 2008 and 2009.
Among the violations the company was cited for failing to take flare-gas samples, inadequate measurement of flare gas flows and inaccurate ground level monitoring of hydrogen sulfide.
Air district executive officer Jack Broadbent says the district has the responsibility to protect the health of residents around refineries. He says any violations, no matter how minor, are not tolerated.
Phillips 66 spokeswoman Janet Grothe said most of the violations were disclosed by the company to the board and were fixed quickly.
2 workers burned by acid at Tesoro refinery
MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) - Two workers were burned by acid at a Tesoro refinery processing unit where a similar incident occurred last month.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that sulfuric acid spilled on two contract workers Monday at the company's Golden Eagle Refinery in Contra Costa County.
County hazard materials specialist Maria Duazo says both workers escaped serious injury because they were wearing protective garments.
A company said in a statement that the workers were decontaminated in a shower before being taken to the hospital.
The company said the incident is unrelated to last month's chemical release, where two workers not wearing protective gear sustained first-and-second degree burns.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which is investigating the previous incident, said it will also look at the latest accident.
LOS ANGELES REGISTER
Los Angeles Register newspaper to launch April 16
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Freedom Communications says it has set April 16 as the launch date for its latest newspaper venture, the Los Angeles Register.
The expansion is the latest for the ambitious newspaper company that Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz bought in 2012. The pair bulked up on newsroom staff at the Orange County Register and launched a new daily newspaper in Long Beach in August.
Freedom said Monday that the "community building" newspaper will cost $1.50 on weekdays and $2 on Saturdays and Sundays and be distributed at 7,500 locations around Los Angeles County.
The company will also launch more than a dozen monthly newspapers serving specific towns along the coast and as far east as Pomona, about 30 miles from Los Angeles. It said details on the monthlies will be available soon.
SUPREME COURT-GUN MAGAZINE BAN
NRA seeks to block gun magazine ban
WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Rifle Association is asking Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to block enforcement of a California city ordinance that bans gun magazines capable of holding more than 10 bullets.
The ban in Sunnyvale went into effect Thursday after 66 percent of voters approved it in November. The NRA challenged the law, but a federal judge ruled last week that it does not violate the Second Amendment right to own guns for self-defense.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the NRA's request for an emergency order to stop the ban from taking effect pending appeal.
The new ordinance allows gun owners to have police destroy the magazines, sell them out of state or to a licensed gun dealer, or move them out of town.
Migrants seek to enter US in San Diego protest
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Dozens of young migrants have presented themselves to U.S. border inspectors in San Diego without legal documents to protest U.S. immigration policies.
Demonstrators in green, purple and yellow graduation gowns marched through the streets of Tijuana, Mexico, to the Otay Mesa border crossing on Monday. They chanted slogans urging an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws and called on President Barack Obama to halt deportations.
Organizer Rocio Hernandez of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance says about 30 attempted to cross. By the end of this week, she says that number may rise to 150.
Many are expected to seek asylum. Similar protests were held last year at border crossings in Arizona and Texas.
The migrants call themselves "Dreamers," after failed legislation aimed at allowing some immigrants to stay in the county.
Figure in Sharper rape case posts bond
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A man booked on two aggravated rape charges in a New Orleans case also involving former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper has posted a $400,000 bond.
Bond was posted Monday for 26-year-old Erik Nunez. However, a New Orleans sheriff's spokesman said Nunez was transported to neighboring Jefferson Parish, where he faced unrelated traffic charges. Nunez's lawyer and Jefferson officials did not immediately respond to requests for details.
Sharper and Nunez each face two aggravated rape charges in New Orleans.
Sharper also faces seven rape and drug counts in connection with two alleged attacks in Los Angeles. He pleaded not guilty in that case and was freed on $1 million bail. However, he was jailed again in Los Angeles on a New Orleans arrest warrant and is awaiting a Thursday hearing.
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