Latest News

California lawmakers want to make it easier for ex-cons to get job licenses

The San Francisco Chronicle, Melody Gutierrez

SACRAMENTO — California prison inmates are offered training in automotive repair, cosmetology, construction and other fields as part of their rehabilitation. Then, when they get out, state licensing boards often bar them from those professions because of their convictions.

Some Democratic lawmakers want to change that, saying that if California is truly interested in rehabilitating inmates, it needs to make it possible for them to get jobs.

Could New York City Parks Be Going Plastic Bottle-Free?

The New York Times, Winnie Hu

The Ballfields Café in Central Park sells more than 400 bottled waters a week to hot-dog lovers washing down the salt, families on the go and tourists from places where the tap water is undrinkable.

But all those bottles go into an endless stream of plastic that has overflowed trash cans, clogged landfills and choked oceans.

Bay Area legislator moves to protect immigrants, others in court cases

The San Francisco Chronicle, Bob Egelko

A Bay Area lawmaker is proposing to allow Californians to file court cases anonymously if they can show that use of their names might expose them to some type of harm. Getting deported, for example.

“Given the national climate, many immigrants are extremely hesitant to appear in court or take part in proceedings for fear of deportation,” Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, author of AB2185, said Monday.

Housing crisis: California bill aims to help the ‘missing middle’

The Mercury News, Katy Murphy

SACRAMENTO — As the state’s costliest housing markets and high rents threaten to force all but the highest-paid workers into ever-longer commutes, California lawmakers have introduced a bill to help more teachers, firefighters and other middle-income workers live close to their jobs.

Open-source voting in SF may require match of state, local funds

San Francisco Examiner, Joshua Sabatini

If San Francisco wants an open-source voting system that supporters say would be more reliable and transparent than current proprietary machines, it could cost between $11.5 million and $27.8 million, according to a new consultant’s report.

The report comes as supporters of an open-source system, which includes the Elections Commission, are calling on Mayor Mark Farrell to help fund the effort.