In the News

May 18, 2017

By Patrick McGreevy

The state Senate approved a measure Thursday that could loosen sentencing for gun crimes.

Current law says anyone who uses a gun in committing a felony must have their sentence increased by three to 10 years in prison on top of the penalty for the felony. The proposal is to lift that mandate.

Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) said he introduced the bill after a 17-year-old riding in a car involved in a drive-by shooting was sentenced to 25 years in prison even though he denied shooting the gun.

May 17, 2017

Backers of California after-school programs are pushing hard for their first state funding increase in a decade, even as the Trump administration has called for cutting federal funding. Watch, listen to Sen. Holly J. Mitchell's comments HERE:

Read  transcript below.

May 16, 2017

By David Greenwald

Failed to Reduce Drug Sales, Exacerbated Racial Disparities in Sentencing, Crippled State and Local Budgets

The California Senate took a step to address what many described as an expensive failed policy that exacerbated racial disparities in sentencing by passing SB 180 by Senators Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles and Ricardo Lara of Long Beach. The bill passed along party lines, 22-13, with most Democrats supporting the reform, and most Republicans opposing.

May 16, 2017

By Jazmine Ulloa

The state Senate on Monday approved a bill that would repeal three-year mandatory sentence enhancements for some prior drug convictions, part of a reform package that lawmakers say would protect juveniles and create parity in the justice system.

Senate Bill 180, co-authored by Sens. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), narrowly moved out of the Senate on a 22-13 vote. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

May 16, 2017

By Angela Hart

ahart@sacbee.com

With after-school programs in California at risk under President Donald Trump, some state lawmakers and after-school advocates are seeking to pressure Gov. Jerry Brown to help.

Trump, in his budget proposal, has proposed eliminating funding for after-school programs. Cuts could affect 400,000 elementary and middle-school kids, according to the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance, which is organizing a rally at the Capitol beginning at 10:30 a.m.

May 16, 2017

By DON THOMPSON Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California's attorney general and state lawmakers again moved Monday in the opposite direction from the Trump administration, this time on penalties for criminals.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra termed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' blanket call for harsher penalties for criminals "crazy" and "stupid," while state senators voted to roll back penalties for drug offenders.

Sessions said Friday that federal prosecutors should file the toughest charges possible against most crime suspects.

May 15, 2017

By DANIEL MARACCINI

New legislation to overhaul California’s youth criminal justice system includes a key provision that could curb life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders.

Senate Bill 394 makes inmates eligible for a parole hearing after 25 years of incarceration if they were sentenced to life without parole when they were under the age of 18.

May 12, 2017

Link to original story HERE:

By Guy Marzorati

When Gov. Jerry Brown releases his revised budget Thursday, it will launch a five-week sprint to the finish line for state lawmakers, who face a June 15 deadline to pass a budget or forfeit pay.

A 2016 ballot measure will constrict that timeline even further, as the budget bill will need to be in print for 72 hours before a final vote is taken.

May 12, 2017

BERKELEY, Calif. – A new report finds that some California families are losing their homes and being driven into bankruptcy by the fees counties charge when kids get arrested - fees that nonetheless generate little to no profit for taxpayers.

Researchers from the UC Berkeley School of Law found that more than 50 counties charge fees for detention, probation supervision, electronic monitoring, drug testing and even representation by a public defender.