From the Santa Monica Pier looking towards Malibu, California
On to today’s California headlines:
New state booster seat law gets mixed reaction
Most six- and 7-year-olds will have to wait a little longer to chuck their booster seats under a new California law that went into effect Jan. 1 and is designed to make vehicle travel safer for kids.
The new law, sponsored by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, requires children to remain in booster seats until they are 8 years old or are 4 feet 9 inches tall.
Before, children could legally avoid booster seats when they turned 6 or reached 60 pounds. The new law does away with the weight requirement.
“Seat belts are not designed for small children. That’s why we need booster seats to make sure they are safe in cars,” Evans said Friday.
Vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death and traumatic brain injury for children ages 4 to 8.
According to data from the state Department of Public Health, 113 children ages 6 and 7 died in motor vehicle crashes from 2000 to 2009 in California. An additional 414 suffered serious brain injuries.
The California Legislature will reconvene Wednesday amid a flood of red ink, a long history of partisan bickering, and a coming statewide election using newly drawn districts and a new way of choosing the top two candidates for legislative seats.
Key issues ranging from public employee pension changes to whether the state should regulate health-care insurance rates remain from last year, but political insecurity and fiscal instability are likely to make lawmakers reluctant to cast controversial votes, analysts say.
“I think they’ll be more interested in filling up their campaign accounts than filling up the law books,” said Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College.
Political science professor Larry Gerston of San Jose State University agreed, saying, “It’s hard to imagine there will be meaningful legislation (passed).”
The California Supreme Court will hear arguments on Jan. 10 about redistricting lines that will be used in 2012’s state Senate elections.
A Republican group had asked the California Supreme Court on Dec. 2 to shelve the newly drawn state Senate district map, even though the court previously declined to take up such a challenge.
The petition was filed recently by a group called Fairness and Accountability in Redistricting.
The group has submitted more than 711,000 signatures for a referendum to stop the new electoral map from being used in next year’s election.
FAIR wants the high court to prepare for the referendum by either using the previous Senate district map or combining two new Assembly districts for every Senate seat for the 2012 election.
The petition also asks for a special master on redistricting.
The referendum signatures that were submitted to counties in November are now being verified. The effort needs about 500,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.
“Because we filed well over 700,000 signatures, we are able to ask the court to consider interim remedies when the referendum qualifies and to stay the use of the Redistricting Commission’s Senate maps for the 2012 elections,” said state Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Beach, who is spearheading the effort.
1. A raft of “tax reform” initiatives on November’s ballot
2. The Prop 8 court decision
3. The Democrats’ drive to get two-thirds in the Legislature
4. The 2013 L.A. Mayor’s race
5. The move to change term limits
6. Democratic gains from California’s Congressional reapportionment
Read the rest of Sherry’s piece here.
Enjoy your morning!