The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.
On to today’s California headlines:
U.S. attorney talks pot dispensary crackdown
The federal Justice Department’s recent crackdown on medicinal marijuana dispensaries is expected to be the topic of heated debate at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon today.
Benjamin Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, is scheduled to address the issue today at a luncheon sponsored by the Sacramento Press Club.
Medicinal marijuana growers and dispensaries have been hit with raids, property seizures and criminal charges since the Justice Department signaled a push to pursue enforcement of federal drug laws even in states where medicinal marijuana is legal.
Wagner and California’s other U.S. Attorneys have argued that California’s voter-approved law legalizing the use, cultivation and possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been “hijacked by profiteers.” Supporters of the state’s 16-year-old medical marijuana law say the move is putting dispensaries out of business and undermining the voter-approved Proposition 215.
And, we all know where the Feds can go and look for bogus medical marijuana shops, now don’t we? For a refresher, look at the photo above.
Jerry Brown’s proposed budget counts on too much revenue, analyst says
Gov. Jerry Brown is counting on $6.5 billion too much for his proposed budget, even with Facebook’s stock sale on the horizon, according to a new economic review by the state’s fiscal analyst.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has taken a more pessimistic view of capital gains in California through June 2013, though it acknowledges in its new report that predicting those totals is “notoriously difficult.”
California’s heavy reliance on volatile capital gains income has been a significant reason the state has found it so difficult to budget in recent years.
The analyst’s latest revenue estimate is not far from its November forecast, when it pegged California’s deficit at nearly $13 billion.
But the latest report is noteworthy because updated data has not changed its position that Brown is too optimistic in his budget.
John and Ken return to KFI, meet with black delegation
A representative of the Los Angeles Urban League and other African-Americans met Monday with KFI officials and talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, who resumed their afternoon shock-talk show after two weeks of suspension. The time off was billed by the station as a response to a quip on the show, right after Whitney Houston died, that likened the black singer to a “crack ho.
Aerospace leader says state should try to keep firms from fleeing
California is at risk of losing aerospace companies to other states if it doesn’t become more business friendly, said Stuart Witt, chief executive of the Mojave Air & Space Port.
Speaking at the Next-Generation Suborbital Research Conference, a commercial space conference in Palo Alto, Witt said that California politicians need to do more so that other states don’t lure the emerging commercial space industry away from the Southland.
Just last August, aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. moved its corporate headquarters from Century City to Falls Church, Va. The company joined an exodus of military companies — including Lockheed Martin Corp., Science Applications International Corp. and Computer Sciences Corp. — that have abandoned Southern California since the mid-1990s.
In Mojave, several commercial space ventures, such as Scaled Composites and XCOR Aerospace Inc., are developing spacecraft to lift paying customers into outer space.
“Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and other states, with the support of their governors, legislators and business communities, are visiting aerospace businesses at the Mojave Air & Space Port in an effort to recruit them and their highly skilled jobs to their states,” Witt said.
He brought up British billionaire Richard Branson’s commercial space venture Virgin Galactic as an example. The company builds and tests its spacecraft in Mojave, but its headquarters are in New Mexico, where former Gov. Bill Richardson helped secure state loans to build a $209-million space port.
California prisons clearing out
Images of California’s overcrowded prisons are so striking that the U.S. Supreme Court included two photographs of the problem in last year’s landmark opinion that forced the state to address the issue.
On Friday, state corrections leaders will announce they have made an important step toward their goal to ease overcrowding, finally getting rid of the last of thousands of bunks that were crammed into day rooms, gymnasiums and other spaces to hold inmates.
In a news conference scheduled to be held at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, corrections chief Matthew Cate and other officials are scheduled to announce the end of what the department itself calls “iconic images of (the) overcrowding crisis.”
“As of the very end of last week, there were no more inmates currently sleeping in them,” corrections spokesman Jeffrey Callison said Monday.
The use of what the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation calls “nontraditional beds” peaked at just under 20,000 in 2007, Callison said.
Their use stemmed from the prison system at one point holding twice as many inmates as the 80,000 it was designed to house.
Enjoy your morning!