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The People's Business

An A-to-Z guide to what our legislators have been up to in Sacramento

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Hound dogs aren't just the subject of an Elvis Presley song; there's a legal designation set up by state Fish and Wildlife people to differentiate between regular dogs and licensed hound dogs that are used to chase off bears or other beasts, especially when said beast wanders onto ranchland in search of a BLM employee or a quickie burger. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, the Tea Party GOP candidate for governor, has offered a bill that repeals the state-mandated designation, so that any ol' dog can go right ahead and chase a bear, so you can shoot it—in the name of sport. Sport-hunting bears and bobcats with hounds was banned in 2012. Just let it go, Tim. (AB 2205)

Immigration is this amazing thing that helped stand up the United States of America as it strode into "its century" (the 20th) and needed a whole bunch of new people to man the ramparts of industrial capitalism. These days, people come to this country because they think, wow, we have some pretty great stuff going on over here: Democracy, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, Game of Thrones—what's not to love? Then they get here, and Louie Gohmert wants to beat the crap out of them. Some do everything they can to assimilate, which includes paying taxes. A non-citizen can get a taxpayer ID number. But you can file your taxes like a good citizen-to-be and still find yourself on the receiving end of a deportation order. Seems a little unfair? Assembly Member Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, has offered a bill that would ask the feds to lay off on deporting tax-paying immigrants, regardless of their status. Good luck with that. (AB 2014)

Juvenile justice is a big issue these days, as states grapple with progressive notions like "restorative justice" in an economic climate that often leaves young people of limited means with few options beyond Burger King or a life of crime. The "schools-to-prison pipeline" plagues lawmakers' best efforts to undo or undermine that awful dynamic, and Assembly Member Nora Campos, D-San Jose, has offered an amendment to the state penal code that requires corrections officials, when seeking grant monies for job-training programs and the like, to include at-risk youth as a target population. (AB 1920)

Klansmen of the Ku Klux variety won't like it much, but 2014 marks the 60th Anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that set the stage for desegregation in schools and universities. A resolution introduced by Assembly Member Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, reads, in part, "The United States Supreme Court's decision became the legal impetus to school desegregation throughout the U. S., and led to one of the most profound social movements in the history of the United States." Tell it to the "New Jim Crow" segregationists who are trying to turn that clock back. (ACR 140)

Low-income people get thirsty, too. And yet they are often faced with immense water bills that they can't pay, or can only do so after a visit to the local payday lender. Assembly Member Yamada has offered a bill that would set up a low-income water-rate-assistance program to provide subsidies and water bill discounts. (AB 1434)

Marijuana is very popular in California, sources say, but the state's medical dispensary laws are a hodge-podge of bong-spillage messy whereby localities have created laws that don't carry over into the next bud-unfriendly burg. So what's good to go in Santa Rosa isn't necessarily so in Santa Ana, almost 20 years after Proposition 215 was approved by California voters. Earlier this year, the conservative California League of Cities and the California Police Chiefs Association wisely dropped their longstanding opposition to a uniform set of dispensary laws throughout the state. Now Sen. Lou Correa, D-Anaheim, has introduced a bill offering a platform for statewide regulation. We have high hopes for its passage, which looks pretty good given the twin pillars of dope-hate have dropped their opposition. Heck, the police chiefs even helped write the bill. (SB 1262)

Naxolone: ever heard of it? There's a reason why you haven't—California pharmacies have been forbidden from dispensing the opioid-overdose medication to families of heroin addicts. While we appreciate that the preferred stupid-drug of choice in these parts is meth, heroin's the sleeper in this unfortunate bid for bragging rights to which drug can ruin more lives. We're all human, we've all read William S. Burroughs, and people still shoot their smack. When they do, it's a problem. Naxolone is an effective way to save you from an overdose croak-out. Cut to the scene where John Travolta plunges a needle into Uma Thurman's heart. The proposal by Assembly Member Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, is a far-less-draconian life-saving measure. (AB 1535)

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