CalWatchdog Morning Read – August 16

  • CalWatchdogLogoBill curbing abuses of “policing for profit” clears major hurdle
  • Another state agency is flaunting CA environmental laws
  • Fresno the new Flint?
  • Trump is now the nominee of two parties
  • Brown proposes cap and trade in climate change bill 

Good morning! It’s only Tuesday, but the week is rolling right along. And in fact, yesterday was a landmark day for civil libertarians in the state.

The California Assembly on Monday approved one of the most significant civil-liberties reforms of the legislative session. Remarkably, the bill – to put limits on the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture by police agencies – had no major opposition after legislators and law-enforcement groups pieced together a compromise that seems to genuinely satisfy both sides. It passed by a 67-7 vote.

Asset forfeiture is the practice by which police agencies grab assets – cash, cars, boats, homes – of suspected criminals. Designed originally to fight drug kingpins, asset forfeiture has morphed into a means by which agencies bolster their budgets. The overwhelming percentage of forfeiture cases involve people who have not been convicted or even accused of a crime. 

CalWatchdog has more. 

In other news:

  • “The Department of Water Resources has been drilling for weeks in Yolo County without permits required by state law designed to protect against ground water contamination, under the belief its activities are exempt. Like other counties’ battles with Caltrans over the same issue, Yolo County believes even government agencies need to obtain permits and conform to the state’s Water Code and subsequent regulations, which clearly express that state agencies are not exempt,” CalWatchdog has more.

  • Amid concerns of a tainted water supply, authorities in Fresno have brought in outside experts to take a close look while overhauling city water practices. First residents complained about discolored water. Then city officials reviewed the city’s response and whether it had complied with laws requiring water issues be reported to state regulators. Then it was discovered that a former city water official kept hidden several hundred complaints from about 2004 to 2011, raising the prospect that thousands of young Fresno residents among the city’s half-million population may have been exposed to lead poisoning growing up, which can cause cognitive problems that persist for a lifetime, reports CalWatchdog.

  • “Donald Trump will be presented to California voters on Nov. 8 as the nominee of two different political parties, after leaders of the ultra-conservative American Independent Party voted to select the New York real estate developer as its standard bearer,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • “In a bid to preserve California’s cap-and-trade program beyond 2020, Gov. Jerry Brown has quietly proposed amending major environmental legislation to expressly authorize the regulation’s extension,” writes The Sacramento Bee.

Assembly:

  • Next floor session is Thursday. 

Senate:

  • Next floor session is Thursday.

Gov. Brown: 

  • No public events announced. 

Tips: [email protected]

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