CalWatchdog Morning Read – December 28

  • New laws going in effect
  • Gun sales on the rise
  • Life expectancy plateau is good news for pensions
  • Oakland for decades failed to inspect illegally converted warehouses like Ghost Ship
  • Sierra Nevada snowpack below average

Good morning. Happy Hump Day. Your Morning Read author just flew back from D.C. last night from a holiday visit. But we’re back online, with the new year, and new laws, rapidly approaching.  

Gov. Jerry Brown signed 898 bills into law last year. Most start on Jan. 1, but others are going into effect in coming years. The majority of new laws deal with minutiae that’s unlikely to affect most residents, but a number of them will have real-world consequences for broad numbers of people – on issues ranging from new driving rules to patients’ access to experimental medications.

CalWatchdog has a sampling of some of the significant new laws from last session, which range from legalized lane splitting, to registering ammo purchases, to higher minimum wages and unpaid leave. 

In other news:

  • Speaking of stricter gun and ammo laws: “(S)ales of semi-automatic rifles have more than doubled in California over last year,” reports the The San Jose Mercury News/AP

  • Pensions: “The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has not had a good 2016. Its investment returns were microscopic, it faced sharp criticism from a prominent financial website for alleged unethical behavior and Gov. Jerry Brown had to intervene to prevent the nation’s largest pension fund from continuing to enable late-career pension spiking by public employees. But year’s end brought good news of a morbid nature to CalPERS, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and all agencies with actuarial responsibilities: It appears that U.S. life expectancy has plateaued.” CalWatchdog has more. 

  • Ghost Ship Fire: “A review of public inspection records, city emails and interviews shows that the city of Oakland for more than a decade often failed to conduct safety inspections on illegally converted warehouses, even those that were well known. Without the inspections, the city could not require owners to bring the building up to code or force the residents out.” The Los Angeles Times has more.  

  • Water: “The Sierra Nevada snowpack remains almost 30 percent below average for this time of year despite a boost from the weekend storm, state water officials reported Tuesday, as agencies begin snow surveys by hand throughout the mountain range.” The San Jose Mercury News has more. 


  • Gone till January. 

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced. 

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