California bans state travel to Ohio, saying law could harm LGBT people seeking medical care

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is banning state-funded travel to Ohio over the state’s new law allowing doctors to decline medical services to people on moral or religious grounds. The Ohio measure triggered a 2016 California law that requires the attorney general to prohibit state-funded travel to states that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, according to a Friday news release from California Attorney General Rob Bonta. The ban takes effect Sept. 30, according to the release. Ohio will become the 18th state to which California won’t pay for travel, accordin...

Gavin Newsom signs bill striking the word ‘alien’ from California laws

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California acted Friday to eliminate from state law the use of the word “alien,” an immigration term used to describe unauthorized immigrants of foreign-born individuals living in the U.S. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1096, by Democratic Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, removing the word from California code. Rivas previously told The Sacramento Bee she was inspired by President Joe Biden’s immigration plan to remove the term from federal law in favor of the word “noncitizen.” The Biden administration says replacing the word recognizes the country as “a nation...

‘These are dark days’: Gov. Gavin Newsom signs laws protecting abortion rights in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed a pair of laws aimed at protecting reproductive health care in California, calling them urgent measures ahead of a new challenge to abortion rights that’s expected to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court. Newsom signed the laws during an online discussion with leaders from Planned Parenthood and abortion rights advocate NARAL. California in recent years has expanded access to abortion and sexual health care, but Newsom argued that those right are in jeopardy following a new Texas law that effectively bans most abortions and a Mississip...

PG&E warns of safety blackouts in Northern California amid risky wildfire conditions

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — PG&E Corp. warned it might shut off power to thousands of customers in portions of 13 California counties starting Monday morning because of dry wind amid critical fire weather conditions. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. sent notifications on Saturday to the customers who could be affected by this latest Public Safety Power Shutoff “to reduce the risk of wildfire from energized power lines,” according to a company news release. The potential shutoffs include 20 affected PG&E customers in Yolo County. PG&E is already under investigation in connection with the Dixie fire, which...

Trump falsely calls recall ‘rigged’ on election day. Why did he stay out of Newsom race?

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump mostly held his tongue on the California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election, but he had a last-minute complaint. The former president said the election was “probably rigged” in an interview on conservative television news outlet Newsmax last week and added that Democrats were good at rigging elections that used mail-in ballots. Trump doubled down on those claims the day before the recall election — and again on the day of — saying, “it all doesn’t matter because the California Election is totally Rigged” in a memo released by his “Save America PAC” o...

Gavin Newsom blasts Donald Trump, Larry Elder over recall election fraud claims

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday blasted former President Donald Trump and recall candidate Larry Elder for sowing mistrust in California’s upcoming election before any results have been announced. After casting his recall ballot at the California Museum in downtown Sacramento, Newsom said the former president’s rhetoric, as well as Elder’s plans to challenge the election results, are damaging to democracy. “There is a thread within the Republican Party that, if they don’t get what they want, they are willing to assault the core tenets of an election in ways that have far-reach...

What will the planet look like in 50 years? Here's how climate scientists figure it out

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Climate change scientists don't like to use the term "prediction." Rather, they're making "projections" about the future of the planet as sea levels rise, wildfires sweep the West and hurricanes become more ferocious. There's a good reason for that. In a world awash in misinformation — about medicine, politics and climate, and pretty much everything else — part of a scientist's job now involves teaching the public about how science works. Convincing the public to have faith in science means making precise, measured projects about the future. They've got to overcome the big...

Hiding from the Taliban. Caught in the crossfire. Sacramento children are trapped in Afghanistan

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Three students from the Sacramento City Unified School District went to Afghanistan to be with a family member who was having heart problems. The children — ages 6, 8 and 9 — and their mother flew there in February and attended school in distance learning through the spring. They spent seven days crammed outside an airport, trying to come home, before bombs ripped through a crowd last week. Now they're hiding in Kabul. Two San Juan Unified students, ages 9 and 15, traveled with their mother in July to Afghanistan. Their father was dying of cancer. They went there on summer...

California Democrats have long counted on Latino voters. Will they stick with Gavin Newsom now?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Maria Elena Sepulveda doesn’t know how she’ll vote in California’s upcoming gubernatorial recall election. The Sacramento homemaker is certain of one thing: No gubernatorial candidate in the crowded race has done enough to earn the vote on people like her. “I honestly haven’t decided if I’m going to vote one way or the other,” said Sepulveda, 39. California is home to 15 million Latinos, who account for about 40% of the state population. The state’s Democratic Party has long been their preferred party. One analysis by the Public Policy Institute of California shows the maj...

Gavin Newsom warns California could turn into Florida or Texas on COVID if recall succeeds

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom compared California’s COVID-19 rates to much higher ones in states with conservative governors Tuesday, warning that he could be replaced in the upcoming recall with a Republican who would make the Golden State’s response more like Texas' or Florida’s. Newsom pointed to leading recall challenger Larry Elder’s assertion that he would end the state’s mask and vaccine requirements immediately if he is elected governor. “His model is Texas and Florida, and Mississippi,” Newsom said. “We have among the lowest positivity rates in America. They have the highest ...

All national forests in California closed to visitors: No Labor Day camping, hiking, biking

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With fires raging across the state, the USDA Forest Service is closing all 20 million acres of California’s national forests to public access for two weeks beginning Tuesday. In an announcement Monday, the Forest Service said the closure will extend through at least Sept. 17. “I have made the difficult decision to temporarily close all (California) National Forests in order to better provide public and firefighter safety due to extreme fire conditions throughout the state, and strained firefighting resources throughout the country,” California’s regional forester, Jennifer...

Ordinary people, extraordinary ambition. Why 5 regular Californians are running for governor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Californians opening their mail-in ballots for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election might recognize a handful of the 46 candidates vying to replace if voters choose to oust him. Reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner and conservative talk radio host Larry Elder. So are former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox. But many of the names on the ballot are likely to be unfamiliar to most voters. They are ordinary people who decided to do something extraordinary — run for governor. Newsom will be recalled if more than 50% of voters choose to remove h...

Democrats sped up Gavin Newsom’s recall to avoid California crises. They’re happening anyway

Once the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom qualified for the ballot, Democrats who control statewide offices had a choice. They could delay the vote or speed it along. They chose to set an early recall election date, and changed state law in order to do so in late June, reasoning that things were looking up as the state re-opened and COVID-19 rates declined. Setting the date on Sept. 14 at the time appeared likely to coincide with the reopening of schools while avoiding the peak of California’s wildfire season. With ballots arriving and the election just three weeks away, however, Califo...

Death Valley hiker may have died of heat stroke, rangers say

A San Francisco man died in Death Valley, possibly from heat stroke, rangers say. Lawrence Stanback, 60, was hiking near Red Cathedral along the Golden Canyon Trail in the national park on Aug. 18, rangers said in a news release. Rangers responded at 1:40 p.m. to reports that Stanback had possibly suffered heat stroke on the trail. He was pronounced dead but high winds prevented a helicopter from landing to remove his body until nightfall, the release said. "Park rangers urge summer travelers to visit Death Valley safely by hiking only before 10 a.m. or at high elevations, drinking plenty of w...

How California's toxic wildfire smoke affects health. What the experts are saying

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The West is burning and residents are already feeling the impacts on their health. As plumes of smoke and poor air quality blanket California, residents may experience tightening in their chests, eye irritation, runny noses, sore throats, coughing attacks. The Air Quality Index, a method of air quality reporting and forecasting, rose as high as 226 in Sacramento this week. While the AQI was higher in 2018 from the Camp Fire, Sacramento County's current bad air quality still poses serious health threats. "It is concerning because we are exposed to higher pollutant concentra...

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