In this file:


·         California lawmakers unveil plan to hold gun makers liable for shootings

·         A Fresh New Year Means Fresh New Restrictions on Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

·         California can’t isolate itself, try as it might | Dan Walters



California lawmakers unveil plan to hold gun makers liable for shootings


By Hannah Wiley, Los Angeles Times

Jan 4, 2022


SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to target the gun industry through private lawsuits is coming together in legislation unveiled Tuesday that would allow gun violence survivors and other citizens to sue firearm manufacturers and dealers.


In December, the governor called on the Legislature and Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta to model legislation after a Texas law that bans most abortions after six weeks and gives private people the ability to sue providers and clinics as tool to help enforce it. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to block the law, and Newsom responded by pledging to implement the the same legislative prototype in California to go after firearms.


“So long as the United States Supreme Court has set a precedent which allows private citizens to sue to stop abortions in Texas, California will use that same ability to save lives,” Newsom spokesperson Daniel Lopez said in a statement Tuesday.


Assembly Bill 1594 would hand the state, local governments, gun violence survivors and victims’ families the power to pursue legal action against “irresponsible, reckless or negligent gun manufacturers, importers and dealers,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, one of three Democrats pushing the plan. The proposal predates the Texas bill and replicates a 2021 New York gun control law that targets manufacturers, Ting said, but still “gets at the spirit of what the governor called for.”


“The governor was asking for the ability to sue the gun manufactures, the gun industry, and we believe this achieves that,” Ting said. “This puts the power back in the hands of people.”


The bill would leverage a loophole in federal law that largely shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liability when their products are involved in a crime, Ting said. He noted that companies and sellers are still liable under state regulations, and AB 1594 aims to hold them accountable to those in California such as required rigorous background checks and a ban on sales to people prohibited from owning firearms. The proposed law would ensure distributors and manufacturers are not causing a “public nuisance” with their products or “engaging in unfair business practices,” Ting said.


“What we are quite simply trying to do is just to make sure gun manufacturers are really held responsible for the harm that guns do on our streets everyday here in California,” he added...





A Fresh New Year Means Fresh New Restrictions on Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

From California to Washington, D.C., new restrictions on gas-powered landscaping equipment are blanketing the nation.


Christian Britschgi, Reason



Like so many freshly fallen leaves, new restrictions on gas-powered landscaping equipment are blanketing the nation.


Washington, D.C., rang in the new year by implementing a prohibition on gas-powered leaf blowers that the city had passed in 2018. Beginning January 1, landscaping companies and individual lawn care enthusiasts alike are now subject to $500 fines for using gas-powered blowers in the city.


Just a few weeks prior, the California Air Resources Board (CARB)—the state's primary air pollution regulator—voted to ban the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawnmowers beginning in 2024.


CARB's decision doesn't prevent the use of gas-powered landscaping devices. But an increasing number of cities in the state, including places like Oakland and Hayward, are going that mile by passing municipal bans this past year.


Leaf blowers' critics argue their noise and noxious emissions far outweigh the convenience they add to tidying lawns and clearing sidewalks.


"I hear from residents all of the time about the nuisance and the noise that is created. It prevents them from working and it prevents them enjoying the peace in their own homes," said D.C. City Councilmember Mary Cheh during a 2018 hearing on the city's then-proposed leaf blower ban...





California can’t isolate itself, try as it might | Dan Walters


Dan Walters, Opinion, Lompoc Record (CA)

Jan 6, 2022


The first Europeans to visit California were Spanish explorers who assumed it was an island and named it for a fictional island in a 16th century Spanish novel, occupied by a band of woman warriors led by a queen named Calafia.


Later, of course, it was understood that California is geographically attached to North America, a situation unlikely to change unless a cataclysmic earthquake detaches it. Nevertheless, Californians have often seen themselves as somehow separate from the rest of the United States.


That tendency, or conceit, manifests itself in unique policies whose advocates contend will position the state as a leader of global stature — a phenomenon that has become more pronounced as the state’s political orientation has shifted leftward into one-party dominance.


The current governor, Gavin Newsom, is particularly prone to making first-in-the-nation claims, but he is merely verbalizing an attitude that had already become ingrained in California’s culture.


The spate of new laws that went into effect this month provides multiple examples of the syndrome, such as one — enacted by voters in 2018, not the Legislature and the governor — that requires bacon and other pork products sold in the state to come from pigs bred and raised under presumably humane circumstances.


Other new laws unique to California include a $15 per hour minimum wage, protections for warehouse workers (aimed at Amazon) from work quotas, hourly wages for garment workers to replace piecework, and gender-neutral merchandise displays in stores.


There’s another undercurrent to these and other such decrees: Virtually all of them seek to impose California’s will on some aspect of the economy, putting the state at odds with the rest of the nation and creating potential downside risks.


The “bacon law,” as it’s been dubbed, is one example. Much of the state’s supply of bacon, ham and other pork products comes from farmers and processors in other states. We simply don’t know whether enough of them will change their operations to comply with the new California husbandry rules to prevent product shortages that would drive up prices.


We do know that other only-in-California policies exacerbate the state’s very high cost of living. For example, one reason gasoline prices are so high in California is the state requires a unique refinery blend to fight smog, making it almost entirely dependent on in-state production and unable to import fuel from other states or nations.


Could shortages and high prices generate bacon smuggling? Will Californians drive to Nevada or Arizona to load up their cars with pork products and sneak them into the state? Will bacon-sniffing dogs be deployed at border inspection stations?


That’s being a bit facetious, of course, but there are economic effects to all of these laws that set California apart, no matter how justified that may seem individually. California’s economy cannot be isolated from the rest of the nation and/or the rest of the world...