California Rules On Large Gatherings: Limit To Three Families, Two Hours Or Less, No Singing

New social distancing guidelines released by the state of California are prohibiting gatherings that include more than three households at any time.

Under the Oct. 9 document from California Department of Public Health entitled “Mandatory Requirements for All Gatherings”, all private gatherings must limit the number of attendees and are required to be held outside.

Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized, according to the document.

Also, officials are urging the host of any gathering to “collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later.”

Multiple gatherings of three households are not allowed to occur in the same public park or other outdoor space at the same time, officials say.

The document also states that seating at such gatherings must be at least 6 feet of distance in all directions between different households.

Barring any “applicable” exemptions, the state guidelines also mandate face coverings to be worn at all times except when eating or drinking “as long as they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.”

Gatherings should also be limited to two hours or less, according to officials.

The document also states that singing, chanting and shouting at outdoor gatherings are “strongly discouraged” due to a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. Officials say anyone singing or chanting should wear a face covering at all times and maintain physical distancing beyond 6 feet to further reduce risk.

Officials also highlighted the volume of such activities, saying “singing or chanting are strongly encouraged to do so quietly (at or below the volume of a normal speaking voice)”.

While instrumental music is allowed, the document says, musicians must maintain physical distancing and are “strongly discouraged” from playing wind instruments such as a trumpet or clarinet.

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California governor’s office tells diners to wear masks “in between bites”

The California governor’s office put out a tweet on Saturday advising that restaurant-goers keep their masks on while dining. “Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend?” the tweet reads. “Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites. Do your part to keep those around you healthy.”

In California, masks are required for anyone going outside their home, as well as workers in customer-facing businesses, offices, factories, and health care professionals, among others, according to the state’s COVID-19 guidance.

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California Law Requires Diversity on Corporate Boards; Members Can ‘Self-Identify’ as Black

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Wednesday that requires corporations to have a minimum number of board members from “underrepresented communities” — as defined by race, gender, sexuality, and other categories of identity.

Newsom signed the new law, AB 979, along with other laws aimed at ending “systemic racism,” including a law establishing a task force to study reparations for slavery. (California never had slavery and was admitted to the Union as a free state.)

The new bill comes on top of existing legislation, signed into law in 2018, requiring that companies have a minimum number of board members who are female, or who at least identify themselves as female.

According to the legislative counsel’s digest, AB 979 requires public companies to have “a minimum of one director from an underrepresented community, as defined.”

It will also “require, no later than the close of the 2022 calendar year, such a corporation with more than 4 but fewer than 9 directors to have a minimum of 2 directors from underrepresented communities, and such a corporation with 9 or more directors to have a minimum of 3 directors from underrepresented communities.”

The text of the law defines a member of an “underrepresented community” as “an individual who self-identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.”

The law does not indicate how to distinguish someone who “self-identifies” as black from someone who is actually black, for example.

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Gov. Newsom signs law allowing transgender inmates to be placed in prison by their gender identity, officers required to use preferred pronouns

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a new law on Saturday allowing transgender inmates to be placed in prisons based on their gender identity.

Previously, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation housed men and women in separate correctional facilities, and transgender inmates were housed based on their biological sex. The new California law will allow transgender inmates to be housed based on their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth.

The Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act notes that officers must privately ask inmates during the intake process on how they identify as. Transgender, nonbinary, or intersex inmates can request to be placed in a facility that houses either men or women based on how they identify as.

The law says the CDCR cannot deny requests for the preferred prison based solely on the inmates’ anatomy, sexual orientation, or “a factor present” among other inmates at the facility, the law states.

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Berkeley, California, bans candy, junk food at grocery checkouts

The city of Berkeley, California is back on the attack against unhealthy habits.

The progressive university town this time has passed an ordinance requiring stores over 2,500 square feet in size to sell more nutritious food and beverage options in their checkout areas.

That means no more candy, soda and salty snacks available for impulsive shoppers waiting in line to pay at the register. The ban is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.

“This ordinance is another effort to create a healthy food environment that would support families by providing them the ability to avoid high-calorie, low-nutrient food and beverages when they do their grocery and other shopping,” said a city report on the ordinance passed this week by the city council. “Individuals and families who want to purchase sugary drinks, candy, chips, and other sweet and salty snacks will be able to find them in their respective aisles in the center of stores. By changing checkout norms, shoppers and their children face less temptation to consume sugary foods and there is less reinforcement of these unhealthy choices.”

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Gov. Newsom signs controversial bill into law reducing penalties for sexual relations with minors

California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a controversial new law regarding judges’ discretion on whether or not to add individuals to the state’s sex offender registry who have committed sodomy with minors.

Newsom signed the bill, passed by the Democratic-controlled state legislature, into law without comment on Friday, expanding the discretion granted to judges in statutory rape cases, according to ABC 7 News Los Angeles.

California law permitted judges to decide whether a man was placed on the sex offender registry if he had consensual intercourse with someone 14 to 17 years old and was not more than 10 years older than the other person. However, that discretion only applied to vaginal intercourse, which LGBT advocates, including the author of the new bill signed into law Friday, argued was discriminatory to gay men.

“This eliminates discrimination against LGBTQ youth in our criminal justice system,” the bill’s sponsor, San Francisco Democratic state Rep. Scott Wiener, said about the legislation (known as SB 145) that he proposed.

“SB 145 ends discrimination against #LGBTQ young people on the sex offender registry. Currently, these youth are forced onto the registry for consensual sex — even if a judge doesn’t think it’s appropriate — in situations where straight youth are not,” Wiener added on social media. “This discrimination destroys lives.”

Many have criticized the bill, arguing that sex between a teenager and someone 10 years older than them is not always consensual and should always warrant being placed on the sex offender registry.

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California Police Unions Once Again Side With Bad Cops To Kill a Good Bill

California is one of only five states that does not have a formal process for decertifying bad cops to keep them from finding patrol work. And it looks like it’s going to stay that way.

In the middle of a massive push for policing reforms in America, law enforcement unions have defeated S.B. 731, a California bill that would have created a commission to hear cases of cops who have engaged in misconduct and determine whether they’d be stripped of their certifications.

Introduced for the first time in 2019 by state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), S.B. 731 passed the California Senate unanimously but didn’t make it to the California Assembly floor before the legislative session ended Tuesday.

The Associated Press notes that law enforcement unions scrambled to lobby lawmakers to stop Bradford’s bill from progressing without numerous changes. A representative from police unions in Los Angeles and San Francisco told the A.P. the bill was “deeply flawed.”

Several law enforcement unions in the state say they want a process in place to decertify bad cops. They even made a web page to insist that they support things like a database of officers who have been fired for misconduct, and “a fair, reasonable and workable decertification process.” But they object to Bradford’s commission because only three of the nine members would be police officers. Four of the other members would be members of nonprofit or academic institutions and community-based organizations that have experience on “issues related to police misconduct.” One member would be a citizen who has been a survivor of police misconduct (or a relative of somebody who did not survive misconduct). And one would be an attorney with “experience involving oversight of police officers.” Police unions determined that this newly created board would be, in the Associated Press’s words, “inherently biased against officers.”

Why would we assume that people with experience in issues related to police misconduct would be inherently biased against the police officers their commission reviews? Does that also mean the officers on the commission would be biased in favor of the cops?

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California Senator’s Legislation Will Exempt Some LGBT Pedophiles From Registering as Sex Offenders

The California Senator who was behind the move to downgrade of the intentional transmission of HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor now is now spearheading new legislation that would allow a judge to decide whether a potential sex offender who committed statutory rape against a minor who is less than 10 years younger than them must register as a sex offender.

The controversial bill introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, served to downgrade certain statutory rape cases not involving heterosexual sex–or vaginal penetration–if the act was deemed consensual. This law would allow judges to use their own discretion when determining whether, for example, a 24-year-old who statutorily raped a 15-year-old, must register as a sex offender.

“Last night the CA State Legislature passed #SB145 and it now goes to Gov. Newsom. It would lower the penalties for adults who have sex [with] willing same-sex minors. Judge could decide if adult has to register as sex offender if the offender is within 10 years of age of victim,” wrote California journalist Bill Melugin on Twitter. 

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California Legislature Softens Sex Offender Registry Requirements For Sodomy With Minors

The California legislature passed a law late Monday relaxing sex offender registry requirements for sodomy and other acts with minors in efforts to end “discrimination against LGBTQ young people on the sex offender registry,” according to the bill’s sponsor.

Democratic California state Sen. Scott Weiner, a gay politician who represents San Francisco, first introduced SB 145 in January 2019. The bill “would exempt from mandatory registration under the act a person convicted of certain offenses involving minors if the person is not more than 10 years older than the minor and if that offense is the only one requiring the person to register,” according to the text of the legislation.

Under the new bill, which has not been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, adults less than 10 years older than the minor who are convicted of having anal or oral sex with that minor would not automatically be added to the sex-offender registry, the San Fransisco Chronicle reported.

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