- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on action in the California Legislature (all times local):

6 p.m.

Lawmakers have given initial approval to a proposal that would disclose fees paid by public pensions to hedge funds and other alternative investment vehicles.

The Assembly voted 69-0 in favor of AB2833 Tuesday without discussion.

California State Treasurer John Chiang, a Democrat, sponsored the proposal. He says in a news release that greater transparency is needed in the multi-trillion-dollar private equity industry.

The bill would require public notice of how much private investors cost state retirement funds and their rates of return.

Democratic Assemblyman Ken Cooley of Rancho Cordova authored the bill. He says it will ensure pension investments are stable and financially responsible.

No lawmaker or organization has yet opposed the measure.

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5 p.m.

The California state Senate has voted to ban tobacco and electronic cigarettes at state parks and beaches.

Democratic Sen. Marty Block of San Diego says the bill approved Tuesday would protect the environment from cigarette butts and prevent wildfires.

People caught violating the law would face a fine of up to $250.

SB1333 would add to a long list of anti-tobacco legislation that has cleared the Legislature this year. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation May 4 to raise the tobacco-purchase age and extend tobacco restrictions to electronic cigarettes.

The smoking ban at parks and beaches cleared the Senate in a 25-11 vote with most Republicans opposed. GOP lawmakers have warned that Democratic attempts to clamp down on smoking will impede personal freedoms.

The bill goes next to the Assembly.

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4:35 p.m.

Dying patients at California mental hospitals would have a chance for early release under legislation approved by the state Senate.

The measure approved Tuesday would extend an option already available to prison inmates.

State hospitals house people who were charged with a crime but found not guilty by reason of insanity or incompetent to stand trial.

SB955 would allow a judge to authorize compassionate release if a doctor determines a patient is terminally ill or medically incapacitated.

Democratic Sen. Jim Beall of San Jose says his bill would allow patients to receive end-of-life care closer to their families.

Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber says he opposed the bill because it could allow dangerous people to be released.

The Senate’s 23-13 vote sends the measure to the Assembly.

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4:20 p.m.

Democratic lawmakers have resoundingly rejected a proposal from one of their own in response to a scathing audit of the California state bar.

Members of the Assembly voted 45-8 Tuesday against Assemblyman Mark Stone’s proposal to reform the board that oversees lawyer accreditations in California.

Stone’s AB2878 would give professional members of the bar’s board of trustees a smaller majority over public members.

It comes after an audit last year faulted the bar for overpaying executives. State Auditor Elaine Howle also found that the bar’s financial reports have contained errors and lacked transparency.

Stone, a Democrat from Scotts Valley, says some of his colleagues want to make bolder changes. He’ll try to amend the bill and get a re-vote before a Friday deadline.

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3:40 p.m.

The California Senate is supporting legislation to explicitly outlaw “ransomware” hacking attacks and allow prosecutors to charge perpetrators with extortion.

SB1137 by Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys responds to a rapid rise in cases of hackers who block access to a user’s electronic data and demand the victim pay a ransom to restore it.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles paid about $17,000 in bitcoins to hackers who infiltrated its network. Two other Southern California hospitals reported attacks in March.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office says existing cybercrime statutes aren’t always a good fit for prosecuting ransomware cases.

The Senate’s 38-0 vote Tuesday sends the measure to the Assembly.

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3:05 p.m.

California lawmakers have given initial approval to a measure restoring the voting rights of convicted felons serving time in county jails.

The California Assembly gave the proposal just enough support on a 41-34 vote Tuesday to pass AB2466 to the Senate.

The bill from Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego would restore voting eligibility for felons in county jails, on probation or under community supervision.

It would not apply to those in state or federal prisons.

The California State Sheriffs’ Association and Republican lawmakers say it would thwart California’s longstanding policy barring felons from voting.

Weber says opponents don’t want to allow certain people to vote. She says civic participation can be a critical component of reducing recidivism.

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2:40 p.m.

The California Senate has voted to stop suspending driver’s licenses for people who fail to pay traffic fines or fail to appear in court for traffic violations.

The Senate’s 32-7 vote on Tuesday sends SB881 to the state Assembly.

Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys says suspending driving privileges is an overly harsh punishment for people who don’t pay fines. He says people who lose their license are more likely to lose their job and become trapped in poverty.

Hertzberg’s bill would restore driving privileges to up to 550,000 people who lost them for failing to pay a fine or appear in court. It comes as the state has granted amnesty to unpaid court and traffic fines.

Law enforcement groups say it will encourage people to disregard their rules.

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2 p.m.

The California state Senate is backing legislation to give financial relief to law enforcement and government agencies that responded to last year’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

The Senate voted unanimously to assume an estimated $1.6 million in costs on top of the $6.4 million the state already planned to pay.

Under California law, the state typically covers 75 percent of the costs of a disaster with local governments paying the rest. SB1385 by Democratic Sen. Connie Leyva of Chino would require the state to pay the whole bill.

State lawmakers have approved full disaster response funding more than a dozen times since 1989, typically in response to natural incidents like earthquakes and storms.

The bill goes next to the Assembly.


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