Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Must Read: Assault Weapons Ban Is Dead; Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s Won’t Sell Genetically Modified Salmon

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Dianne Feinstein’s proposal for a federal ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines has died in the US Senate, the Chron reports. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Feinstein last night that he would not bring the proposed ban to the Senate floor because it doesn’t have enough votes to pass. Republicans, who are united in their opposition to the proposed ban, have been joined by conservative, pro-gun Democrats in red states. Reid, however, is pushing forward with a proposal to mandate universal background checks on gun purchases nationwide.

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2. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s say they will not sell genetically modified salmon, the CoCo Times reports. The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to greenlight the genetic modification of salmon in the coming months. Whole Foods previously announced that it would require the labeling of all genetically modified foods sold in its stores.

3. Animal rights activists are concerned that a Democratic state senator may attempt to overturn the ban on foie gras in California, the Chron reports. A staffer for State Senator Lois Wolk of Davis said, "[I]t's possible she could carry legislation that would further the possibility of humanely produced foie gras being produced and sold in California." Animal rights activists contend that the production of foie gras is cruel.

4. The reopening of Chez Panisse has been put off indefinitely because the fire damage is more extensive than originally feared, the Trib reports, citing a message posted by chef/owner Alice Waters on the Berkeley restaurant’s website. Waters had previously said she hoped to reopen by March 30.

5. A new medical marijuana bill in the state legislature would allow the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to regulate the growth, supply, and sale of cannabis, the Chron reports. The legislation by San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano would create state standards to replace varying ones adopted by cities and counties in California.

6. Oakland’s new municipal ID and debit card, the first of its kind in the nation, is coming under fire from a consumer watchdog group because it includes expensive fees, the Chron reports. Consumers Union says the fees attached to the debit function of the card are higher than on other debit cards. The city added the debit function to help low-income residents who don’t have bank accounts.

7. And a new report contends that Oakland’s teacher compensation and tenure practices should be overhauled, the Chron reports. The report was immediately denounced by the Oakland teachers’ union.

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