Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tuesday Must Reads: State May Ease Water Restrictions for Hot Areas; UC Divests from Private Prison Industry

By Robert Gammon
Tue, Dec 22, 2015 at 10:01 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

click to enlarge watering_lawn.jpg
1. California regulators are proposing to ease water restrictions for hot inland areas of the state and for fast-growing regions, the LA Times$ reports. Those areas have complained loudly about the state’s water cutback requirements. Overall, the proposal, if approved next month, would reduce the mandated water cuts from 25 percent to about 22 percent in California. The plan to ease restrictions is not related to the recent rainstorms.

2. The University of California has decided to sell off its $25 million investment in the private prison industry following an outcry from students, the SacBee$ reports. Last month, the Afrikan Black Coalition launched a campaign to get the university system to divest from private prisons, and UC acquiesced after meeting with the student group.


3. The US Food and Drug Administration has lifted a decades-old ban on gay and bisexual men from giving blood, but critics say the new rules are still discriminatory and not based on sound science, the Chron reports. The FDA’s new regulations would still prohibit gay and bisexual men from donating blood if they’ve had sex with a man in the past year.

4. A proposed statewide ballot measure that sought to force transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex has failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November 2016 election, the AP reports (via the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, h/t Rough & Tumble).

5. Islamic American groups are calling on federal law enforcement officials to file terrorism charges against a Richmond man who has been arrested after threatening to bomb Muslims and posting anti-Muslim hate speech on social media, the Chron reports. “This is the dictionary definition of terrorism,” Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Chron. “If the assailant in this case was Muslim, terrorism would be in the headlines and terrorism would be the charges.”

6. And the state has reached the 85,000 cap on stickers for carpool lanes for plug-in vehicles in California, the Mercury News$ reports. Consumers who buy a plug-in vehicle and want a sticker will now be put on a waiting list until the state legislature raises the cap.

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