Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Must Read: Californians Overwhelmingly Back Path to Citizenship; Governor’s Plan for Green Energy Funds Comes Under Fire

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. An overwhelming majority of Californians — 90 percent — supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants under certain conditions, the Bay Area News Group reports, citing a new Field Poll. The conditions include having been in the country for a number of years, having a job, and paying taxes. The Obama administration and Democrats also support the so-called path to citizenship but many Congressional Republicans are continuing to oppose such a plan.

2. Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal for the funds generated by a tax approved by voters in November to pay for green-energy projects is coming under heavy criticism from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the SacBee reports. Brown wants to give all $1 billion in annual funds from Prop 39 to public schools to use for energy-efficiency upgrades. But the state analyst contends that some of the money would be better spent on upgrading large public buildings that waste lots of energy.

3. State judges are proposing to decrease the number of jurors for misdemeanor trials from twelve to eight, citing severe budget constraints, the Chron reports. Judges also recommend that prosecutors and defense attorneys get fewer opportunities to dismiss jurors for perceived bias.

4. Attorneys for the Berkeley couple who are seeking to overturn California’s anti-gay-marriage law, Prop 8, have also asked the US Supreme Court to invalidate all such laws nationwide, the Merc reports. If the high court agrees, same-sex marriage would be legal in all fifty states.

5. California’s share of a mortgage settlement with big banks will grow to more than $20 billion, the Merc reports. The money is to be used to lower mortgage principals for homeowners who are underwater or to assist them in making short sales.

6. And fears over toxic flame retardants in furniture have spawned a new “organic” furniture market in Northern California, the Chron reports. However, the all-natural furniture is too expensive for most consumers.

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