Poll: Angelenos Support Minimum Wage Hike

A majority of Los Angeles County voters are in favor of raising the minimum hourly wage to $15.25 and requiring employers to offer paid sick leave, according to a poll released today.

The poll was commissioned by the Raise the Wage campaign, whose members are urging Los Angeles city leaders to approve a minimum wage hike package being debated by the Los Angeles City Council.

The survey, conducted by EMC Research, found that 66 percent of the 1,000 voters surveyed from Jan. 7-15 support raising the wage to $15.25 per hour, increasing the wage to match inflation, requiring earned sick days, and enforcement against wage and labor violations.

LAPD Audit Finds Suicide-by-Cop Common, Urges Review of Protocol

It's a dark reality for police officers: some suspects want to provoke police into killing them -- a phenomenon known as suicide-by-cop. A recent report of Los Angeles Police Department shootings found 35 incidents of suicide-by-cop during a 30 month period from January 2011 to June 2013.

The report, made by the inspector general, sheds light on how frequently these incidents happen and could be used to inform police policy in handling mentally ill suspects, who are often involved. According to the report, the officers who shot suspects were following police protocol.

The information comes as state lawmakers are considering a bill to increase police, sheriff, and highway patrol training to handle mentally ill suspects, and police nationwide are under scrutiny for shooting suspects like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Ezell Ford in South L.A., who was mentally ill.

Proposed Ban Heats Up E-Cigarette Fight

Setting the stage for the biggest fight over electronic cigarettes yet, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) wants to ban vaping anywhere that smoking tobacco is outlawed. SB 140, introduced Monday, would also make e-cigarettes subject to state laws that make it a crime to sell tobacco products to minors.

The bill would end an largely unregulated run during which vaping saw a great rise in popularity and make California the fourth state to treat e-cigarettes like traditional smoke tobacco products.

Native Cultures and Languages are at Heart of Proposed Bill

The destruction of native cultures might be a difficult thing to undo, but Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) wants to try. Under a new bill proposed to the state legislature, AB163, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing would offer teaching credentials for native languages and cultures. California already issues credentials for teachers of native languages; the new law would add culture as a credentialed subject.

Williams said the inspiration for the bill was his wife, who is Navajo. "Her grandmother was among many native people who were sent to Indian boarding schools or beaten if they spoke their language," he said. "There was a real decimation of native cultures because of mechanisms of forced assimilation...We have an opportunity now to recapture the culture."

Williams said schools on Native American reservations have made efforts to teach native language and culture.

'Aid in Dying' Bill Sets Stage for Clash in California

State legislators introduced an aid in dying bill, similar to Oregon's, on Wednesday.
| Photo: reway2007/Flickr/Creative Commons

California has officially become the newest battleground state for aid in dying legislation -- laws like one in Oregon that allowed Brittany Maynard to end her life with prescription drugs, rather than letting terminal cancer take it.

On Wednesday, calling aid in dying a civil and human right, members of the legislature introduced SB 128, the End of Life Options Act.

As anticipated, the proposal mirrors Oregon's law. To be eligible, two separate physicians must determine that a patient has less than six months to live due to terminal illness; age or disability alone are not prerequisites. The bill would also mandate that patients are screened for depression or psychological or psychiatric disorders that could impair thinking. Patients would be required to administer the prescription themselves, and doctors or family members would be protected from civil or criminal penalties stemming from the patient's death.

Angelenos Could Own More Than 3 Cats Under City Proposal

A decision on whether to increase the number of cats that Los Angeles residents are allowed to own -- from three to five or more -- was postponed Tuesday by the City Council's Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee.

The proposal to revise the city's three-cat limit, which city officials said is aimed at getting more people to rescue cats from overcrowded shelters, was rescheduled for consideration in two weeks.

Councilman Paul Koretz, who chairs the committee, said he delayed the vote to give city officials more time to look into issues that they "have not had a chance to look at carefully."

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