News

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dozens of California communities have experienced recent rates of childhood lead poisoning that surpass those of Flint, Michigan, with one Fresno locale showing rates nearly three times higher, blood testing data obtained by Reuters shows.

The data shows how lead poisoning affects even a state known for its environmental advocacy, with high rates of childhood exposure found in a swath of the Bay Area and downtown Los Angeles. And the figures show that, despite national strides in eliminating lead-based products, hazards remain in areas far from the Rust Belt or East Coast regions filled with old housing and legacy industry.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Growing national concern about lead poisoning in children has prompted a California lawmaker to introduce legislation to ensure that all of the state’s kids are tested for the toxic metal.

The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), would change the state’s Health and Safety Code to require testing for all children ages 6 months to 6 years.

Current regulations require lead testing only for children in government assistance programs, such as Medi-Cal and WIC, a supplemental nutrition program, as well as for kids who spend a significant amount of time in buildings built before 1978. That leaves many children untested who nevertheless may be exposed, said Quirk, who also chairs the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

No more changing your playlist or checking the directions on your smartphone while driving.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed Assembly Bill 1785, significantly expanding California’s restrictions on the use of mobile phones behind the wheel. The measure forbids drivers from “holding and operating” their devices for any reason, though it does include an exception for functions that require only “the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger,” as long as the phone is mounted on the windshield or dashboard of the car.

Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, introduced the bill to “prevent distracted driving.” State safety officials said in June that the number of crashes and injuries related to phone use appears to be on the rise.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The California State Assembly passed a resolution Monday declaring August 2016 as Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month.

The resolution — officially called HR 59 — marks the first time any state has set aside a month in recognition of the Islamic faith. The bill, which was introduced by Assemblymember Bill Quirk, D–Hayward, and which was passed unanimously, applies only to this August, but Quirk’s Chief of Staff Tomasa Dueñas said the assembly member hopes that the body renews the resolution in the future.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The California State Assembly voted Monday to pass a resolution that officially recognizes August 2016 as Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month.

The resolution comes at a time of increased anti-Muslim rhetoric, according to a recent civil rights report compiled by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

HR-59, introduced by California Assemblymember Bill Quirk in June after Quirk was approached by a community activist on the issue, was officially passed Aug. 1 with bipartisan support.

Friday, September 11, 2015

SACRAMENTO -- Legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients cleared a major hurdle Wednesday when the state Assembly narrowly passed the measure on a 43-34 vote after an emotionally wrenching debate that left many legislators in tears.

Friday, July 24, 2015

One recent Saturday, a man walked into the UFCW Union Hall in Hayward for a "record clearance clinic." He had eight felonies on his rap sheet for crack possession and was seeking legal assistance to get them reduced to misdemeanors.

The stakes are high. As long as he has a felony record, he is automatically disqualified from many jobs regardless of his skills. He is banned from public housing. Many private landlords will refuse to rent to him. If he wants to go to college, he can't get a student loan. The list goes on and on.