California’s law-and-order past haunts Kamala Harris

The Zodiac killer struck first. Then came the Manson family. Later, the Hillside Stranglers, the Night Stalker and the Golden State Killer terrorized California.

Starting in the late 1960s, one lurid murder after another fed public perceptions that crime in California was spiraling out of control. Gang shootings turned neighborhoods into combat zones. The crack epidemic ravaged communities.

Fear and outrage spawned a raft of harsh sentencing laws. California enacted one of its most punitive, “three strikes and you’re out,” after one parolee killed 18-year-old Kimber Reynolds of Fresno in 1992 and another kidnapped and killed 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Sonoma County a year later.

“We’re going to start turning career criminals into career inmates,” Republican Gov. Pete Wilson declared in 1994.

The laws strengthening criminal penalties drove a surge in the state’s prison population over 30 years, beginning in the 1970s. Under both Republicans and Democrats — including Kamala

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Federal judge blocks California’s ammunition purchase law

A federal judge Thursday blocked a California law requiring background checks for people buying ammunition, issuing a sharply worded rebuke of “onerous and convoluted” regulations that violate the constitutional right to bear arms.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego ruled in favor of the California Rifle & Pistol Assn., which asked him to stop the checks and related restrictions on ammo sales.

“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” Benitez wrote in a 120-page opinion granting the group’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

Voters approved toughening California’s already strict firearms laws in 2016, and the restrictions took effect last July.

“The law’s red tape and state database errors made it impossible for hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Californians to purchase ammunition for sport or self-defense,” said

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Proposed changes to California’s AB 5 await state lawmakers

Critics of California’s new law limiting the use of independent contractors don’t just want legislators to take a second look at a handful of fiercely debated provisions. They want a series of potential do-overs — some to make small revisions to the law and others that would go as far as repeal it.

Those efforts, many of which began long before Assembly Bill 5 was signed last year by Gov. Gavin Newsom, signal a second consecutive year of sharp focus on labor law in Sacramento. Public interest is especially high this time, as some app-based technology companies prepare to ask voters to rewrite AB 5 to give special treatment to their industry.

In all, 34 separate pieces of legislation related to AB 5 were introduced in the Legislature in the last seven weeks. Most of the bills would expand the list of occupations not required to be considered an employee

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