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POSTED May 1, 2014 7:57 p.m.

• CALIFORNIA MAY BOOST ASSISTED CARE HOME PENALTIES: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Recent problems at several assisted care facilities led the state Senate to advance a bill Thursday that would give California regulators the power to impose tougher penalties.

SB1153 would let the Department of Social Services ban new admissions to residential care facilities for the elderly that fail to correct serious health and safety violations. The regulators also could block admissions to facilities that don’t pay their fines.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said his bill is part of a package of more than a dozen bills sponsored by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform in response to recent failures.

The most prominent failure led to the state-ordered emergency closure of Valley Springs Manor in Castro Valley in October. Despite multiple state inspections, 19 residents were left to be cared for by two unpaid workers.

New residents had been moving into the facility for months without knowing it was the subject of state scrutiny, Leno said, adding that current rules letting the state fine and close facilities aren’t enough to protect residents.

The proposed legislation will “protect families and their senior members from going into facilities which could in fact threaten their lives,” Leno said.

The measure was sent to the Assembly on a 36-0 vote. There was no registered opposition.


• TESLA FINED FOR 2013 FACTORY ACCIDENT: FREMONT (AP) — Tesla Motors, an electric car manufacturer in Northern California, has been fined $89,000 by state workplace safety officials for violations related to an incident that injured three workers last year.

A report from California Division of Occupational Safety and Health saying that Tesla failed to ensure that a low-pressure aluminum casting press was maintained in a safe operating condition. Workers weren’t wearing protective gear on Nov. 13 when the casting press failed, splattering molten metal on them and causing second- and third-degree burns and setting their clothing on fire.

The men were identified as Jesus Navarro, Kevin Carter and Jorge Terrazas.

The Mercury News reports that Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The company has 15 days to file an appeal or contest the fines.


• NO FELONY CHARGES IN LOS ANGELES PARTY BUS DEATH: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County prosecutors won’t file felony manslaughter charges over the death of a party bus passenger who fell out of a defective door.

The California Highway Patrol had recommended filing murder charges against bus owner Ayrapet Kasabyan but the district attorney’s office said Thursday there wasn’t enough evidence.

Instead, the case was sent to the Los Angeles city attorney for possible misdemeanor charges.

Kasabyan’s bus was carrying several dozen people for a birthday celebration last fall near Universal Studios when 24-year-old Christopher Saraceno fell down a stairwell and the door flew open on U.S. 101.

He was struck by several cars.


• BILL ADVANCES AFTER AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FIGHT: SACRAMENTO (AP) — A noncontroversial bill by an Asian lawmaker has passed after exposing racial divides in the California Assembly when black and Latino lawmakers withheld votes following an affirmative action fight.

AB2013 passed Thursday on a 57-1 vote after failing to advance in April. It would replenish permits available for low-emission vehicles to drive in car pool lanes.

Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance, the bill’s author, told the Sacramento Bee the withheld votes were meant to send a message to the Asian lawmakers who questioned a constitutional amendment that would restore affirmative action in college admissions. He says he supports affirmative action.

Before the April vote, Assembly Speaker John Perez declined to take up a SCA5 repealing prohibitions on race-conscious admissions amid pressure from Asian constituents and lawmakers.


• TEACHER GETS 38 YEARS IN MOLESTATION: CLOVIS (AP) — A Central California teacher has been sentenced to 38 years to life in federal prison after admitting that he molested a second-grade student in his classroom.

Forty-six-year-old Neng Yang pleaded guilty in March in U.S. District Court to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Yang still faces 45 felony counts of child molestation in Fresno County Superior Court, where he could get a life sentence.

Yang was a teacher in Clovis, a community near Fresno, where police say he locked the classroom door, blindfolded the girl and molested her. Investigators say they found videos on Yang’s cellphone taken of the abuse in December 2011 and January 2012.

Last year, the Clovis Unified School District paid the girl’s family $2 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the abuse.


• MAN PLEADS NO CONTEST TO SEX ASSAULT ON LA BUS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A homeless parolee who was charged with raping a woman in the back of a public bus as it drove through Los Angeles has pleaded no contest to lesser charges.

Kerry Trotter, 21, entered the plea Wednesday to felony sexual battery and a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure. He initially faced rape and other charges that could have sent him to prison for two decades.

Prosecutors said Trotter, a recently released parolee with a long criminal history, attacked an 18-year-old developmentally disabled woman in the back of a Los Angeles County Metro bus in November 2012.

Authorities said the 10-minute attack went unnoticed by the driver and several passengers as the bus made two stops on its way to Culver City.

The victim, a special education student, had the mental capacity of a 10-year-old, authorities said.

She was returning from school at the time and had only recently been allowed to ride the bus on her own, the Times said.

She didn’t yell or scream during the attack because she was afraid for her life and “she was shocked and didn’t know what to do,” county Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Scott said during the investigation.


• LAWMAKER SAYS NO TAX BREAK FOR SPORTS FINES: WASHINGTON (AP) — A California lawmaker introduced legislation Thursday designed to prevent sports owners from turning league fines into a business expense that can generate a tax break.

The legislation from Democratic Rep. Tony Cardenas follows the National Basketball Association’s $2.5 million fine and lifetime ban of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

An aide to the congressman said they were unaware of any specific team owners who have used their fines to generate a business-related tax deduction, but Cardenas wants to remove that possibility entirely. Cardenas said fines are meant to be a punishment, not a business expense.

The legislation would address any fines imposed after Dec. 31, 2013.

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