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POSTED September 24, 2012 7:48 p.m.

SECOND DUI COUNT AGAINST LAWMAKER DISMISSED: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A Contra Costa County judge has dismissed a second DUI count against a state lawmaker from Southern California.

Roger Hernandez, a Democratic assemblyman from West Covina, was arrested by police in Concord in March on suspicion of drunken driving. A jury found him not guilty of one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence last month, but could not come to a decision on a second misdemeanor count of driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher.

The Contra Costa Times reports that a judge

CALIFORNIA LAWS RESPOND TO PENN STATE SEX SCANDAL: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Coaches and administrators in California's K-12 schools, and all higher education employees, will be required to report suspected child sexual abuse under a pair of bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Both bills respond to the Penn State sex abuse scandal.

California law already requires reporting by teachers, teacher aides, doctors and others who supervise children.

AB1434 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer of Los Angeles extends the same requirements to university employees. AB1435 by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento adds coaches and administrators in public and private K-12 schools.

Brown announced the signings Monday.

Both bills were prompted by the case of Jerry Sandusky, the ex-Penn State assistant football coach who was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys. Former co-workers allegedly knew of some abuse but didn't report it.

MORRO BAY LOSING ECOSYSTEM-CRITICAL EELGRASS: MORRO BAY  (AP) — The Morro Bay ecosystem is in peril because eelgrass critical to the California central coast estuary's health is disappearing.

About 80 percent of the bay's estuary's eelgrass disappeared and scientists are calling it a crisis.

Ellgrass offers spawning areas for fish and food for migrating birds.

Eelgrass covered 500 acres of the intertidal flats and bay shallows in the 1970s. There are less than 100 acres now.

Divers gathered during the weekend and transplanted about 8,000 eelgrass plants from an area near the mouth of the bay to back bay areas where losses have been greatest.

The San Luis Obispo County Tribune says sedimentation and algae blooms could be hampering photosynthesis. Eelgrass beds may also have been scoured during Fukushima tsunami tidal surges in March 2011.

COURT: MAN CAN SUE LAPD OVER WRONGFUL CONVICTION: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California appellate court has ruled that a man who spent 19 years in prison for a double murder he didn't commit can sue Los Angeles police for allegedly coercing his confession.

The 2-1 decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday said Harold Hall can amend his lawsuit because his Fifth Amendment rights may have been violated.

Hall was convicted for a pair of slayings in 1985 and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His convictions were later overturned after it was determined there were falsified documents from a jailhouse informant and his confession was given while he was under duress.

Hall sued the city, but didn't claim possible Fifth Amendment violations, which protects people from forced self-incrimination.

BROWN SIGNS BILL FOR SAME-DAY VOTER REGISTRATION: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a package of bills designed to modernize California's election and campaign finance laws, including allowing voters to register on Election Day.

Brown announced Monday that he signed the same-day voter registration bill, AB 1436 by Democratic Assemblyman Mike Feuer of Los Angeles.

He also signed SB1001 by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco. It will double to $50 the annual registration fee paid by lobbyists and require a $50-a-year fee for political committees that support candidates or causes.

The money will go to improving CalAccess, the state's website that campaign contributions and lobbying activity.

Another bill, AB2080, by Democratic Assemblyman Rich Gordon of Menlo Park, will make it easier for vote-by-mail voters to allow others to drop off their ballot.

 

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