AGENCY: REALIGNMENT LAW UNDERMINES ROLE OF JUDGES: SACRAMENTO (AP) — A state oversight agency says overcrowding in many county jails is forcing local sheriffs to assume the role traditionally held by judges in deciding who should make bail and how long convicts should serve behind bars.
The Little Hoover Commission said in an eight-page letter to the governor and legislative leaders Thursday that the problem is aggravated by a two-year-old state law that is sending thousands of lower-level convicts to county jails instead of state prisons.
The so-called realignment law was promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown as a way to comply with federal court orders to relieve state prison crowding. The commission says overcrowding in county jails is an unintended consequence.
The commission says the trend of sheriffs making sentencing decisions raises questions about due process and separation of powers.
ASSEMBLY DEBATES BILL ON HOSPITAL CHARITY CARE: SACRAMENTO (AP) — The state Assembly is considering legislation that would force nonprofit hospitals to prove they provide enough charitable care to justify their tax-exempt status.
Hospitals would have to provide more details about what is included in the charitable care they provide under AB975 by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat from Fremont. The bill also would establish uniform reporting standards for hospitals.
The legislation failed to get enough votes to pass Thursday but could be brought back Friday for reconsideration.
It has support from some of the state's most powerful labor groups, including the California Nurses Association. Business groups and the California Hospital Association call it a power grab by unions.
Republicans opposed the bill during the floor debate, saying it could reduce access to charitable care for the state's poorest residents.
GOVERNOR SIGNS REVISED COMPACT WITH GAMBLING TRIBE: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill authorizing a revised agreement with a Sacramento-area Indian tribe that owns a struggling casino east of the state capital.
Brown announced Thursday that he signed AB1267 by Assemblyman Isadore Hall, a Los Angeles Democrat.
The bill will let the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians restructure and refinance its debt while retaining about 1,400 jobs in El Dorado County.
The Brown administration had negotiated the new compact last fall with the tribe, which owns the Red Hawk Casino. The casino officially opened in December 2008, just as the national recession began.
AB1267 would let the tribe reduce its payments for several years before requiring that it eventually pay the state 15 percent of the casino's net winnings.