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State news briefs
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GOVERNOR ORDERS AUDIT OF SPECIALTY PLATE PROGRAM: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered an audit of California's specialty license plate program after a review by The Associated Press found there was little oversight of the $250 million raised in the 20 years since the Legislature authorized it.

Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for the governor, said the administration on Tuesday asked its Department of Finance to undertake the review.

She said the governor had no immediate plans to return $3 million taken by Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger from one of the specialty plate funds, a memorial plate created in honor of the victims of the 2001 terror attacks.

The money helped close the budget deficit.

200 POT PLANTS FOUND IN OAKLAND HOUSE FIRE: OAKLAND  (AP) — Firefighters responding to a blaze in the attic of an Oakland home found 200 marijuana plants going up in smoke.

The fire occurred about 5:30 p.m. Monday where firefighters found the illegal marijuana growing operation in a three-bedroom house.

The fire was located in the attic and quickly extinguished.

Battalion Chief Lisa Baker says when the fire was first reported, people were seen running from the house. No arrests have been made.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TODDLER ATTACKED BY PIT BULL: NORCO  (AP) — A toddler has suffered moderate injuries in Norco after she was attacked and dragged by the family pit bull.

The 19-month-girl was injured after she wandered outside with the dog on Monday.

A babysitter looked outside and saw the dog dragging the girl through the backyard. Authorities say the girl was taken to a hospital with some injuries but she didn't have any major bites or puncture wounds.

The dog was quarantined by animal control, which is standard procedure for any animal attacks.

BACK-TO-BACK ASTEROIDS HARMLESSLY FLY PAST EARTH ; PASADENA  (AP) — A newly discovered small asteroid has harmlessly zipped close to Earth — just as scientists expected.

The 16-foot-long space rock, discovered on Memorial Day, passed by early Tuesday at a distance of 8,950 miles from the Earth's surface.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which tracks such flybys, said the asteroid — dubbed 2012 KT42 — was the sixth closest asteroid approach.

It was the second asteroid encounter this week. On Monday, another asteroid, measuring 69 feet across, flew by at a distance of 32,000 miles.

BILL PROTECTS BUSINESSES FROM ADA LAWSUITS: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The state Senate has passed a bipartisan bill aimed at protecting small businesses from attorneys who demand quick settlement money under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, and Sen. Bob Dutton, a Republican from Rancho Cucamonga, say they are trying to balance the civil rights of the disabled against concerns about a growing predatory practice.

Dutton says small businesses are being threatened with costly lawsuits for failing to improve access for the disabled. The bill would require lawyers to give small businesses at least 30 days' notice before suing for damages.

Lawmakers passed SB1186 on a 36-0 vote Tuesday, just days before the deadline to pass policy bills out of their house of origin. The measure now moves to the Assembly.

BILL WOULD REQUIRE WARNINGS OF DENSE BREAST TISSUE: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — State lawmakers are trying again to pass a bill that would require notification to women whose breast tissue is dense, making it harder to detect cancer.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill last year. He and many doctors who oppose the legislation say the warnings could create unnecessary anxiety.

This year, most senators are co-authoring the bill by Democratic Sen. Joe Simitian of Palo Alto. It would require mammogram providers to notify patients if their tissue was dense and recommend discussing additional testing with their doctors.

Supporters say 40 percent of women over age 40 have tissue dense enough to make it difficult to detect cancers on mammograms. Simitian says Connecticut, Texas and Virginia have similar notification laws.

SB1538 passed the Senate 39-0 Tuesday and goes to the Assembly

SPACEX SIGNS 1ST CUSTOMER FOR BIG NEW ROCKET: HAWTHORNE . (AP) — Space Exploration Technologies says it has signed its first commercial contract for a new rocket that will be more powerful than the one that launched the company's Dragon capsule to the International Space Station last week.

The Hawthorne, Calif., company known as SpaceX said Tuesday it will loft a satellite for the communications services company Intelsat, using a Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.

Such launches cost $83 million to $128 million, depending on weight.

SpaceX says its Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket in the world and, historically, second only to the Saturn V rockets that launched the Apollo missions to the moon.

Last week, SpaceX launched a cargo-carrying capsule atop its Falcon 9 rocket as a test run for NASA. The capsule successfully docked with the space station.

BILL ADDS QUALIFICATIONS FOR FISH & GAME PRESIDENT: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The state Assembly has approved restrictions governing who can be appointed to the California Fish and Game Commission after the former president's controversial killing of a mountain lion in Idaho.

Lawmakers approved AB2609 on a 55-22 vote Tuesday, sending it to the Senate.

The bill by Democratic Assemblyman Ben Hueso of San Diego requires the governor and Senate to consider an appointee's background in natural resource management, public policy and a scientific discipline.

It also would require commissioners to comply with the Political Reform Act and tighten requirements for appointing a commission president.

Republicans called it retaliation against former president Dan Richards, who faced heavy criticism after posing for photos with a mountain lion he killed during a legal hunt in Idaho. It is illegal to kill them in California.