California quake downgraded to magnitude-6.8
EUREKA, Calif. (AP) - An earthquake that struck offshore and rattled the Northern California coast has been downgraded to a magnitude-6.8.
The quake about 50 miles west of Eureka on Sunday night was initially reported as a magnitude-6.9. It was felt widely across the region and across the Oregon border, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.
The quake had produced 20 aftershocks of magnitude-3.5 or larger by late Monday morning, and more were expected over the coming days.
California senator pushes utility security bill
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Prompted by last year's sabotage shooting attack of a PG&E substation, a California lawmaker has introduced legislation that would require utilities to beef-up security.
State Sen. Jerry Hill, a Democrat from San Mateo, announced the proposed legislation at a press conference Monday in San Francisco. Hill said serious security holes were exposed by the April attack by sniper shots of a substation near San Jose, Calif. that knocked out 17 transformers.
Officials rerouted power to avoid a blackout, but it took PG&E workers nearly a month to repair the damage. No arrests have been made.
Hill's bill would require utilities to assess security risks and make needed improvements.
A PG&E spokesman said the utility is reviewing bill. He said the utility began revamping its security after the attack.
SUPREME COURT-GUN MAGAZINE BAN
NRA seeks to block gun magazine ban
WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Rifle Association is asking Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to block enforcement of a California city ordinance that bans gun magazines capable of holding more than 10 bullets.
The ban in Sunnyvale went into effect Thursday after 66 percent of voters approved it in November. The NRA challenged the law, but a federal judge ruled last week that it does not violate the Second Amendment right to own guns for self-defense.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the NRA's request for an emergency order to stop the ban from taking effect pending appeal.
The new ordinance allows gun owners to have police destroy the magazines, sell them out of state or to a licensed gun dealer, or move them out of town.
Phillips 66 fined $230K for SF Bay air violations
RODEO, Calif. (AP) - Phillips 66 Company has been fined $230,900 by San Francisco Bay Area air quality officials for numerous air pollution violations.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District says the settlement covers 19 violations from 2008 and 2009.
Among the violations the company was cited for failing to take flare-gas samples, inadequate measurement of flare gas flows and inaccurate ground level monitoring of hydrogen sulfide.
Air district executive Jack Broadbent says the district has the responsibility to protect the health of residents around refineries. He says any violations, no matter how minor, are not tolerated.
Phillips 66 spokeswoman Janet Grothe said most of the violations were disclosed by the company to the board and were fixed quickly.
2 workers burned by acid at Tesoro refinery
MARTINEZ, Calif. (AP) - Two workers were burned by acid at a Tesoro refinery processing unit where a similar incident occurred last month.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that sulfuric acid spilled on two contract workers Monday at the company's Golden Eagle Refinery in Contra Costa County.
County hazard materials specialist Maria Duazo says both workers escaped serious injury because they were wearing protective garments.
A company said in a statement that the workers were decontaminated in a shower before being taken to the hospital.
The company said the incident is unrelated to last month's chemical release, where two workers not wearing protective gear sustained first-and-second degree burns.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which is investigating the previous incident, said it will also look at the latest accident.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORMS
California campaign finance bill sent to governor
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - State lawmakers have sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill designed to strengthen California's campaign finance standards in response to a recent case that prompted the largest campaign reporting fine in state history.
AB800 passed the Assembly on Monday over opposition by Republicans. They objected to a provision that gives the state Fair Political Practices Commission the authority to audit campaign funds before elections.
Several Republicans say the bill could affect elections before targeted candidates have a chance to defend themselves.
Assemblyman Richard Gordon, a Democrat from Menlo Park who carried the bill, says the bill will give voters confidence that elections are conducted fairly.
The measure responds to $15 million in anonymous donations that were funneled into two 2012 initiative campaigns.
It received final approval on a 54-19 vote.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TRUANCY
Attorney general promotes bills to reduce truancy
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - School districts and the state would be required to do a better job of tracking students who miss class under proposed legislation designed to lower California's dropout rate.
The package of bills announced Monday would write into law recommendations from a report released by Attorney General Kamala Harris in September.
The report says 30 percent of elementary students missed school during the 2012-13 school year, costing their districts a combined $1.4 billion in attendance-based funding.
The law defines truancy as being absent or arriving more than 30 minutes late without a valid excuse three times in a school year.
The legislation Harris is seeking would require schools to increase their reporting of truant students, which she said would help officials find ways to get them back in school.
California man found guilty in freeway shooting
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California man who authorities say wanted to start a right-wing revolution has been found guilty of attempted murder in a shootout with California Highway Patrol officers on an Oakland freeway.
The Oakland Tribune reports that an Alameda County jury convicted Byron Williams on Monday of four counts of attempted murder as well as multiple weapons charges.
Prosecutors say the 48-year-old Williams, of Tuolumne County, had an arsenal of weapons in his pickup truck on July 18, 2010 when he engaged at least eight California Highway Patrol officers in a nearly 20-minute gunbattle.
The CHP had stopped Williams for traffic violations on Interstate 580.
Authorities say Williams was on his way to San Francisco, where he planned to attack what he considered liberal organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union.
Police hope to talk to wounded California officer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco police say investigators are looking for the bullet that struck and wounded a police officer in the shoulder, as they try figure out who shot him.
Officer Gordon Shyy said on Monday that investigators so far have only determined that officer Adam Shaw's partner discharged his firearm.
Shaw's partner, who has not been identified, fired several rounds at a car when police say it backed up as Shaw approached it on Saturday. The vehicle then sped off.
Police arrested 50-year-old Jeffrey Ruano in connection with the incident the next day. But they said he was not facing charges related to the shooting of Shaw.
Shaw, meanwhile, was recovering. Police hoped to interview him on Monday.
LASER POINTED AT HELICOPTER
California man sentenced in laser pointer incident
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - A Central California man accused of pointing a high-powered laser at a police helicopter has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said a judge issued the sentence against 26-year-old Sergio Patrick Rodriguez, of Clovis, on Monday.
Rodriguez was accused of pointing a green laser 13 times more powerful than common pointers at a Fresno Police Department helicopter in 2012. The helicopter had been called to an apartment complex where an emergency helicopter for a children's hospital also reported being targeted by a laser.
Authorities say such laser strikes can blind pilots and lead to crashes.
A federal jury in Fresno found Rodriguez and his 23-year-old girlfriend, Jennifer Lorraine Coleman, guilty of charges in the case in December. Coleman is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
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