A roundup of the biggest news stories in California this week…
California to Hold Public Hearing Over Oil Company Profits
The California Energy Commission (CEC) announced today that it will hold a public hearing on November 29 with oil executives and experts to examine oil companies charging Californians record high prices for gasoline, even as the cost of crude oil went down. This has led to record profits for the oil industry in the past three months.
This upcoming hearing follows the CEC having requested written responses to questions about price spikes despite the cost of crude oil going down – questions that the companies largely failed to answer in writing. Executives and experts will be asked to provide answers about gasoline price hikes amid record profits, refinery maintenance, and how to prevent such price increases in the future.
“We’re taking action to get answers for Californians who paid for these record profits through gas price hikes. They had the opportunity to provide written responses, but big oil dodged and outright refused to answer basic questions. This hearing will help get answers for gas price hikes and help us make sure this doesn’t keep happening,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.
California Launches Online Rape Kit Portal to Support Survivors
Earlier this week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the launch of a new online tracking system that enables victims of sexual assault to track the processing of their rape kits. The website provides information on the location and status of sexual assault kits so that survivors of sexual assault can access information privately, securely and electronically. The portal launch is the result of the passage of Senate Bill 215 in 2021.
“As the author of SB 215, I am so proud that California is continuing to prioritize and empower rape survivors by making sure that they are able to easily and privately find out where their rape kit is in the process,” said Senator Connie M. Leyva. “After they have already been sexually assaulted – and after they have bravely endured a long and invasive rape kit exam — it is crucial that we enable survivors to track the status of their rape kit securely whenever they wish. I thank Attorney General Rob Bonta for his partnership on this important effort, as well as our committed coalition of sponsors – District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Joyful Heart Foundation, and Natasha’s Justice Project – and supporters for testifying, tweeting, writing, and speaking out about the vital need for this survivor-centered online portal that prioritizes healing and justice.”
Bonta also announced the hiring of Dr. Sarai Crain as the nation’s first-ever state sexual assault evidence outreach coordinator. In this role, Dr. Crain will work directly with law enforcement, medical facilities and partner organizations to support local efforts to track and process sexual assault evidence. Together, these new initiatives aim to clear the backlog of sexual assault evidence at the local level.
The General Election is Days Away
The General Election is just days away. All vote-by-mail ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before 8 p.m. on election day, November 8, and received by November 15, 2022. In-person voting locations are already open across the state. Visit the secretary of state’s website to find early voting and vote-by-mail ballot drop-off locations, as well as same-day voter registration locations.
Your General Election ballot will include:
- Seven Ballot Propositions
- Statewide candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Member of State Board of Equalization, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
- U.S. Representative in Congress, State Senator, State Assembly Member
- Supreme Court Justices, as well as other local candidates and local measures.
Five of California’s largest cities – Los Angeles, San Jose, Long Beach, Oakland, Anaheim – will be selecting a new mayor.
Here are the seven ballot propositions:
- Prop 1: Reproductive Freedom – aims to protect the right to abortion.
- Prop 26: Casino Sports Betting – would allow in-person sports gambling at tribal casinos and large racetracks.
- Prop 27: Online Sports Betting – would allow sports gambling online.
- (If both sports betting initiatives get over 50% approval, the one with the most votes wins.)
- Prop 28: School Arts – aims to create a funding stream for art and music education.
- Prop 29: Dialysis Clinics – would place new regulations on dialysis clinics.
- Prop 30: EV Subsidies – proposes to tax personal income over $2 million to fund zero-emission incentives and wildfire prevention.
- Prop 31: Flavored Tobacco – would enact a currently paused ban on flavored tobacco products
For more about the props, see this guide in the New York Times.
It’s Time to Sign Up for Affordable Healthcare Coverage
Open enrollment for Covered California is open for 2023. Two-thirds of the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace consumers are eligible for comprehensive coverage for as little as $10 per month; others can get covered at zero cost.
An estimated 1 million Californians are uninsured and eligible for low-cost or no-cost coverage through Covered California or Medi-Cal, according to the Governor’s office.
You can sign up for quality, affordable healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces at www.healthcare.gov. To explore plans through Covered California, visit CoveredCA.com or call (800) 300-1506. Eligible enrollees who sign up before December 31, 2022, will receive coverage starting January 1, 2023.
Daylight Saving Time Ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday
It’s time, once again, to claim back that hour of sleep we lost in spring. Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed on Saturday, if you still have clocks that don’t do it themselves. California voters approved permanent Daylight Saving Time, but the act (which passed in the Senate) has yet to be discussed by the House of Representatives, stalling its potential passage. So, we “fall back.”
Public safety professionals encourage you to use the time change as a reminder to check your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. The County of Los Angeles Fire Department encourages residents to update, review, and practice their family emergency plan, so everyone knows what to do when it is time to act.
“It’s essential that families remain vigilant and stay prepared for every disaster and emergency both in and out of their home,” said Interim Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone. “Your plans should consider how to assist those who are particularly vulnerable, including young children, seniors, and individuals with special needs.
Read last week’s news roundup here.