A roundup of the biggest news stories in California this week…
Middle Class Tax Refund Payments Start Going Out Today
Today, $9.5 billion in Middle Class Tax Refund payments of up to $1,050 per taxpayer started going out to Californians. This is the largest such program in state history. A total of 18 million payments will be distributed, benefitting up to 23 million Californians.
Californians will receive their MCTR payment by direct deposit or debit card. An estimated 8 million direct deposits will start arriving in bank accounts from today through November 14, and an estimated 10 million debit cards will be delivered from October 25 through January 15. Direct deposit payments will be made to eligible taxpayers who e-filed their 2020 CA tax return and received their CA tax refund by direct deposit. In general, other MCTR payments will be issued on debit cards.
To determine your eligibility, visit taxrefund.ca.gov.
Stockton Faces Potential Serial Killer
Stockton Police say that five killings in the city over the past six months, plus two attacks in April, are linked by ballistic and video evidence. In an interview with the Associated Press, Stockton Police Officer Joseph Silva said “It definitely meets the definition of a serial killer.” The shooting deaths of five men between July 8 and Sept. 27 all took place during nighttime or early morning hours, and within the radius of a few square miles. The victims were not robbed or beaten, and police say the cases have no connections to gangs or drugs.
Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden posted a message on the Department’s Facebook page this week stating that investigators believe they have located a “person of interest.” View the video on SPD’s Facebook page and still image, left. The Stockton Police Department asks anyone with information to call their tip line at (209) 937-8167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authorities have advised Stockton residents to be vigilant, stay in well-lit areas and avoid traveling alone.
Merced County Authorities Make Two Arrests in Kidnapping and Murder Case
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office has announced two arrests in the kidnapping and murders of a family of four whose bodies were discovered on Wednesday. Jesus Manuel Salgado faces kidnapping and murder charges in the deaths of 8-month-old Aroohi Dheri, her parents Jasleen Kaur and Jasdeep Singh, and her uncle Amandeep Singh. Salgado was booked into jail on Thursday night. Jesus Manuel Salgado’s brother Alberto Salgado was arrested today on suspicion of criminal conspiracy, accessory and destroying evidence.
Read more at CBS News San Francisco.
Jaywalking to be Decriminalized in California
Pedestrians will soon be able to cross the street outside of an intersection without being ticketed, as long as it’s safe to do so. Governor Newsom signed AB 2147, The Freedom To Walk Act by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), which legalizes safe street crossings. The bill defines when an officer can stop and cite a pedestrian for jaywalking – specified as only when a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of a collision.
“It should not be a criminal offense to safely cross the street. When expensive tickets and unnecessary confrontations with police impact only certain communities, it’s time to reconsider how we use our law enforcement resources and whether our jaywalking laws really do protect pedestrians,” said Ting. “Plus, we should be encouraging people to get out of their cars and walk for health and environmental reasons.”
Assemblymember Ting’s press release presents additional information about the bill.
West Coast Leaders Commit to New Climate Partnership
In the latest of several climate partnerships among Pacific Coast governments, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia signed a new Statement of Cooperation (SOC) Thursday recommitting the region to climate action.
The partnership promotes collaboration between the four regional governments on accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy, investing in climate infrastructure like EV charging stations and a clean electric grid, and protecting communities from climate impacts like drought, wildfire, heat waves and sea-level changes. The SOC includes a major focus on equity, ensuring no communities are left behind in the transition to a low-carbon future.
Governor Newsom Allocates $1.4 Billion in Utility Relief Bill
California’s utility assistance programs distributed $1.4 billion to support upwards of 2.2 million struggling households during the pandemic. Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that another $1.4 billion is set to go out before the end of the year to cover overdue utility bills.
The additional $1.4 billion allocated in this year’s budget will be distributed by year’s end to support Californians who are still struggling to pay the bills. $1.2 billion will address residential electric utility arrearages through the Department of Community Services and Development to mitigate the outstanding debt leading to increased utility rates, and $200 million will address residential water and wastewater arrearages – complementing $116 million in federal funding for water and wastewater arrearages.
Bay Area Scientist Shares Nobel Prize in Physics
Earlier this week, the Nobel Prize committee announced that the American physicist John F. Clauser, a former professor at UC Berkeley, jointly won the Nobel Prize in physics this year. Clauser shares the prize with Frenchman Alain Aspect and Austrian Anton Zeilinger. Their winning work was to prove that quantum entanglements exist, although all three scientists remain baffled as to how or why they exist, per the Associated Press. Clauser’s role in the prize-winning work began with a 1972 experiment at UC Berkeley intended to help solve a famous debate between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr in the field of quantum mechanics. (The experiment proved Bohr to be correct; sorry Einstein.)
Read last week’s news roundup here.