The Latest: Senate votes to put warning labels on sodas

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the California Legislature (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Sodas and energy drinks in California could soon come with a warning about increased risks for diabetes and tooth decay under a bill that has narrowly cleared the state Senate.

The Senate voted 21-11 on Thursday to require warning labels on sugar-sweetened drinks that contain 75 calories or more per 12 fluid ounces. The label would be on the front of the container, in bold type and separate from all other information.

The bill passed despite significant opposition from the beverage industry. Records show the American Beverage Association spent more than $273,000 since January lobbying against the bill and others.

Other proposals that would have taxed soda and banned “Big Gulp” style drinks were shelved earlier this year.

Bill author Sen. Bill Monning says the measure would protect children’s health.


3:30 p.m.

Inmates in California prisons would be housed by their gender identity according to a bill moving through the state Legislature.

The California Senate voted 29-7 on Thursday to require the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to ask inmates their gender identity and to put them in prisons designed for that gender. The only exception would be if the department believed it would pose a significant security risk.

The bill would require the department to refer to inmates by their preferred gender pronoun.

Bill author Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, says transgender women put in prisons with men are often assaulted and raped and put in isolation for their safety.

The bill now heads to the state Assembly.


12:45 p.m.

The California Assembly has approved a cap on interest rates for consumer loans.

It would limit rates at around 38 percent for loans between $2,500 and $10,000. The bill now goes to the state Senate.

State regulators say lenders issued around 745,000 loans in that range during 2017 and more than one-third had interest rates of 100 percent or higher.

Labor and civil rights groups say the lending industry uses high interest rates to prey on low-income Californians.

Speaker Anthony Rendon says the bill is as important as any the Assembly will vote on this year.

But some lawmakers say capping interest rates would ultimately leave consumers with less access to capital if they have bad or few options for traditional financial services.


11:50 a.m.

California lawmakers are pushing for people to be paid their full wages when they are out on family leave.

The Assembly voted 50-3 on Thursday to ensure workers get 100 percent of their wages instead of the 60 or 70 percent the state’s paid leave program currently provides.

Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the bill’s author, says it will help more workers with lower incomes take paid family leave.

But a legislative analysis says it would cost the fund that pays for the program hundreds of millions of additional dollars in coming years.

The bill is Assembly Bill 196. It now goes to the state Senate.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has endorsed a different bill to expand paid family leave from six to eight weeks per worker.


11:45 a.m.

Veterinarians in California could soon recommend medical marijuana for pets.

The California Senate voted 33-0 Thursday to let pet owners 18 and older purchase medical marijuana for their animals if they have a recommendation from a veterinarian who has completed a specific course.

The bill would give veterinarians the same protections as doctors who recommend marijuana for human patients. And it would prevent the Veterinarian Medical Board from disciplining veterinarians who recommend marijuana.

Last year, former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law allowing veterinarians to discuss medical marijuana with pet owners.

The bill now goes to the state Assembly.


11:07 a.m.

California lawmakers are trying again to ban smoking at state parks and coastal beaches.

The state Senate voted 28-10 on Thursday to ban cigarettes, cigars, pipes and electronic smoking devices from state parks and coastal beaches. Violators would be fined $25. But additional penalties and assessments would bring the total fine to about $200.

Lawmakers have tried to ban smoking at state parks and coastal beaches nearly a dozen times over the past 15 years. All have failed to become law. Former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown vetoed several attempts.

Park rangers would enforce the ban, but the law would let them exempt people smoking as part of their religious beliefs. The bill does not specify what religious practices, leaving that to the discretion of the park rangers.

Categories: California News