News Stories

June 1, 2018

Although he declared an end to California’s historic five-year drought last year, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed two new laws that will require cities and water districts across the state to set permanent water conservation rules, even in non-drought years.

“In preparation for the next drought and our changing environment, we must use our precious resources wisely,” Brown said in a statement. “We have efficiency goals for energy and cars – and now we have them for water.”

May 31, 2018

California lawmakers moved Wednesday to create a state-backed bank to handle the billions of dollars flowing from the newly legal recreational marijuana market.

The world's largest legal recreational marijuana economy, created under a law that took effect this year, is projected to grow to $7 billion.

The bill approved by a bipartisan 29-6 state Senate vote is designed to help pot entrepreneurs who usually deal in cash because most banks won't accept money from a product that remains illegal under federal law.

SB930 now goes to the Assembly for consideration.

May 30, 2018

The state Senate passed a bill this week to create a state charter for banks to serve California cannabis businesses, which would allow licensed merchants to write checks to pay taxes, fees and vendors — rather than use large amounts of cash, as they currently do.

SB930, by state Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, now heads to the Assembly.

Because marijuana is classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 drug, federally insured financial institutions cannot process cannabis-related transactions without the risk of facing money laundering charges.

May 26, 2018

By S. Burr Eckstut and Ingrid Rechtin

California has taken a conservative step on the path to greater regulation of blockchain technology or legal recognition of blockchain-secured data.  On May 18, an amended bill was referred to the State Assembly Appropriations Committee for review that would provide for the establishment of a blockchain working group to evaluate “the potential uses, risks, and benefits of the use of blockchain technology by state government and California-based businesses.”  The amended bill also provides a legal definition of “blockchain.”[1]

May 22, 2018

by Antoinette Siu

Consider these two scenarios: A family spends Saturday afternoon at the local shopping center, buying a new washing machine, summer sandals, children’s books and dog food. With every purchase, the state takes its cut, courtesy of California’s 7.25 percent sales tax.

Then consider a mid-sized advertising firm across town. It contracts with an accountant, a software developer, a lawyer and a cleaning service. Every time the company pays for these services, the state of California collects absolutely nothing.

May 22, 2018

By Jeff Powers

Democratic Senator and former Speaker of the Assembly, Bob Hertzberg, isn’t slowing down.

May 18, 2018

By Bettina Boxall

California cities and towns may find themselves on a water budget in the next decade under a pair of bills approved Thursday by the legislature.

The measures follow Gov. Jerry Brown's call to make water conservation a permanent way of life in a state long accustomed to jewel-green lawns and suburban tracts studded with swimming pools.

More than a year of legislative negotiations reflected the enduring conflicts over state and local control.

May 17, 2018

By Fiona Ma

President Donald Trump’s suggestion that he will leave states’ cannabis regulations alone should give hope to the millions of Californians who voted for Proposition 64 in 2016. Ideally, Trump would also push for wholesale changes in federal banking law that would allow the cannabis industry access to credit just like other legal businesses in the state.

But California can’t wait to take action. If elected state treasurer, my top priority will be banking for cannabis.

May 16, 2018

After testing the waters for the last three years, state Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) is making his strongest push yet to pass legislation that would impose a tax on services provided to businesses.

Hertzberg says Senate Bill 993 would better align the state’s tax code with the shift toward a more service-based economy. By 2022, the bill would create a new 3 percent tax on services — such as legal representation, accounting, design work and consulting — delivered to businesses in California.

May 11, 2018

By Dylan Svoboda

What’s in a name? When it comes to social media, maybe a lot more than you think.

There is a move in the Capitol to force social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook to identify “bots,” those robot-like, automated accounts that move through the internet and interact with real people — and each other.

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