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KSBR News Briefs on  Tuesday, May 23, 2017

 Lawmakers aim to strengthen gun ban in schools

State lawmakers have passed a bill to revoke superintendents' ability to let people carry guns in a school zone.

The Assembly passed AB424 43-23, sending the measure to the state Senate.

Bill author Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty from Sacramento says the Legislature initially let superintendents give people permission to carry guns on campus to ensure domestic violence survivors could protect themselves. But the provision has been "exploited" by school districts to allow cafeteria aids, teachers and yard duty assistants to carry firearms in schools.

He says this wasn’t the intent of the bill passed a few years ago.

He adds research shows allowing more guns in schools, makes them less safe.

Opponents say the bill would reverse a limited exemption that makes schools safer.


$400 billion price tag for California single-payer bill

State experts say a state bill that would provide government-funded health coverage for everyone in the state would cost $400 billion and require significant tax increases.

The Legislature's financial analysis indicates much of the cost would be covered by existing state, federal and private spending on health coverage. But the analysis shows total health care spending would increase by $50 billion to $100 billion a year.

The entire state general fund budget is $125 billion.

SB562 would eliminate traditional insurance companies and guarantee coverage for everyone. The state would contract with health providers and pay the bills for all residents similar to the way the federal government covers seniors through Medicare.

The concept known as single-payer has energized liberals who are pushing Democratic lawmakers to approve the measure.


US probes whether Hyundai, Kia recalled engines fast enough

The U.S. government is investigating whether Hyundai and Kia moved quickly enough to recall more than 1.6 million cars and SUVs because the engines can stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it's looking into three recalls by the Korean brands. The agency also says it's investigating whether the automakers followed safety reporting requirements.

Hyundai recalled about 470,000 vehicles in September of 2015 because debris from manufacturing can restrict oil flow to connecting rod bearings. That can cause bearings in the four-cylinder engines to wear and fail. The repair was an engine block replacement.

Last March Hyundai and Kia issued two more recalls covering 1.2 million additional vehicles with the same engine problem.

The companies say they're cooperating with the investigation.


Pension Crisis

Mission Viejo Mayor Wendy Bucknum says our state faces pension crisis that is difficult to sustain.

She says Republican Assemblyman Bill Brough from Dana Point will be having a news conference tomorrow at the State Capital to talk about his proposed Assembly Constitutional Amendment 15 on public employee retirement benefits.

The measure would ban a government employer from enhancing employee pension benefits, without approval by the voters of the jurisdiction.

She says she’s been invited to the News Conference because Mission Viejo is one of the largest cities in Brough’s district and it has done a good job by paying down its pension liability.  The city started over a decade of having employees share in paying for their retirement benefits.

Tomorrow’s News Conference at the State Capital begins at 10:30 in the morning.


Laguna Beach

The Laguna Beach City Council will hold its yearly budget workshop this afternoon.

Councilman Steve Dicterow says the public is invited to gives its analysis and comment on the budgeting process.

He says the public may make requests for community assistance to charitable organizations.

The Council is expected to finalize the budget next month.

Today’s budget workshop begins at three in the afternoon.


Orange County Great Park

The Orange County Great Park board will go over the results this afternoon of community meetings and telephone surveys on what the public would like to see at the park.

Irvine Public Affairs and Communications Director Craig Reem says many had expressed an interest in having open space, a golf course and the current Farm and Food Lab. There was also interest in having BMX bike uses, in addition to the already planned sports parks.

He says in terms of the highest rated amenities for the park’s Cultural Terrace, the top two were a lake and an amphitheater.

He says based on the results, the board could give staff directives on what to work on in terms of priorities.

Today’s board meeting begins at two in the afternoon.