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Public Health Institute to study effects of global warming law

April 19, 2010
The Oakland-based Public Health Institute has been awarded a $150,000 grant to study the potential effects of California's cap-and-trade greenhouse gas reduction program on low-income communities. The institute will be working with the state Public Health Department on the study, which will then be used by the Air Resources Board as it implements Assembly Bill 32, the landmark legislation that requires California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

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Health commitee chairman, wife, share outlook on prevention

April 17, 2010
Bill Monning is the new chairman of the state Assembly’s Health Committee. His wife, Dr. Dana Kent, is a doctor in Monterey County who has spent her life serving the poor. Dr. Kent is careful to point out that she does not advise Monning on health policy. But as Monning ponders the federal health reform that will roll out soon with a major assist from the state and his committee, the lawmaker says he will naturally call upon all he has learned through their 32-year partnership.

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Senate passes bill to ban smoking in state parks, beaches

April 15, 2010
The state Senate has given final approval to legislation that would ban smoking at state beaches and in common areas of state parks. The Senate passed the bill on a 21-13 vote and sent it to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has not said whether he would sign it.

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Who pays taxes in California

April 14, 2010
Low-income families with children paid state income taxes in 2009 after making about $35,000, according to a new report from the California Budget Project. In 2008, a family of four didn't pay income tax until they made more than $51,000. The change is largely due to the reduction in the size of the dependent tax credit.

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Senate Health Committee passes ban on sport drinks in schools

April 14, 2010
The Senate Health Committee has approved legislation that would ban the sale of sugar-sweetened sport drinks at California public schools during school hours.

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Prevention: insurer to pay Y to keep its customers fit

April 14, 2010
United HealthGroup is trying to act on research that shows keeping patients healthy can cut costs for everyone, including the insurance company. The firm is going to start paying the Y.M.C.A. to offer weight loss and nutrition counseling to consumers who are at risk for developing diabetes. Research has shown that losing just a few pounds can dramatically reduce the risk of an overweight person developing the disease. That weight loss is no doubt a marker for other lifestyle changes that come with a commitment to eating better and exercising. This kind of policy is likely to be more common once insurance companies shift from trying to keep risky customers out of their business to finding ways to reduce the risk that comes with accepting all comers regardless of their health condition. This story from the New York Times details the company's initiative.

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AB 32: finances, effect on the poor and minorities

April 14, 2010
Two reports due today will shed light on different parts of the plan to implement AB 32 -- California's law to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

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Bill would restrict drug company marketing practice

April 13, 2010
Legislation that would restrict the ability of drug companies to gather and use information about the prescribing habits of individual doctors is scheduled for a hearing today in the Assembly Health Committee. The bill, by committee chairman William Monning, would prohibit anyone from selling or releasing physician prescribing information for marketing purposes.

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Governor signs bill for borrowers, renewable projects

April 12, 2010
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed Senate Bill 401, which will extend a law that exempts homeowners who get mortgage debt relief from having to pay income tax on their savings as if it were a gift.

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New foreclosure rules blessed by Senate banking panel

April 8, 2010
Legislation to give California homeowners more protection as they modify their loans is moving through the state Senate. Senate Bill 1275 has won passage in the Senate Banking committee and is now headed for the judiciary panel.

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