Capitol Alert

AM Alert: New California tobacco age limits go into effect

How do California’s new tobacco laws affect you?

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed California's most significant new tobacco legislation in decades.
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Gov. Jerry Brown has signed California's most significant new tobacco legislation in decades.

Yesterday a doctor couldn’t legally grant a terminally ill patient’s request for a prescription that would end their lives. Starting today, a doctor can. Yesterday, a 20-year-old could walk into a gas station and buy a pack of cigarettes. Today, no dice.

California’s physician-assisted suicide End of Life Option Act will allow physicians to write prescriptions for patients who are given no more than six months to live by their doctors. Doctors aren’t required to grant the prescription, and are free to opt out of the law. Experts in the field say that there’s no way to predict how many terminally ill people might take advantage of the new law.

New tobacco rules, meanwhile, increase the smoking age from 18 to 21 today. In addition, e-cigarettes and vaping are now covered by traditional tobacco regulations. The bills survived a grueling battle in the Legislature amid intense opposition from the tobacco industry.

PRIMARY LESSONS: This morning Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, will announce an Assembly Constitutional Amendment that would let Californians vote for any candidate of their choosing in presidential primaries, regardless of party registration. The proposal would have to be approved by voters before it could go into effect. Separately, the Secretary of State’s office will host a panel discussion to talk about what went well in Tuesday’s election and what could be improved. The event will be in the auditorium of the Secretary of State’s building at 2 p.m.

POLICE GET DOLLARS: Responding to increasingly strained relationships between communities and police departments, the California Legislature decided to allocate $5.7 million in grant money to improving community policing practices last year. The grant recipients will be decided today at a Board of State Community Corrections meeting at 10 a.m. Based on the recommendations of board staff, it appears that the Sacramento Police Department will fall just short of receiving funding. Other items on the agenda include updating regulations on the shackling of pregnant women, suicide prevention measures, hourly safety checks and updated nutrition standards.

SHOUT OUT TO SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS: About 20 college-bound Sacramento students will get $1,000 of relief from their student debt courtesy of Comcast NBCUniversal this year. Comcast will award the scholarships on the North Steps of the Capitol at 11 a.m. The Capitol Bureau’s Jeremy B. White wrote about last year’s ceremony and the general trend of corporations hosting events on Capitol grounds.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: In all the primary election excitement, we neglected to pass our best birthday wishes to Rep. Ken Calvert, D-Corona, who celebrated his 63rd birthday yesterday.

Rachel Cohrs: 916-321-1046, @rachelcohrs

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