Daily news roundup for Thursday, May 5, 2016 | KALW

Daily news roundup for Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 5, 2016

California Governor Approves Bill Increasing Age to Buy Tobacco From 18 to 21 // NBC Bay Area

"Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill raising the smoking age to 21 in California.

"Brown had until midnight to act on six bills to restrict tobacco use in California, including one to raise the legal age to buy tobacco for smoking, dipping, chewing and vaping from 18 to 21."

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Lower voting age looks to have support of SF Board of Supervisors // SF Gate

"A proposal to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in San Francisco’s local elections appears headed for the November ballot, after a hearing Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors.

"The charter amendment proposed by Supervisor John Avalos has the support of at least six supervisors — the minimum number needed to place it on the ballot. If passed, the measure would make San Francisco the first major U.S. city to allow citizens younger than 18 to vote."

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Tree deaths rise steeply in Sierra; drought and insects to blame // The Sacramento Bee

"Trees in California are dying at the highest rate in at least 15 years, raising the risk of faster-moving and more-intense forest fires, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

"Aerial surveys conducted by the service last year estimated a tenfold jump in tree mortality since 2014. According to results released last month, an estimated 27.6 million dead trees were found in the forest landscape last year. In 2014, an estimated 3.3 million dead trees were identified. The statewide aerial surveys date back to 2001."

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California lawmakers kill bills pushed by dissident union members // The Sacramento Bee

"Dissident public union members left the Capitol unhappy on Wednesday after lawmakers rejected legislation to crack open their unions’ books.

"Both that bill and one allowing periodic votes on union representation died in committee, thwarting the effort to illuminate organized labor’s finances and illustrating the steep odds for an effort that has openly defied union leaders. Labor officials say the information is already available and dismiss the campaign as a politically motivated attempt to vilify organized labor."

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Fremont: New park with panoramic views unveiled / East Bay Times

"The first new East Bay Regional park in six years opens Thursday in the hills between Fremont and Sunol with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay, six new miles of trails, and places for future trail connections to several parks.

"The $8 million Vargas Plateau Regional Park has 1,249 acres of rolling hills and wooded canyons on a 1,000-foot-elevation plateau with scenic places to hike, run, and ride mountain bikes and horses."