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As Congress grapples with AI regulation, will California step up?


SACRAMENTO — Much of the debate about whether the government should regulate artificial intelligence has centered on Congress, where top AI voices have testified in highly publicized hearings.

But with a gridlocked Congress, some lawmakers and tech experts see the much more agile California Legislature as a key player in the debate. Gov. Gavin Newsom told The Chronicle he’s also starting to focus on the issue.

These Bay Area lawmakers oppose raising bridge toll fees to bail out BART, transit. Here’s why


Several Bay Area lawmakers say they don’t support a bill that would temporarily raise tolls on seven state-owned bridges to give BART and other transit agencies more money to avoid service cuts.

That’s the main aim of Senate Bill 532 by San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener, unveiled June 23. The proposal, if passed by two-thirds of the Legislature and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, would increase bridge tolls by $1.50 — resulting in $9.50 tolls through 2028 — to raise $900 million for regional transit agencies struggling to recover riders after the pandemic.

AB 331: A lesson for future regulation of automated decision tools


Artificial intelligence is reshaping the workforce, largely by shifting decision making processes into the hands of automated decision tools. The impact of this transformation has understandably drawn calls for robust regulation of the use of AI, but to date there is little to no government oversight on the development and deployment of automated decision tools.

But not for a lack of effort.

Why ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ will be California’s next abortion battleground


In California, less than two-thirds of counties have an abortion clinic. But nearly 80% have at least one “crisis pregnancy center,” according to a database compiled by CalMatters. 

Abortion rights advocates and lawmakers have long accused these centers — also known as anti-abortion centers — of coercing vulnerable people into remaining pregnant by misleading them about abortion procedures and contraceptive methods. In rural areas with acute primary care shortages, “crisis pregnancy centers” outnumber abortion clinics 11 to 2, a CalMatters analysis shows.

California Advances Bill Banning Hedge Fund Water Profiteering


California lawmakers advanced a bill that would prohibit hedge funds and other institutional investors from buying and selling agricultural water resources for financial gain.

Under the measure, which passed the State Assembly by a 46 to 17 vote on Monday afternoon, speculation or profiteering by investment funds in the sale, transfer or lease of water rights on agricultural land would be considered a waste or unreasonable use of water.