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Capitol Roundup: Shark Fin Law Upheld; More Brown Bill Signings

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon

Calif. Shark Fin Ban Upheld in Federal Court
A federal appeals court has upheld California’s new law that bans the practice of cutting off a shark’s fin to use in an exotic Chinese soup.
The law prohibiting the sale, trade or possession of shark fins was signed two years ago but took effect in July.
Jennifer Fearing with the Humane Society of the United States calls the ruling a victory.
“When you think that prior to July 1st, there was an ample, thriving above-ground market, we know we’ve gone a long way in just the last couple of months towards limiting California’s contribution to this trade, and I expect vigorous enforcement of the law by the state,” Fearing says.
Here’s how “finning” works: fishermen pull sharks out of the water, cut off their fins and throw the fish back in.  The sharks then drown or bleed to death.
The law’s opponents - including the Obama administration - say it unfairly targets the Chinese community, where the soup is a cultural delicacy.  This is the second federal court challenge, but so far opponents of the law have come up short.
Ten other states have similar laws on the books.
Non-Citizens Can Be Poll Workers Under Newly-Signed Bill
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will allow some non-U.S. citizens to serve as poll workers.
Under the measure, lawful permanent residents will be eligible to volunteer at polling sites.  Supporters say that will help voters who need English language assistance.  Opponents say non-citizens should not be able to serve as poll workers.
The measure is one of 28 Brown signed Tuesday – on top of 25 more he approved Monday.  He’s now signed all but four of the nearly 200 bills to cross his desk so far this year.
Among the other measures the governor approved this week is a bill that would allow youth sports leagues to conduct criminal background checks on coaches.


Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio