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Capitol Roundup: Bill To Allow County Jail Inmates To Vote Head To Brown's Desk, Proposal To Ban Powdered Alcohol Advances

Alan Cordova / Flickr

Alan Cordova / Flickr

California lawmakers passed a bill that would allow inmates in California county jails to vote. Meanwhile, a bill that would ban powdered alcohol passed the state Senate and will now head to the state Assembly for a final vote.

California County Jail Inmates Voting

Inmates in California county jails would have the right to vote, under a bill passed by the state Legislature. Democratic Senator Holly Mitchell said the bill conforms with a 2014 court decision.

"We have a responsibility to make sure that all California citizens who are entitled to the right have access and are permitted to do so," says Mitchell.

A superior court judge ruled felons in county supervision programs can vote, since they're not in prison or on parole. The bill also extends the right to inmates in county jail, who would vote in the district where they're incarcerated. Republican Senator Patricia Bates argued that could improperly influence elections.

"These individuals who are in that particular jail may have zero connection to any of the issues going on in that city, have no vested interest, or perhaps a negative one," says Bates.

The measure now moves to Governor Jerry Brown.

Ban On Powdered Alcohol

The California Senate has passed legislation to ban powdered alcohol. A company called Palcohol has registered with the federal government to sell pouches of flavored alcoholic powders. The product has not gone on sale. If it does, Republican Senator Bob Huff says it will endanger children.

"Youth binge drinking and alcohol-related deaths are epidemics in California," says Huff. "The introduction of a new form of alcohol that’s easily concealable and attractive to youth will exacerbate these problems. 

A wide variety of health and law enforcement groups, and local governments pushed for the legislation. Palcohol argues alcoholic powder is more environmentally-friendly than traditional liquor, because it will be lighter to ship, and that the state will lose tax revenue.

The bill heads back to the Assembly for a final vote.

Ben Bradford

State Government Reporter

As the State Government Reporter, Ben covers California politics, policy and the interaction between the two. He previously reported on local and state politics, business, energy, and environment for WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Read Full Bio