1. Oil companies have used hydraulic fracturing on up to half of the new wells drilled in California in the last decade, the SacBee$ reports, citing a new study. However, the study’s authors expressed skepticism about a possible fracking boom in California, saying that the state’s unique geology may prevent it.
2. State regulators issued new, stricter rules on the use of the toxic pesticide chloropicrin, which many farmers inject into the soil of strawberries, raspberries, almonds, and other valuable crops, the LA Times$ reports. Environmentalists and health advocates, however, say the new regulations do not go far enough to protect farmworkers and people living next to fields where the tear-gas-like pesticide is used.
[jump] 3. The number of suspensions and expulsions dropped significantly in California public schools last year, especially for students of color, the Mercury News$ reports. Education officials have worked to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions for so-called “willfull defiance.” Oakland public schools, meanwhile, have decided to extend restorative justice programs, which seek to curtail suspensions and expulsions, to all 86 schools in the district, the Bay Area News Group$ reports.
4. President Obama is urging Congress to enact new legislation that would extend paid sick leave benefits to all full-time workers in the country, the Washington Post$ reports. Currently, about 43 million workers nationwide get no paid sick leave. The president also announced that all federal workers will begin receiving paid family leave.
5. A state appellate court unanimously upheld the murder convictions of two former members of Your Black Muslim Bakery for the 2007 assassination of Oakland journalist Chauncey Bailey, the Bay Area News Group$ reports. Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey had claimed that they didn’t get a fair trial in Alameda County because of extensive pretrial publicity.
6. City College of San Francisco won a two-year reprieve from state accreditors who had been threatening to shut down the institution for alleged mismanagement, the Chron reports.
7. The two free climbers who were scaling the Dawn Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park completed their historic effort on Wednesday afternoon, the Chron reports.
8. And craft brewer Lagunitas dropped its trademark lawsuit against Sierra Nevada brewery, following an angry outburst from beer lovers on social media, the Chron reports.