Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. The city of Richmond had the fewest number of homicides in 33 years last year, as overall crime continued to plummet in the formerly crime-ridden city, the CoCo Times$ reports. Property and violent crime in Richmond have dropped by more than 30 percent in the last decade.
2. Four state Assembly members, led by Democrat Mark Levine of San Rafael, are calling on Governor Jerry Brown to enact a temporary moratorium on fracking in California while the state conducts a comprehensive environmental review of the oil and natural gas extraction process, the SacBee$ reports. Levine sponsored an unsuccessful ban on fracking in 2013, before Brown signed an industry-supported bill that makes it easier to frack in the state.
3. Former UC Berkeley professor Janet Yellen became the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve Bank, after the US Senate easily confirmed her nomination, McClatchy reports. Yellen takes over for retiring Fed chair Ben Bernanke.
4. A state appeals court has unanimously upheld San Francisco’s ban on plastic bags in a ruling that opens the door for other California cities and counties to enact similar bans, the Chron reports. The court ruled that cities do not have to conduct environmental reviews before banning plastic bags.
5. The US Supreme Court halted gay marriages in Utah until legal challenges of the state’s anti-same-sex marriage law are completed, The New York Times$ reports. Same-sex couples in Utah had been getting married after a federal judge ruled last month that the state’s ban on gay weddings was unconstitutional.
6. Bioethicists say the case of brain-dead teen Jahi McMath of Oakland may have set an unfortunate precedent that could prompt other deeply religious families to demand through the courts that brain-dead people be allowed to be transported home until their heart stops beating, the LA Times$ reports.
7. And a cold snap has paralyzed much of the nation, with temperatures dropping to below zero in many regions.
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