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Judge: California handgun ammo laws unconstitutional

FRESNO, CA (AP) -- A judge has ruled that key sections of a California law restricting the sale of handgun ammunition cannot be enforced because they are unconstitutional.

Gun rights advocates celebrated Tuesday's ruling in Fresno County Superior Court, saying the law would have created uncertainty by forcing local gun shops to decide for themselves what type of bullets were covered by the restrictions.

The bill also would have required handgun ammunition to be bought in a face-to-face transaction, which they say would not have prevented a tragedy like the Arizona shooting rampage that killed six and injured U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Shooting suspect Jared Loughner legally purchased ammunition the morning he allegedly opened fire at Giffords' district meet-and-greet outside a Tucson Safeway.

Bill would mandate Internet retailers to collect CA sales tax

SACRAMENTO, CA - A Berkeley Assemblywoman claims her bill to require out-of-state online-only retailers to collect California sales taxes on purchases sold in the state would generate millions of dollars in revenue for the cash-strapped state.

Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, introduced Assembly Bill 153 Monday. The measure would affect Internet-only retailers such as Amazon.com, eBay and Overstock.com. Gov. Schwarzengger vetoed a similar bill from the 2009 state budget. 

The California Retailers Assocation and brick and mortar retailers generally support the so-called "E-Fairness" bill. Illinois lawmakers recently passed a similar measure.

Feds optimistic California farms will get more water

FRESNO, CA (AP) -- Federal water regulators say the ample rain and snowfall in California this winter will likely let them boost water supplies for farms and cities higher than last year's amounts.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says agriculture contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta for now will receive 45 percent of the water requested -- the same as in 2010. Industry and cities south of the delta will get 75 percent of their requested amount.

But if the wet weather continues those figures likely will jump up next month, when the agency announces its official water delivery plans.

The bureau and the state run the pumps that send water to more than 25 million Californians and the farms that produce much of the nation's fruits and vegetables.

New doctor appointment rules take effect in California

SACRAMENTO, CA - Californians who have HMOs (health maintenance organizations) and some PPOs (preferred provider organizations) are now entitled to be seen by doctors within certain timeframes.

The law kicked in Monday. Under the new wait time rules, a patient must be given an appointment to see a primary care doctor within 10 business days and a specialist within 15 days.

Another provision is that a qualified health professional must be available around the clock to help determine the urgency of a caller's health.

"The Department of Managed Health Care will audit those health plans on a routine basis, and than we'll as well be doing secret shopper audits where we call up and try to get appointments and ensure that in fact patients are getting the care that they need," said department director Cindy Ehnes.

Newsom launches California discussion on state's higher education system

Newsom launches California discussion on state's higher education system

California's Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday the launch of a statewide higher education listening tour and an online campaign that will engage Californian's in a public dialogue, seeking their feedback and suggestions on issues relating to the state's higher education system.

In the coming months, Newsom is expected to travel to the University of California (UC), Califoria State University (CSU) and community college campuses, to meet with a broad range of stakeholders, including students, administration officials and community and business leaders.

"I look forward to having an honest conversation and hearing directly from students, educators and administration officials on everyday issues and challenges within our higher education system," said Newsom.

Study finds toxic chemicals in pregnant womens' bodies

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Pregnant women take elaborate steps to protect their babies' health, following doctors' orders to avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco - even soft cheeses and deli meats.

In spite of these efforts, a new study shows the typical pregnant woman has dozens of potentially toxic or even cancer-causing chemicals in her body - including ingredients found in flame retardants and rocket fuel.

Almost all 268 women studied had detectable levels of eight types of chemicals in their blood or urine, finds the study, published in today's Environmental Health Perspectives. It analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These chemicals include certain pesticides, flame retardants, PFCs used in non-stick cookware, phthalates (in many fragrances and plastics), pollution from car exhaust, perchlorate (in rocket fuel) and PCBs, toxic industrial chemicals banned in 1979 that persist in the environment.

Excessive videogaming linked to depression in kids

When it comes to video gaming, it seems moderation is important to a child's mental health. 

In a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers in the  U.S. and overseas studied more than 3,000 third, fourth, seventh and eighth graders in  Singapore and found that around 8 percent of the students were considered  pathological gamers. 

A young person was considered a pathological gamer when the practice damaged the actual functioning of his or her life by negatively impacting their  schoolwork, social life, family relationships, and psychological and emotional welfare.