Good morning. It’s Tuesday, June 28.
- California sets vote on constitutional right to abortion.
- Study finds drought and beetles are killing bristlecones.
- And Mr. Happy Face is named the world’s ugliest dog.
“It’s all about the states from here on out.”
On Sunday, South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem defended a new state law barring abortion even for victims of rape or incest, saying one tragedy is no reason “to have another tragedy occur.” On Monday, California lawmakers put an initiative on the November ballot that would enshrine the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution. Days after the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, a new patchwork of abortion access began to take shape as the battle shifted to the states. N.Y. Times | A.P.
“This is a game changer.”
California will become the first state to extend health care to all low-income adults regardless of their immigration status, under a budget deal announced on Sunday. Right now, people living in the country illegally only qualify for California’s Medicaid program if they are 26 and younger or 50 and older. By 2024, everyone who meets the income requirements will be covered. Sacramento Bee | CalMatters
A study found that drought and bark beetles are for the first time in recorded history killing bristlecone pines, the fiercely durable trees that congregate on the harsh slopes east of the Owens Valley. Since 2013, thousands of the trees have died on Death Valley’s Telescope Peak and in forests scattered across Southern Utah, the authors said. The finding has scientists scrambling to protect the mythic Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains, home to specimens that sprouted more than 4,000 years ago. L.A. Times
☝️ The California Department of Water Resources released dramatic images comparing the water levels at Lake Oroville in 2019 and 2022. The state’s second-largest reservoir was so full in 2017 that its water overwhelmed a spillway. It’s now at 50% of capacity. Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir, is at 39%. The Guardian
See reservoir levels across the state. 👉 Water.ca.gov
The CEOs of both Google and Amazon placed personal calls to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, flew out to Capitol Hill in person. And industry-backed groups poured millions of dollars into ads on television and social media. The mobilization is part of a major effort by tech companies to block bipartisan antitrust bills that aim to rein in their power to squash competition. “With time running out for this Congress to pass them, those corporations are putting up the political fight of their lives,” the Washington Post wrote.
In May, the Berkeley author Dave Eggers learned that one of his novels was among five books banned by a South Dakota school district. He went to investigate why. He found little evidence of support for the ban among teachers or parents, yet fear was widespread. When an event was held in support of the banned books, several teachers who had planned to speak canceled at the last moment. “They were apologetic and embarrassed, but said they could not risk public exposure,” Eggers wrote. Washington Post
☝️ Meet Mr. Happy Face, winner of the 2022 World’s Ugliest Dog contest. A Chihuahua mix, he once lived in abusive conditions, has neurological issues, and requires a diaper. Yet he has made it to age 17 and sports a mohawk that impressed the judges at the contest, held annually at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma. Jeneda Benally, Mr. Happy Face’s owner, said that when she adopted the dog she was warned by shelter staff of his ragged state. “I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been,” she wrote. N.Y. Times | Press Democrat
The photographer Thomas Broening has been putting giant pictures of homelessness and wildfire destruction on billboards around Oroville and Oakland. The project, called “The End of the Dream,” is intended to wake people up, he said. “In California, we’re in denial. We’re thinking this will pass. Eventually, the water’s gonna come. The fires are going to die out. People will find homes. And if we ignore it, nothing gets done.” CBS News | NBC Bay Area
See a collection of Broening’s billboards. 👉 ThomasBroening.com
The reporter Melanie Mason did a deep dive on how the California lawyer John Eastman became a main figure in the Jan. 6 investigation. Longtime friends described him as an absent-minded professor type, a prankster, a devout Catholic, and a Deadhead. He cultivated a reputation as an amiable conservative, but then there was a shift. “He went from being more of a happy warrior to an angry warrior over time,” said Jeremy Rosen, a Los Angeles lawyer and fellow Federalist Society member. L.A. Times
During a school-board diversity workshop in San Diego County on April 11, someone asked why Asian students performed better in school. The superintendent, Cheryl James-Ward, chimed in: “We have an influx of Asians from China, and the people who are able to make that journey are wealthy,” she said. The remarks led to outrage, an apology, and on Sunday a unanimous vote by the San Dieguito Union school board to fire James-Ward. Her lawyer said she planned to sue. Voice of San Diego | NBC San Diego
A real estate report named the community with the cheapest homes in California: Trona, where houses sold between February and April for $31 a square foot, compared with the statewide average of $383. Named for the chemical used to make soda ash, Trona is a blistering hot town of roughly 1,500 people on the northern edge of the Mojave Desert. There’s one restaurant, one high school, an Elks Lodge, and a historic mineral plant that is the largest employer. KTLA
That said, Trona has one heck of a backyard.
There’s an ice cream shop in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley’s citrus-growing region that makes amazing orange ice cream. The Orange Works Cafe in Strathmore is famous among locals, but it’s also become a must-stop destination for travelers en route to Sequoia National Park. The travel writer Christopher Reynolds partook: “It delivers the creamy texture of a vintage 50-50 bar but without the vanilla nonsense, with a sharp edge of freshness and the moral authority that comes from being surrounded by miles of orange groves.” L.A. Times | KFSN
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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.
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