Dozens Killed in Boat Fire off Santa Cruz Island
In one of the worst maritime disasters in California history, the 75-foot commercial scuba diving vessel Conception caught fire early Monday morning, appearing to claim the lives of dozens of passengers. A total of 39 people were onboard the Conception at the time of the incident—6 crew members and 33 passengers—with 5 crew members the only known survivors. Santa Barbara County officials did not expect to find additional survivors—as of late Monday night, 20 bodies had been recovered by Coast Guard crews. Conception, which had embarked Saturday on a three-day dive excursion off the Ventura County coast, was anchored on the north side of Santa Cruz Island when the blaze began Monday morning. Shortly after sunrise and just a few hours later, the vessel lay 60 feet below the surface, charred and inverted on the seafloor. Officials, however, stressed that it was too early to determine if negligence had contributed to the blaze. Truth Aquatics, the owner and operator of the Conception, is well-regarded within the diving community, and the boat was in full compliance following its most recent annual inspection by the Coast Guard. According to the Truth Aquatics website, the ship featured a built-in barbecue, although it remained unclear if this played a role in the incident.
Minimum Wage Raised in LA County, But Not For Everyone
California and Los Angeles County’s Minimum Wage Inches Closer to $15.00 per Hour Although the California minimum wage is now $12.00 per hour for large employers and $11.00 per hour for small employers, that hasn’t stopped many counties and municipalities across the state from increasing their minimum wages. Starting July 1st, 2019, workers in the City of Los Angeles and Unincorporated Los Angeles County received [a small bump in pay](https://abc7.com/society/cities-across-la-county-see-new-minimum-wage-increase/5375233/) as part of the county’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2021. What are LA County’s New Minimum Wage Laws? Cities all throughout California have varying wage and hour laws—in fact, California has some of the most complicated minimum wage laws in the country. The actual minimum wage paid out depends on a few things, namely: the location, the employer’s size, and the employee’s line of work. In Unincorporated LA County, the new minimum wage laws are as follows: Employers with fewer than 26 employees must pay at least $13.25 per hour. If an employer has 26 or more employees, they are now required to pay at least $14.25 per hour. Both figures represent a $1.00 per hour increase over the previous minimum wage. Although the City of Los Angeles raised its minimum wage in accordance with Los Angeles County, special provisions have been granted to hotel workers within the City of Los Angeles. Wages for hotel employees made a small jump from their previous rate of $16.10 per hour to $16.63 per hour. Where Else Has The Minimum Wage Changed? These developments are not unique to LA—localities stretching from San Francisco to Santa Monica are pushing their minimum wages higher in-step with Los Angeles. But cities like Long Beach and Torrance are failing to keep pace, refusing to raise their minimum wage above the state-required levels. For a complete list of all recent minimum wage changes in California, The National Law Review has compiled a complete list of changes throughout the state.
San Francisco – Home of Juul Labs – Bans Sale of E-Cigarettes
Want to smoke e-cigarettes? It just got harder to in San Francisco. Are smokers being driven back to cigarettes by anti-vaping laws? Or does the free sale of vaping products ultimately lead to more people smoking cigarettes? The city of San Francisco may be about to find out. The home of Juul Labs, which controls nearly 70% of the US vaping market, San Francisco will become the first US city to ban the sale of e-cigarettes following a vote by city officials on June 25th. The new legislation, which is scheduled to take effect early next year, makes it illegal for stores to sell the vaporizers and makes it illegal for online retailers to deliver to addresses in the city. Will the Move Work? Although critics of the move say that banning vape products will drive smokers back to cigarettes, anti-vaping activists believe that the new law will help curb e-cigarette use among high school students, which rose from 11.7% of students in 2017 to 20.8% of students in 2018. In addition, vaping critics claim that more scientific evaluations of vape products are necessary—something the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees with. Companies like Juul have until 2021 to submit their products for FDA review, a crucial step that may ultimately determine the future of vaping in the US. Will other California cities join San Francisco in banning e-cigarettes? Stay tuned.