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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

A California lawmaker says he knew something had to be done after watching a video of Barack Obama calling President Trump “a total and complete dipshit.”

Set in what appears to be the Oval Office, the video also depicts the former president speaking fondly of the militant anti-colonial villain of the “Black Panther” comic franchise and claiming that Housing Secretary Ben Carson is brainwashed.

The video was a fake, of course—a collaboration between the website Buzzfeed and filmmaker Jordan Peele. It’s Peele who speaks through Obama’s digitally re-rendered mouth to illustrate the dangers of A.I.-constructed “deepfake” videos.

With the exception of some discoloration around the jaw and a not-entirely-convincing voice, it’s a solid forgery. And the technology used to make it is only getting better.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – With the 2020 election cycle picking up steam, a California lawmaker is seeking to protect candidates from fake social media videos he believes have the potential to change election outcomes.

Known as deepfakes, the videos and images are edited to pass fictitious events or scenes on as real ones. The deceptive technology came to the forefront during the 2016 presidential election and more recently a doctored video that made House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appear drunk during a speech was shared millions of times on social media.

In a move tinged with free speech implications, Assemblyman Marc Berman wants to give candidates the ability to sue individuals and organizations that share deepfakes without warning labels near Election Day.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday dropped its plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, a decision a local state assemblyman lauded as a "huge victory."

The action came in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week in which the panel by a 5-4 vote said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's stated reason for including the question — allegedly to aid voting rights enforcement — "seems to have been contrived."

The high court said the agency could not include the question unless it was supported by a reasoned explanation.

The decision to drop the question was confirmed by the Commerce Department, which conducts the once-a-decade population count.

Ross said in a statement, "I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling. ... The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.

Friday, June 28, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Today Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) released the following statement in response to securing $3.85 million in the California State Budget for the UC Davis Firearm Violence Research Center to create gun violence prevention training programs for health care providers:

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Citing fears that doctored videos of political candidates could be used to manipulate voters in 2020, a California lawmaker has proposed legislation to ban the release of so-called deepfake images before an election.

Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, introduced AB730, which would prohibit a person from knowingly distributing a video or photo 60 days before an election with the intent of misleading voters with an image that has been deceptively edited to make it look like a true depiction of the candidate’s words or behavior.

Berman unveiled the legislation Monday, saying that the proliferation of deepfake technology — fictitious images created using artificial intelligence that appear realistic — could be weaponized on a mass scale.

Monday, June 24, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) has introduced legislation in response to growing concerns about the use of ‘deepfakes’ to interfere in the 2020 election and influence political discourse.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Many California college students are struggling to find a stable home.

Within the past year, one in 20 UC students, one in 10 CSU students and one in five community college students have reported some form of homelessness, said California Homeless Youth Project Director Shahera Hyatt. Hyatt blamed this in part on the lack of affordable housing in the state, including Sacramento. The capital city has also seen some of the country’s highest rent increases in recent years, Hyatt added.

“I live in Midtown Sacramento, and my rent has increased $350 a month over the last two years,” Hyatt said.

Some temporary resources for homeless students are offered at Sacramento State University. Danielle Muñoz, the university’s student affairs case manager, coordinates the Emergency Housing Program, which gives students 30 days to stay in residence halls with beds, laundry supplies and a meal plan.

Friday, May 24, 2019

 

• State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, withdrew his bill to combat the epidemic use of flavored tobacco products by youth, following what he called hostile amendments that carved out exceptions for tobacco used in hookahs and for tobacco products patented before 2000.

The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee announced the amendments to Senate Bill 38 last week before passing the bill on to the Senate Floor. Because of the amendments, the American Lung Association in California, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network withdrew their sponsorship and support, according to Hill’s office.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) released the following statement in response to Assembly Bill 302 passing out of the Assembly today with bipartisan support. Championed by Berman and sponsored by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, the bill would require community colleges to grant overnight access to campus parking facilities for homeless students to sleep in their vehicles.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) released the following statement in response to Assembly Bill 302 passing out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee today. Championed by Berman and sponsored by the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, the bill would require community colleges to grant overnight access to campus parking facilities for homeless students to sleep in their vehicles.