California | KERA News

California

Updated October 20

Construction crews are erecting eight looming prototypes of President Trump's border wall in a remote section of the San Diego borderlands. Four are solid concrete; four are made of steel and concrete; one is topped with spikes. They all approach 30 feet in height. Customs and Border Protection is paying $20 million to six construction companies from Mississippi, Maryland, Alabama, Texas and Arizona. Crews in white hardhats operating cranes and forklifts are expected to complete the models by the end of the month.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Fire crews were starting to gain the upper hand on numerous blazes in Northern California that have killed at least 41 people and destroyed thousands of homes, but officials warned that the deadliest wildfires in the state's history were far from extinguished.

The death toll rose Monday after "a private water tender driver assigned to the Nuns Fire tragically died in a vehicle rollover on Oakville Grande in Napa County," according to Cal Fire. The driver has not yet been publicly identified.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

Thousands more people were fleeing their homes as some of the worst wildfires in California's history continued to sweep through wine country, leaving a trail of smoldering destruction and a death toll that authorities say has reached 31.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

In the outbreak of powerful and destructive fires that have struck California since Sunday, there are now 22 large wildfires burning in the state. They've caused at least 23 deaths and scorched nearly 170,000 acres, officials said Wednesday.

Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

At least 15 people have died in intense wildfires that have destroyed thousands of buildings in Northern California, where firefighters are battling 17 large blazes in the state's wine country, including Napa and Sonoma counties. Together, they've burned 115,000 acres, according to Cal Fire.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to move California's primary elections in 2020 to the beginning of March, three months ahead of when they were held in 2016.

It's a move designed to increase the influence of the country's most populous state in deciding presidential candidates. By the June California primary elections in 2016, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were already their parties' presumptive nominees.

In a move apparently meant to counter the Trump administration's tough approach to immigration enforcement, the California legislature approved a so-called "sanctuary state" bill Saturday that would establish new protections for people living in the country illegally.

From Texas Standard:

California prohibits state-funded or state-sponsored travel to several U.S. states. In the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott's signing of a controversial adoption-related measure into law, Texas has become one of them. California's attorney general says the Texas law is discriminatory against the LGBT community.

Ed Schipul / flickr

Governor Rick Perry is calling his three-day, business-recruiting trip to California a success.  He says the traffic on his economic development website has increased 1,000 percent.