Today’s News: Challenge to ‘conversion therapy’ ban; Runners honor Boston victims; Kicking the coal habit

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Conversion therapy. In San Francisco today, a federal appeals panel will hear arguments on a new state law that outlaws so-called “conversion therapy.” The treatment, which is aimed at making gay and lesbian teenager straight, has been dismissed as ineffective and dangerous by many mental health professionals. But critics say the ban violates the civil rights of practitioners and parents. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law but it was put on hold because of the legal challenge. AP

Marathon memorials. An impromptu run to honor victims of the Boston Marathon bombings materialized this morning in Santa Monica. Several dozen runners gathered at the Santa Monica pier with plans to run 26.2 miles. Another memorial run – this one five kilometers – will be held this evening in Manhattan Beach. That run begins at 6:30 and will be followed by a candlelight ceremony at the Manhattan Beach Pier. L.A. Times

Coal costs. Weaning L.A. off of coal is going to come with a big price tag for the city’s Department of Water and Power, according to a new report. Mayor Villaraigosa wants to make L.A. coal-free by 2025, two years earlier than a state-imposed mandate. But DWP’s ratepayer advocate says the utility’s elimination of coal from its menu of energy options will cost more than $600 million dollars. Much of that will come from getting rid of the city’s interest in an Arizona coal plant. L.A. Times

Gun crackdown. A state Senate panel has approved a package of gun control bills after hearing dramatic and occasionally gut-wrenching testimony from victims of gun violence and their families. The package includes licenses and background checks for ammunition purchases and a ban high-capacity magazines, among other things. Opponents say the bills violate gun owners’ constitutional rights and would not reduce violence because the laws would be ignored by criminals. But backers say recent mass shootings demonstrate the need for tougher restrictions. AP

Teacher misconduct. The L.A. School Board has approved a resolution aimed at speeding up investigations of teachers accused of serious misconduct. Investigations of teachers accused of sexual or physical abuse typically drag on for months, and sometimes years, with instructors languishing in what’s derisively called “teacher jail.” The resolution by Board Member Tamar Galatzan aims to streamline the process by setting a time limit. The district will also come up with a plan to hire a panel of professional investigators to look into abuse allegations. L.A. Daily News

Ratings revamp. The Motion Picture Association of America is tweaking its movie ratings. The MPAA says it will include prominent and detailed descriptions of why a movie received its rating, to help parents determine whether it is right for their children. But not everyone is impressed. Critics say the move doesn’t go far enough to address “ratings creep” – their term for increased violence and adult themes in PG13 films. Hollywood Reporter