Today’s News: Rolling roses; Sales taxes up; USC down

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Petal power. The Rose Parade is rolling. Thousands of people braved chilly weather to spend the night along Pasadena streets in anticipation of the 124th running of the Tournament of Roses. They’re being treated to a glorious, sunny day. Police say 21 people were arrested overnight, all but one for public drunkenness. The theme of this year’s Tournament of Roses is “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and the Grand Marshal is chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall. Organizers say 42 floral floats, 23 marching bands and 21 equestrian teams are making their way down the 5.5-mile parade route this year. Meanwhile, the Occupy movement will be back in Pasadena today. Demonstrators protesting home foreclosures plan to wheel a float featuring the banker from the “Monopoly” board game down the parade route when the Tournament of Roses ends. KTLA, L.A. Times

Tax turn. California’s sales tax goes up a bit today. Proposition 30, approved by voters in November, lifts the state sales tax a quarter-cent, to seven-and-a-half percent. The measure also raises income taxes on Californians making more than $250,000 a year. That increase begins with the 2012 tax year. But tax officials say people who normally pay estimated tax throughout the year shouldn’t worry – no penalties will be imposed for underpayment. Ventura County Star

Laws and order. All told, more than 750 new laws take effect today in California. They include overhauls of the state pension and workers’ compensation systems and measures that allow illegal immigrants to qualify for state financial aid and apply for driver’s licenses. Other notable new laws include a ban on carrying rifles openly in public, a measure that allows people who were sentenced to life terms for crimes they committed as juveniles to seek a reduction in their terms, and one that makes it easier for school districts to close under-performing charter schools. There’s also a new law that bars state lawmakers from getting discounts on vanity license plates. L.A. Times

Cost-effective. Tuition has been rising steadily at California’s public universities, but many state schools still rank among the best educational bargains nationwide, according to a new survey. Kiplinger Personal Finance counts 11 California universities among its list of 100 “best value” public schools. UCLA comes in at Number 6 on the annual list and U.C. Berkeley and U.C. San Diego also made the Top 10. A total of eight U.C. schools are in the Top 100. Kiplinger

Cardinal and fold. The USC football team’s season of disappointment has ended on a familiar note – a loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. The less-than-mighty Trojans managed just a single touchdown in the 21-7 defeat. USC started the season ranked No. 1 with aspirations of playing for national championship. But the Trojans lost five of their last six games and finished the season with a 7-6 record. Some fans want coach Lane Kiffen fired, but USC Athletic Director Pat Haden has said he’ll stick with Kiffen. Yahoo Sports