Valley Public Radio News

Hear local reports on the economy, government, education, health and the environment on Valley Public Radio during All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Valley Edition. 

History made in US Senate race with Harris win

Nov 9, 2016
California U.S. Senate candidate and California Attorney General Kamala Harris hugs Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis before speaking during her election night watch party at The Exchange LA on Tuesday night, Nov. 8, 2016. California chose Harris
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

California U.S. Senate candidate and California Attorney General Kamala Harris hugs Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis before speaking during her election night watch party at The Exchange LA on Tuesday night, Nov. 8, 2016. California chose Harris as its new U.S. senator. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

California's U.S. Senate contest turned into a dominant win for state Attorney General Kamala Harris over her opponent, Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. 

California has made a huge about-face when it comes to bilingual education in public schools, approving Proposition 58. The significance of this initiative underscores the changing demographics and cultural shifts in the Golden State.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 57 has passed after enjoying a strong lead throughout the evening.

Proposition 57 will make several changes to California’s criminal justice system, after 10 years of federal court oversight of its prisons prompted by overcrowding. Its least controversial part would change how some juvenile defendants are charged by allowing judges, instead of prosecutors, to decide if they should be charged as adults.

Early returns Tuesday night showed California voters leaning toward rejecting Proposition 62 — an effort to end capital punishment in the state — and narrowly approving a competing measure that would streamline executions.

Before the election, backers and opponents of both Propositions 62 and 66 agreed that California’s death penalty system was broken. Although nearly 900 death sentences have been handed down since California reinstated the capital punishment in 1978, there have been just 13 executions.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has seized the state’s open U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer.

A preliminary exit poll conducted for The Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research found Harris easily defeated her fellow Democrat, U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

Sanchez faced an uphill battle ever since the June primary, when Harris won 53 out of California’s 58 counties. Sanchez barely edged out Harris in her own Orange County.

Early counts indicate California voters have approved Proposition 64, legalizing recreational use of marijuana in the nation’s most populous state and along the entire West Coast.

The vote marks a change in drug policy decades in the making and indicates growing momentum for other states to legalize marijuana for either recreational or medical use. Though California was first in the U.S. to allow medical use, it follows Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Washington, D.C. in legalizing recreational marijuana.

Kamala-full.jpg
Benjamin Brayfield / KPCC

UPDATE 9:28 p.m.: Prop. 57 Expected To Pass

Voters have approved Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to overhaul California’s criminal justice sentencing system.

Proposition 57 allows for parole of nonviolent offenders who complete the full sentence for their primary offense. It also lets inmates earn credits for good behavior and education. And it requires judges, rather than prosecutors, to decide whether juveniles as young as 14 should be tried as adults.

Forty years ago, when Jerry Brown was first governor, he signed a law that dramatically changed the way California sentenced criminal offenders. Previously, under the indeterminate sentencing law, many inmates received inconclusive sentences instead of a fixed term. It was up to a parole board to decide when an inmate was ready to re-enter society.

Under the law signed by Brown in 1976, the state shifted to a determinate sentencing structure — and in the years following, lawmakers and voters piled on dozens more laws that added years to prisoners’ terms.

coveredca.gov

November marks the start of Covered California’s insurance open enrollment. 2016 will be the fourth year that residents in the Central Valley can shop online for private, federally-subsidized health insurance.

Valley Public Radio spoke with Executive Director Peter about changes going on in the exchange that both people with insurance and the uninsured need to be aware of.

First, Lee says it all begins with knowing if you are eligible to sign up or change your current plan:

Pages