governance

Government & Politics
7:18 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Brown Calls Special Legislative Session on New Budget Reserve

Governor Jerry Brown's Director of Finance, Michael Cohen, discusses the governor's "rainy day fund" proposal with reporters at the Capitol Wednesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown is throwing the full weight of his office behind his push for a new state budget reserve by calling the legislature into special session next week.  But Republicans say he’ll have to strengthen his proposal to win their support.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
12:38 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Break It Up: Should California Split Into Six States?

file photo
Credit Flickr user jimmywayne / Creative Commons / http://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/154814511/sizes/o/

California is the nation's most populous state. Its farms feed the nation, its studios and filmmakers entertain the world, and its technology companies help define our future. But some say the state is simply too large, too diverse and too unwieldy to govern effectively. 

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Government & Politics
8:01 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Fluke Enters Senate Race as Number of Women in California Legislature Declines

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Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke is running for a state senate seat. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, her candidacy comes as the number of women in the state legislature is dropping.

Women make up more than half of California’s population, but just over a quarter of the state legislature. The number of women elected to the legislature has been dropping for several years. It’s an issue Fluke has been working to fix.

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Government & Politics
10:45 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Reforming California's Ballot Box Democracy

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

The year 2014 will be a big one California voters. Not only will citizens choose the state’s next governor, and who will represent them in Congress, a number of big issues will likely be on the ballot in the form of propositions. A handful of groups are currently gathering signatures right now to put the issue of marijuana legalization before voters in November.

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Government & Politics
11:54 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Major Changes Proposed for California Elections Rules

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Two big changes to California elections could come up for debate in the state legislature in 2014.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on proposals that would eliminate special elections and require cities and counties to hold their votes at statewide elections.

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Government & Politics
6:52 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Panel: California's Direct Democracy Process Needs Changes

Three former leaders of California’s three branches of government disagree about whether the state’s direct democracy process is serving voters well, but they all agreed on one way to improve it at a Public Policy Institute of California panel.
Ben Adler Capital Public Radio

Three former leaders of California’s three branches of government disagree about whether the state’s direct democracy process is serving voters well – but they all agree on a potential way to improve it.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on today’s Public Policy Institute of California panel.

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Government & Politics
7:34 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

New Poll Says Voters Support Changes to Initiative process

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Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new report suggests that although Californians strongly support the state’s initiative process, they’d like to see changes to limit the power of special interests and increase the role of the legislature.  

The report comes from the Public Policy Institute of California.  It analyzed its polling data to determine whether several potential initiative process changes would be popular.  Turns out they are, says the PPIC’s Mark Baldassare.  For example:

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Government & Politics
5:34 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Freshman Lawmakers Face Different Legislative Future

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

A new version of term limits, a new way to draw voting districts, a new system for running primary elections. Those three changes all took effect in 2012. Each was intended to moderate the California legislature. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there is hope the changes have been effective, but so far there’s no proof.

New lawmakers are frequently sworn in at the California State Capitol. But the class taking the oath of office last December faced a different legislative future from classes who came before them.

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Development Watch
6:07 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Olivier Pushes Law to Waive Fees for Infill Development in Fresno

Clint Olivier
Credit City of Fresno

Jump-starting infill development is the focus of a new city ordinance being advanced today by Fresno City Councilmember Clint Olivier.

His draft ordinance, called the Best Utilization of Infill Land Development Act, or BUILD, would eliminate some development fees for new residential  construction on small vacant lots within the city.

It would waive fees that go to pay for police, fire, traffic and parks services.  

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Government & Politics
5:41 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Federal Judges to Governor Brown: Stop Delaying Prisoner Release

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Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

A federal three-judge panel is reiterating its order to California Governor Jerry Brown to reduce prison overcrowding. Today’s ruling even removes any state and local laws that might get in the way. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The judges have ordered California to immediately expand its good time credit program, which allows inmates to get out of prison early.  The judges also waived any state or local laws preventing the release of prisoners.

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Government & Politics
10:51 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Legislators Scramble to Undo Changes to Public Records Act

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California Senate leaders say they’ll introduce a Constitutional Amendment to ensure compliance with the state’s Public Records Act. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the move comes after an unexpected public outcry against watering it down.

A provision attached to the budget bill made complying with certain parts of the state’s Public Records Act optional. The change enraged members of the media and lawmakers have been scrambling to undo the move since then.

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Government & Politics
5:22 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Fresno City Manager Mark Scott To Leave Job For Burbank

Credit City of Fresno

Fresno City Manager Mark Scott announced today he is leaving his job to take a similar position in the city of Burbank. Mayor Ashley Swearengin will promote current assistant city manager Bruce Rudd to replace him. The move is effective July 19th.

Scott spent the last three years on the job in Fresno, dealing with a number of issues ranging from budget deficits and hits to the city’s credit rating, to controversy over animal control and development lawsuits between the city and the counties Madera and Fresno. 

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Government & Politics
5:03 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

California Elected Officials To Get Pay Raise

Credit Valley Public Radio

The salaries of California's state lawmakers and constitutional officers weren’t exempt from years of state budget cuts. But some of those cuts were restored today  when a state commission voted to give lawmakers a pay raise. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

It may be a happier holiday season for state elected officials. The California Citizens Compensation Committee has approved a five percent raise, which will take effect in December.

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Government & Politics
3:50 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

California Budget Could Loosen State's Public Records Act

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

 

Local government agencies will no longer be required to follow key provisions of California’s Public Records Act in a bill that’s part of the budget state lawmakers approved over the weekend.  As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, Governor Jerry Brown is expected to enact the change—which is less drastic than one he proposed.

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Government & Politics
5:50 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

New Law Would Limit California Public Records Act

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

A new California law could make it more difficult to get public records from local governments. A “trailer bill” attached to this year’s state budget would make compliance with certain parts of the California Public Records Act optional.

Phillip Ung with the open government advocacy group Common Cause says Senate Bill 71 would enact drastic changes to the Act.

“SB 71 essentially makes participation in the California Public Records Act voluntary, based on what it is the city wants to do,” says Ung.

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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Parties Clash Over Budget Transparency

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Lawmakers will begin voting on the California budget on Friday. But Republicans say they’ll also have to vote on several bills they know little about.  Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The budget is the big picture bill. It dictates where the state’s money will go. Trailer bills are attached to the budget and spell out how the money will be allocated.

Typically trailer bills are published a few days before the budget vote. This year the earliest of at least 15 came out Wednesday morning.

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Education
5:50 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

School Districts Have Varying Views on School Funding Formula

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Credit Fresno Unified School District

School districts in California will receive varying amounts of money under the state’s new school funding plan. And attitudes about the plan vary as well. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Under the new formula, districts will receive a base level of funding for every student. They’ll get additional money for every low-income and non-English speaking student they have.

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Government & Politics
11:15 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Analysis: With the Fate of Measure G Undecided, What's Next?

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Right now at a warehouse in Southeast Fresno, county elections workers are busy verifying signatures on the last handful of provisional ballots that will decide the fate of Measure G, the controversial residential trash outsourcing initiative. As of the most recent vote count released last Friday, the measure is currently failing by just 193 votes, with around 2700 ballots left to count.

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Government & Politics
9:51 am
Tue May 28, 2013

California Lawmakers Rush to Meet Legislative Deadline

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

In the California legislature this is the last week for bills to either pass or fail in their House of Origin. With hundreds of bills to consider, it’s going to be a busy week for lawmakers. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. 

In lay terms, the “House of Origin” deadline means bills need to pass out of the house where they were originally introduced, either the Assembly or the Senate, by this Friday. Bills still in consideration include measures relating to guns, medical marijuana, minimum wage and many more.

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Environment
11:42 am
Tue April 30, 2013

As 'Fracking' Debate Heats Up, Weighing Risks Key to Possible Monterey Shale Boom

Much of the Monterey Shale formation lies beneath the San Joaquin Valley. (file photo)
Credit Kathleen Masterson / Capital Public Radio

Could California be on the verge of a new gold rush? That’s the finding of a new study from USC about the potential economic impact of oil that lies deep beneath the Central Valley, known as the Monterey Shale. But extracting that oil isn’t easy, and it would require the use of a number of advanced techniques, including hydraulic fracturing.  And that’s attracted concerns from environmental groups and state regulators. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports on some recent developments in the fracking debate.

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