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

Feb 6, 2014
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.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

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.

Major Changes Proposed for California Elections Rules

Jan 2, 2014
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.

Panel: California's Direct Democracy Process Needs Changes

Oct 24, 2013
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.

New Poll Says Voters Support Changes to Initiative process

Oct 9, 2013
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:

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

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.

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.  

Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

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.

Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould /

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.

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.