Government & Politics

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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Government & Politics
1:10 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown Placed On Leave Following Domestic Violence Arrest

Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown
Credit City of Fresno

Fresno Fire Department Chief Rob Brown was placed on administrative leave today by City Manager Mark Scott. The move comes hours after Brown was arrested by Fresno County sheriff's deputies after an alleged domestic violence incident at his Fresno home late Wednesday night. 

According to the Fresno County Sheriff's Department, Brown was arrested on charges of felony domestic violence and criminal threats. Jail logs indicate that Brown was released from the Fresno County Jail on bond early Thursday morning. 

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Government & Politics
5:44 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Measure G Defeated, Mayor Announces Budget, Layoff Plans

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno’s Measure G officially went down in defeat today. With around 600 votes left to count, updated numbers from the Fresno County Elections Office show that the controversial residential trash outsourcing measure now trails by of 801 votes.

The move is a defeat for Mayor Ashley Swearengin and ends her effort to sell off the service to a private contractor in order to generate additional money for the crash strapped city’s general fund.

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Government & Politics
7:28 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Brown, Democratic Leaders Announce Budget Deal

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It wasn’t too many years ago California could barely get a budget passed. But as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, things are different this year.

California Governor Jerry Brown was joined by Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez to confirm a three-way budget deal.

All appeared proud of their agreement, which was reached with time to spare before Saturday’s legislative budget deadline. Steinberg pointed out meeting that deadline is becoming routine.

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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
5:07 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Sources: Governor, Legislative Democrats Reach Budget

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

California Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders appear to have reached a budget deal days before the legislature’s constitutional deadline.

“The Legislature is doing their job and doing it well,” the governor said in a late-night statement after the joint Senate-Assembly Budget Conference Committee wrapped up its work Monday.  “It looks like California will get another balanced budget and, very importantly, educational funding that recognizes the different needs of California’s students.”

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Government & Politics
6:01 am
Mon June 10, 2013

A New Kind of Budget Fight Comes to Sacramento

SEIU Local 1000 members rally for pay raises at the State Capitol
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

With California’s budget deadline drawing closer and revenues rising, the air around the Capitol is filled with the cries of people calling for the state to restore past cuts. But Governor Jerry Brown is insisting on frugality. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, that’s setting up a new kind of budget battle after years of deficits. 

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Government & Politics
11:20 am
Wed June 5, 2013

FBI Raids Two Offices at Capitol

FBI agents exit the Capitol office of Calif. Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) Tuesday night, removing boxes and black bags.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

UPDATE:

The Senate’s Chief Sergeant-at-Arms has clarified that the second office searched in addition to Calderon’s Capitol office also belonged to the senator.  That office had previously been identified as belonging to the Latino Legislative Caucus.

The Sergeant-at-Arms attributed the confusion to an outdated list of room numbers.  Calderon’s auxiliary office and the Latino Legislative Caucus are both across the street from the Capitol in the Legislative Office Building.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

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Government & Politics
10:29 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Measure To Impose Trampoline Park Safety Rules Moves Through California Legislature

file photo
Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user obscura-prime / http://www.flickr.com/photos/27374790@N05/6990313715/

A non-profit group wants trampoline parks in California to be safer, and it’s sponsored a bill to regulate them. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

Tom Paper helped start the non-profit “Think Before You Bounce” after people he knew were injured at the trampoline parks.

“Imagine a single trampoline, but imagine now, 20 or 30 of them stitched together,” says Paper.

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Government & Politics
2:39 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

California Democrats Seek To Spend More on Education, Welfare

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Revenues are up in California, and many legislative Democrats want to use the money to restore previous funding cuts. But Republicans say now is not the time. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The Senate and Assembly are working to combine their proposed budgets into one bill. Democrats say, after years of cuts, it’s time to use increased revenues to make some investments in social, health and educational programs. Assembly Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield wants to see the Middle Class Scholarship program funded. It would reduce tuition costs for some UC and CSU students.

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Government & Politics
3:51 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Assembly Approves Minimum Wage Increase

Credit Valley Public Radio

California’s minimum wage would go up for the first time in six years under a bill passed by the state Assembly today. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s measure would raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $9.25 over the next three years – with cost-of-living adjustments each year after that.

“It’s been six long years – six long years - since we’ve raised the minimum wage here in California.  It’s been locked in at $8 an hour, when we know the price of rent, of clothing, of food, has all gone up during that time,” says Alejo.

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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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Government & Politics
4:45 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Vidak's Upset Win Carries Statewide Implications

Hanford Republican Andy Vidak won a special election Tuesday to fill the vacant SD-16 seat formerly held by Michael Rubio.
Credit Andy Vidak

On Tuesday night Hanford Republican Andy Vidak scored what many are calling a surprise victory in the special election to replace former state senator Michael Rubio in the 16th senate district. Despite a sizable voter registration edge for Democrats, Vidak carried over 50 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a July runoff with the top Democrat, former Rubio staffer and current Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez.

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Government & Politics
3:18 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Legislative Democrats Want to Restore Budget Cuts, But Priorities Differ

Calif. State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) speaks at a rally to restore funding for after school programs at the Capitol Tuesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

As California budget talks head into their final weeks, supporters of programs suffering from years of cuts are asking for help.  Governor Jerry Brown opposes any new spending.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, Assembly and Senate Democrats have different programs in which they'd like to invest.

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Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

California Fire Camps Key To Reducing Prison Overcrowding

Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

Reducing overcrowding at California prisons is not easy. Generally, inmates must either be released or given more space, which is expensive. But there is a third option. Inmates can be sent to fire camps.  That's a cornerstone of Governor Jerry Brown's plan to reduce prison overcrowding in response to a federal court order.  State Government Reporter Katie Orr takes a closer look at what these camps entail.  

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Government & Politics
12:05 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Brown Going After Enterprise Zones in Budget Proposal

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is proposing drastic changes to California’s Enterprise Zone program in his latest budget. The zones are located in blighted areas and businesses operating within them can claim tax credits from the state.

Craig Johnson is President of the California Association of Enterprise Zones. He says Brown’s changes would essentially eliminate the state’s 40 Enterprise Zones. He says the state already has high taxes and high regulations and eliminating tax credits won’t help.

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Government & Politics
5:34 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

New Study Gives Snapshot of Realignment Results

(file photo)
Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The California Corrections and Rehabilitation Department offered a glimpse today of how realignment is working. The program diverts low-level offenders to county jails in an effort to reduce state prison overcrowding.

A study done by the department compares inmates released pre- and post- realignment. It found post-realignment offenders were re-arrested at a lower rate than pre-realignment offenders. Both groups were convicted of new crimes at nearly the same rate. The department’s Jeffrey Callison stresses this is just a snapshot.     

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Government & Politics
5:13 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Assembly Passes TRUST Act, Again

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says the TRUST Act will prevent immigrants from being deported for relatively minor infractions. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California Assembly has passed a bill that limits when local law enforcement agencies can turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The TRUST Act says local police cannot turn undocumented immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for minor crimes. Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says this will prevent immigrants from being deported for relatively minor infractions.

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Government & Politics
4:42 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Swearengin Focuses On Business, Industry Growth in 'State of City' Speech

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin delivers her 2013 "State of the City" address

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the the city's economy is on the road to recovery in 2013, thanks in part to growth in the local food processing sector.  

"I'm telling you that things are getting good around here when it comes to industrial expansion and expanding our food business," Swearengin told the crowd. 

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Government & Politics
12:21 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Democrats Pushing to Limit Prop 13

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

Some Democrats at the Capitol are attempting to chip away at California’s fabled Prop 13. But supporters of the property tax limiting measure are digging in to fight back. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 13 limits property taxes in California. But it also requires a two-thirds vote of the public to increase any special taxes. Six Democratic sponsored bills making their way through the Senate would lower that voter requirement to 55 percent approval.

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