Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Brown Again Calls for Restraint In His 2014 State Of The State Address

Jan 22, 2014
Office of the Governor

California Gov. Jerry Brown has delivered another message of fiscal prudence in his 2014 State of the State address.

"We can’t go back to 'business as usual,'" Brown told lawmakers at a joint session of the California legislature in Sacramento.

TARP's "$700 Billion Man" Wants To Lead California: Neel Kashkari

Jan 21, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

He’s never held elected office.  He’s not a household name.  To the extent he IS known, it’s for running the politically unpopular federal bank bailout program.  And he’s the man many California Republicans are counting on to rescue their party.  He is Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official under Presidents Bush and Obama.  And as of today, he’s now running for governor of California.  Ben Adler has this profile from Sacramento.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

 

Around 40 activists, health advocates and bus riders rallied in Central Fresno Thursday urging the Fresno City Council to support an improved bus system.

Bus Rapid Transit would be a network of busses that would reduce travel time on major corridors like Blackstone Avenue by having fewer stops, pre-boarding fare collection and priority traffic signals. Fifty million dollars in federal and state funding has already been allocated which will pay for construction and the first three years of operation.

Federal and Local Law Enforcement Break Central Valley Mail Theft Rings

Jan 15, 2014
Capital Public Radio

Federal and local law enforcement officials have announced arrests and prosecutions in a flurry of mail theft cases.  As Max Pringle reports, Sacramento, Bakersfield and Fresno were the focus of months of investigations.

Last year, U.S. Postal Service inspectors from around the country came to the Central Valley to help local police investigate an upswing in mail theft. Greg Campbell with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service says mail theft and drug abuse usually go hand-in-hand.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg was our guest on this week's Valley Edition. The Sacramento Democrat told KVPR's Joe Moore that he supports the governor's call for fiscal restraint, but is pushing for expansion of certain programs, including a proposal for universal preschool for the state's 4-year-olds. Steinberg also called on his colleagues to resurrect a variant of the state's now-shuttered redevelopment system, and continued to advocate for the state's water bond.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown visited Fresno today to meet with valley farmers and local leaders Monday, less than a week after he unveiled his new budget proposal.

Brown says he heard loud and clear from those he met with that water is a big issue.

“They want a drought declaration, the want some flexibility in the use of water and they have some other interesting ideas that we are going to look at.”

Office of Darrell Steinberg

The leader of California’s  Senate is issuing words of caution on Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to use money from the state’s cap-and-trade program to help pay for construction of high speed rail.  

Speaking with Valley Public Radio, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says he’s concerned about the rail authority’s plan to finance construction of the next stage of the bullet train, which would go from Bakersfield over the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale in Southern California.

Brown Uses Budget to Push for More Time on Prisons

Jan 9, 2014
CDCR

California remains under a court order to reduce its prison population. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown is trying to use his budget to get the state some more time.

A federal three judge panel has given California until the middle of April to reduce is prison population to about 137 percent of capacity.  But Brown is basing several items in his budget on the assumption California will get a two-year extension of that deadline. Brown has long maintained the state has done enough to reduce prison overcrowding.

Brown Pushes Fiscal Restraint As He Releases His Budget Proposal

Jan 9, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown is calling for another year of fiscal prudence, despite the state’s four-and-a-half billion dollar budget surplus.  That’s drawing mixed reactions from legislative Democrats and cautious praise from minority Republicans.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

There was little suspense over the contents of the budget itself after it leaked out two days early.  But that didn’t stop the governor from making his case for restraint.

He pointed to a chart of red and black bars showing the deficits and surpluses from the last decade.

California High Speed Rail Authority

California’s $68 billion high speed rail project ran into a rough stretch of track late last year, with judge ruling that the project has failed to comply with financing and environmental review requirements in 2008's voter-approved  Proposition 1A. While those rulings and a separate lawsuit about the sale of $8.6 billion in bonds, didn't stop work on the project, they did cast serious doubt about how the rail authority plans to move forward.

California GOP Lawmakers: Build Reserve, Pay Down Debt

Jan 6, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Minority Republicans are calling for spending restraint, paying down debt and putting a portion of the state’s one-time revenues into infrastructure projects.

Assembly GOP Leader Connie Conway says Governor Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats should resist the temptation to spend the money that’s coming into state coffers well above budget projections.

California Democrats Focused on Financial Recovery

Jan 6, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California legislature is back in session and Democrats remain firmly in control. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, leaders are starting the year with a focus on the economy.

Democratic leaders are pushing a message of restoring the state’s economy by creating a rainy day fund and paying down debt. But projects like high speed rail and the Delta water tunnel plan could put pressure on the budget.

Democrats hold a super majority in the legislature, but Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett says the party will continue to act responsibly.    

Governor's Possible Budget Move on Cap and Trade Gets Mixed Reactions

Jan 6, 2014
California High Speed Rail Authority

Environmental groups are reacting to the possibility that California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget may propose using cap and trade revenue for High Speed Rail. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the state has generated $530 million from the greenhouse gas emissions reduction program.

New California Law Allows Children To Have More Than Two Parents

Jan 3, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Children in California can now have more than two legal parents.

A new law allows judges to grant additional parental rights if they find that recognizing only two parents would be detrimental to a child.

Attorney Andrew Cain is with Legal Advocates for Children and Youth. He says the law will only be applied in limited circumstances.

Hard Liquor Tastings, Beer Growler Refills Now Legal in California

Jan 3, 2014
Gov. Brown's Twitter feed

Craft breweries and liquor distillers in California could get shots of new business as a result of two new state laws taking effect in 2014.  And as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, beer and liquor drinkers will likely be happy as well.

In California, New Law Means Home Remodeling May Force Plumbing Upgrade

Jan 3, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Californians who want to alter or remodel a home built before 1994 may have to agree to install water-efficient plumbing in order to obtain a building permit. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the 2009 law that takes effect in January is creating some confusion in the building industry.

Local Law Enforcement Agencies in California Implement Trust Act

Jan 3, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Some local California law enforcement agencies say they won’t have to adjust their policies much under the Trust Act. As Max Pringle reports, that’s a new law prohibiting counties from holding undocumented offenders on non-serious charges until federal immigration authorities can take them into custody.

Counties like Santa Clara, Los Angeles and San Francisco have had similar laws on their books for some time. Susan Fahey with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department says the Trust Act creates a state-wide policy, while allowing local agencies to maintain stricter standards.

Flickr user Steve Rhodes - Creative Commons / http://www.flickr.com/photos/ari/

The California Supreme Court has ruled an undocumented immigrant can be admitted to the state bar. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the ruling is made possible by new California law.

The law allows the California Supreme Court to certify undocumented immigrants as practicing attorneys in the state. It was inspired by Sergio Garcia of Chico. He graduated from law school and passed the California bar, but was prohibited from practicing because he is not a U.S. citizen. Garcia says the law made it possible for him to practice. 

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.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her priorities for the city and some of the biggest issues facing local residents, from homelessness to city finances to public safety. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

On plans to raise water rates to pay for a new surface water treatment plant and replace aging infrastructure:

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