Government & Politics

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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Government & Politics
5:43 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Attorney For Family Of Bakersfield Beating Victim Speaks Out

Credit Kern County Sheriff's Department

The attorney representing the family of the man who was fatally beaten by Kern County Sheriffs deputies May 8 is speaking out today. In an interview with Valley Public Radio, David Cohn said that the way the agencies are handling the case is appalling.

“Our biggest concern is that evidence, and primarily videos that were on cell phones was likely to altered, lost or destroyed and essentially our biggest fears have now become a reality.”

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Government & Politics
12:35 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Brown Proceeds With Caution on May Budget Revise

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year….and less overall spending next year.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California is expecting to end the fiscal year with a few billion dollars more than anticipated. Governor Jerry Brown is proposing spending the money on schools, but not much else. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on Brown’s May budget revision.

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Government & Politics
4:10 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Lawmakers React to Brown's Budget Revision

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

Republicans at the State Capitol are pleased Governor Jerry Brown is taking a more moderate approach to spending California’s budget surplus. But they still have some criticisms. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

No formal rainy day fund, no acknowledgement of possible union pay raises, high taxes that hurt business. State Republicans listed those as among their top concerns with the Governor’s May budget revision.

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Government & Politics
3:08 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Brown's Updated Budget Proposal: More Money to Schools, But Not Much Else

California Governor Jerry Brown is proposing an updated budget that he says is balanced, solid and maintains fiscal discipline against efforts to restore years of deep budget cuts.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year, and less overall spending next year. 

His spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July includes about $1.3 billion less than his January proposal.  Brown says the state’s economic picture has weakened due to the federal sequester and the federal payroll tax change.

“We have climbed out of a hole with a Proposition 30 tax. That is good, but this is not the time to break out the champagne,” says Brown.

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Government & Politics
6:19 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Steinberg: Addressing Mental Health Can Reduce Prison Overcrowding

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) discusses his proposals to increase crisis access to mental health services at a Capitol news conference Tuesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The top Democrat in the California Senate is calling for more crisis access to mental health services to help reduce the state’s overcrowded prisons. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the proposals likely wouldn’t satisfy a federal court order to reduce the state’s prison population.

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Government & Politics
5:46 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

California Supreme Court Says Cities Can Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Medical marijuana advocates rally on a lawn near the Capitol after the California Supreme Court ruled cities and counties can ban dispensaries within their borders.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California’s highest court has come down on the side of cities and counties in the fight over the location, or even the existence, of medical marijuana dispensaries. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. 

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Government & Politics
12:56 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

New California Prison Plan 'Best of the Bad Options'

Avenal State Prison
Credit CA Dept of Corrections

“The best of the bad options”. That’s how the Department of Corrections is characterizing its plan to reduce prison overcrowding in California. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

More inmates will be sent to lower security fire camps, some elderly and sick prisoners will be paroled early, additional beds will be leased from county jails. Those are among the measures California is proposing to further reduce prison overcrowding.

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Government & Politics
5:01 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Is More Parole The Answer For Overcrowding in California Prisons?

California Governor Jerry Brown has until Thursday to release a plan for reducing prison overcrowding in California. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown has until Thursday to release a plan for reducing prison overcrowding in California. Releasing more inmates may not be popular, but one law professor says it could be the way to go. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

About 30,000 inmates are serving life sentences in California prisons. Of those inmates, about 9,000 are currently eligible for parole.  UCLA Law Professor Sharon Dolovich  says if the state is looking to reduce its prison population, that might be a good place to start.

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Government & Politics
5:37 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

White House Touts 'Strong Cities' Effort in Fresno, Rerouting Planned Bus Line

President Obama meets with mayors participating the Strong Cities, Strong Communities program, including Fresno's Ashley Swearengin in March 2012
Credit EPA.gov

A federal effort to cut red tape and better use existing  resources to help economically struggling cities like Fresno is beginning to pay off, according to Obama administration officials. 

In a statement issued Thursday, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz praised the "Strong Cities, Strong Communities" (SC2) program for supporting communities like Fresno.

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Government & Politics
1:30 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

With Competing Political and Legal Pressures, Brown Defends Prison Realignment

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is taking hits both inside and outside the State Capitol as he faces a stinging federal court order to reduce California’s prison population - and impassioned calls to expand it.  Katie Orr has more from Sacramento on the events Tuesday that show the competing political and legal pressures surrounding the governor.

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Government & Politics
6:44 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

California Undocumented Driver License Bill Moves Forward

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo (file photo)

Under current law, if you don’t have a Social Security number, you can’t get a license to drive in California. But proposed legislation would change that. Katie Orr reports from the Capitol.

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Government & Politics
6:35 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Governor's Brown's Sacramento Loft Broken Into

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown says he had an unwelcome visitor at his Sacramento loft a couple of days ago when he and his wife weren’t home:

“A guy jumped – got in, got up to the roof, jumped down on the balcony and was trying to break in. and one of my neighbors called the police.  And he was arrested and I think he’s out on his own recognizance,” says Brown.

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Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Pay Day Lending Battle Continues In California

Credit Valley Public Radio

A bill being heard in the California Senate Banking Committee Wednesday would limit the number of payday loans consumers could take out and give them longer to pay the loans back. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

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Animal Rights
9:12 am
Tue April 16, 2013

California Animal Welfare Bill Creates Controversy, Critics Call It 'Ag-Gag'

A screenshot from an undercover video shot by the group Compassion Over Killing at a Hanford slaughterhouse in 2012. Warning: this video contains very graphic footage.
Credit Compassion Over Killing / http://www.cok.net/inv/central-valley-meat/

A number of states have recently passed laws that seek to restrict journalists and animal rights activists from filming inhumane practices inside slaughterhouses. These so-called “Ag-gag” laws have drawn harsh criticism from animal welfare groups. Now, a new bill from a Fresno lawmaker that aims to mandate the swift reporting of animal abuse has some crying foul. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero reports.

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Government & Politics
2:33 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

What's Next for Governor Brown After Prison Court Ruling?

file photo
Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

California faces sanctions, fines and possible jail time for Governor Jerry Brown if the state continues to defy a federal court order to reduce its prison population.   That harsh ruling from a three-judge panel came last week in response to the governor’s motion to vacate a prison population cap those judges imposed seven years ago – when they found that overcrowding was the main reason inmates suffered and died from a lack of healthcare.  Now, they say overcrowding is still a problem.  KPCC’s Julie Small looks at what options are left for Governor Brown and the state.

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Prisons
6:45 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Court Rejects Brown's Motion to Reduce Calif. Prison Population

Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

In a scathing ruling, a federal three-judge panel has rejected Governor Jerry Brown’s request that it lift a court order placing a cap on California’s prison population.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

The U.S. Supreme Court has told the state it must reduce its prison population to 137 percent of design capacity.  The state got most of the way there.  And in January, Governor Brown filed a motion asking the court to essentially say, that’s good enough.  The answer from the court is a very clear “no.”

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Government & Politics
6:12 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Assembly Passes Bill Prohibiting Garnishing Wages Over Student Loan Debt

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

College students wouldn’t face the threat of lenders garnishing their wages if they can’t repay private student loans under a bill passed by the California Assembly today.  Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento.

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans can’t be forgiven in bankruptcy and banks can garnish up to 25 percent of a student’s wages. Democratic Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski authored a bill he says would help under-employed, debt-saddled graduates. He says the bill would simply eliminate one way private lenders can collect repayment.

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Government & Politics
11:32 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Brown Calls On China For Shared Climate Change Commitment

California Governor Jerry Brown addresses a crowd in China
Credit http://gov.ca.gov/

California Governor Jerry Brown today is traveling from Beijing to Shanghai on China’s high-speed rail system.

The ride is meant to highlight California's interest in infrastructure projects. It’s part of Brown’s weeklong trade mission in China.

Earlier in the day, Brown spoke at China’s Tsinghua University, calling for a shared commitment to climate change. 

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Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

State Tax Revenues Up in March; April Will Be More Telling

Credit Valley Public Radio

California tax revenues ended the month of March about 7 percent above estimates in the Governor’s budget. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the state controller’s office says April’s numbers will reveal far more about California’s fiscal health. 

Revenues in March were $395 million  above the Governor’s budget estimates. That puts total revenues for the fiscal year more than 4-billion above estimates so far. But April will be key for the state as income tax deposits continue to roll in.  

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