Government & Politics

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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Government & Politics
5:51 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Bill to Penalize Boy Scouts for Gay Membership Ban Clears Committee

A bill that would penalize the Boy Scouts of America for the group’s ban on gay membership has cleared its first hurdle in the California legislature.  As Capital Public Radio’s Marianne Russ reports, some groups could pay more taxes under the measure. 

The bill would remove sales and corporate tax exemptions from youth groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity or religious affiliation.  Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara wrote the bill.

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Government & Politics
5:34 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Steinberg say No Prop 13 Reform This Year

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (file photo)
Credit Office of Darrell Steinberg

There appears to be some momentum in the legislature to modify California’s Proposition 13. But the state Senate’s leading Democrat says he doesn’t want that debate to bog down the session this year. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

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Immigration
12:07 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Revamped "TRUST Act" Back This Year at California Capitol

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

A California lawmaker is taking another run at a bill that would limit federal immigration holds on people in local custody.  Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the so-called “TRUST Act” last year because he said it prevented law enforcement from holding certain violent criminals.  But as KPCC’s Julie Small reports, a new version of the bill cleared its first committee Tuesday.

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Transportation
9:14 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Fresno's Shaw Avenue to Get 'Intelligent' Synchronized Traffic Lights

Traffic on Shaw Avenue may soon become less congested, thanks to a new "intelligent" synchronization system.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Earlier this month, an article in the New York Times  showcased Los Angeles for being the first major city  in the world to synchronize every one of its 4,500 traffic signals. But closer to home, a similar project is already underway in Fresno, which could make commutes on Shaw Avenue quicker by the end of April. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero reports.

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Government & Politics
4:50 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Brown's Bid to Regain Control of Mental Health Care in California Prisons Rejected

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

A federal judge has rejected California’s push to retake control of prison inmates’ mental health care.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, it’s a major setback for Governor Jerry Brown.

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Government & Politics
10:30 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Judge Criticizes State's Potential "Ethical Violations" in Prison Case

file photo
Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

A federal judge says California may have committed ethical violations in a lawsuit over prison mental healthcare.  KPCC’s Julie Small reports the judge’s stern rebuke could de-rail Governor Jerry Brown’s push to free the state from over a decade of federal oversight.

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Government & Politics
6:18 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Fran Florez Drops Out of Senate District 16 Race

Fran Florez
Credit http://twitter.com/Florez4Valley

Shafter's Fran Florez announced on Twitter today that she is dropping out of the race to replace former State Senator Michael Rubio in the 16th district.

The Kern County Democrat said in a statement that she made her decision to protect party unity and to ensure a Democratic victory in the upcoming special election.

Kern County Supervisor and former Rubio staffer Letecia Perez announced yesterday that she and her family would move to a new home to maintain her eligibility in the race. 

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Transportation
10:04 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Centennial Corridor Freeway Project Divides Bakersfield, Neighborhood

Amy Richardson, co-chair of the Westpark Home Owners Association, points to a homemade map of the area that will be taken by the freeway project.
Ezra Romero Valley Public Radio

The future of a well-established neighborhood in Bakersfield is on the rocks. The reason: a three decade old freeway project with intentions to connect Bakersfield with the rest of the state. Valley Public Radio's Ezra Romero visits the community, speaks with community leaders and reports on the future of what some call a better connected Bakersfield and California.

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Government & Politics
5:53 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

California Cities Watch Closely as Stockton Bankruptcy Trial Begins

Stockton, CA (file photo)
Credit Marianne Russ / Capital Public Radio

The city of Stockton has begun a four-day trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  At stake: whether the city should be eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

The case has other local governments watching closely – particularly those that still face large budget deficits.  Chris McKenzie with the League of California Cities says he believes cities will “move heaven and earth” to avoid future bankruptcies.

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Government & Politics
6:40 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Rewritten Water Bond to Include Less Money for Storage

California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
Office of Darrell Steinberg

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says lawmakers plan to rewrite the $11 billion water bond for the November 2014 ballot – and the new version will likely have less money for storage projects such as dams.

“There will continue to be a chapter for storage.  I don’t think there will be nearly the same amount of money in that chapter as there was in the original bond.  And I think there will be de-emphasis, frankly – or at least, on the same surface storage projects,” says Steinberg. 

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Government & Politics
6:32 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

State to Delay Sending Residents Fire Protection Bills

Credit Cal Fire

The state of California is putting a temporary halt to sending out new bills to some rural homeowners in the enforcement of a controversial fire prevention fee.

The delay comes as CAL Fire is sorting through a backlog of thousands of appeals from mostly foothill and mountain residents. The state was planning to send out another round of bills in April.

Some 87,000 residents have already appealed the fee. It's unclear when the state will clear the backlog in appeals and send out new bills. 

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Government & Politics
2:02 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Lawmakers Examine Options for Closing CalSTRS Shortfall

When state lawmakers were beating their chests last year about the need to reduce pension liabilities, they didn’t actually do anything about the largest liability of all. 

The California State Teachers Retirement System – known as CalSTRS – is facing a projected $70 billion shortfall.   KPCC’s Julie Small attended a sobering hearing Wednesday on the state’s options for closing the gap.

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