Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

More than a dozen immigrants and advocates gathered outside of Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield this morning and called on him to support comprehensive immigration reform. The event marked the start of an 11-day push for immigration reform, in honor of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the country.

“We want our congressional representative to pass comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship, now!” said Camila Chavez, executive director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation

Rosy California Budget Projections Prompt Calls for New Spending

Dec 3, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s non-partisan budget analyst has declared the state’s structural deficit a thing of the past and projected multi-billion dollar surpluses for years to come.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, that’s prompting calls from some Democrats and progressive groups to reinvest in programs hit hard by recession-era budget cuts.

When Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor released his budget projections a few weeks ago, he tempered the good news with words of caution:

California Lawmakers Want Amendment to Farm Bill Removed

Dec 3, 2013
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

An amendment to the U.S. House version of the federal Farm Bill has upset a bipartisan group of California lawmakers. As Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, they’ve written a letter to House leaders calling for its removal.

California Voters To Decide Fate Of Proposed Madera Casino

Dec 2, 2013
North Fork Rancheria

An Indian tribe located near Yosemite has state and federal approvals to build a casino off of its reservation. But a referendum on the California ballot next year might kill the project. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Judge Blocks California High Speed Rail Financing

Nov 25, 2013
Credit California High Speed Rail Authority / File Photo

 California’s High Speed Rail project may have stalled out in court. A judge ruled today the Rail Authority cannot sell $8 billion in bonds to help fund the project.

The judge also ordered the Authority to rewrite its $68 billion funding plan before moving forward with construction.

Jon Coupal is with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which opposes the project.

Covered California Votes to Keep Original Policy Cancelation Deadline

Nov 21, 2013

The Covered California board of directors voted today [Thursday] not to allow health insurers to renew canceled policies that don’t meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act.

The decision comes after President Obama’s recent suggestion that insurers be allowed to decide whether they want to extend the policies for a year.

The exchange’s executive director, Peter Lee, raised concerns about pushing back the cancelations for a few months or up to a year.

After Years of Deficits, Budget Surpluses Projected for California

Nov 20, 2013
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

  California’s structural deficit is history – and the legislature’s non-partisan budget analyst is projecting growing surpluses for the next several years.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the welcome budget news still comes with words of caution.

Steinberg Refutes Claims He's Under Investigation

Nov 14, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A California Senate Democrat who is under investigation by the FBI says he’s not the only one the Bureau is looking into. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, other Senators are vehemently denying today they're targets of an investigation.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters he is not under investigation by the FBI after his fellow Democrat, Senator Ron Calderon, made that claim in a court filing earlier this week. Calderon is under investigation for corruption. Steinberg says his reputation is above reproach.

Initiative Would Raise Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages

Nov 11, 2013
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s high-stakes battle over medical malpractice damages could move to the ballot box next year.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the initiative campaign seeking to increase the cap on “pain and suffering” awards will pit trial lawyers against doctors.

With Donnelly's Entry, 2014 Governor's Race Begins to Take Shape

Nov 8, 2013
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

A tea party California Assemblyman has become the first Republican to officially enter the 2014 governor’s race.  Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown is widely considered the frontrunner, assuming he decides to run for a record fourth term.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the race to face Brown in California’s new “top two” primary system is wide open.

Kings County High Speed Rail Route Draws Opposition

Nov 8, 2013
High Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is pushing forward with plans for its Fresno to Bakersfield segment. The board accepted a proposed route at a meeting Thursday. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it’s been a rough ride.

The High-Speed Rail Authority has voted to support a route that goes through eastern Kings County. Board members say it will have less environmental impact than an alternate path.

But Ross Browning, who lives in Kings County says the high speed rail project will be devastating to local agriculture. 

UFW Communications Director Maria Machuca / https://twitter.com/mariamachuca

A group of immigration rights activists staged a protest Wednesday at the Bakersfield office of House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, eventually meeting with the Congressman after being locked inside his office for much of the night. 

Office of Rep. David Valadao

Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford) has renewed his call for the House to take up the issue of comprehensive immigration reform this year. He made his comments this week speaking on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition.

The Hanford Republican says that the House GOP leadership should bring the bill, HR 15 up for debate. The measure would address a variety of immigration issues, including border security, a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for those currently in the country illegally. 

Study: More California Latinos Attend College, Few Finish

Nov 5, 2013
Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

College is a goal for the majority of Latinos graduating from California high schools. But as Katie Orr reports, a new report out today shows few Latinos actually finish college.

The study from the organization The Campaign for College Opportunities finds seven out of ten California Latino high school graduates enrolled in college last year. But just 11 percent of Latino adults in the state have a bachelors or graduate degree. 

Campaign Finance Fight Could Shape 'Dark Money's' Future In California

Nov 1, 2013
YouTube/Small Business Action Committee

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission is trying to collect $15 million in penalties from two political action committees that accepted “dark money” contributions last year.  The PACs won’t pay, saying they’ve done nothing wrong.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento that in this dispute, there’s a lot at stake.

The illegal donations last fall paid for ads like this from the Small Business Action Committee:

Yes on 32 TV ad: “Sacramento doesn’t work for our family.  Instead, it works for the big unions and corporations.”

FBI Affidavit: State Senator Took Bribes in Undercover Sting Operation

Nov 1, 2013
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

An undercover FBI agent poses as a Hollywood executive to lure an elected official into taking bribes for legislation.  It sounds like a story Hollywood could have made itself – but in fact, it’s the story laid out in an affidavit that’s sent shockwaves through the California state Capitol.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento.

This TV report from Wednesday night is the first big development in the case since the FBI raided Democratic State Senator Ron Calderon’s Capitol office earlier this year.

California Begins Sending Inmates to Private Prisons

Oct 28, 2013
The GEO Group, Inc.

California is beginning to transfer inmates out of its state prisons. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the transfers are part of a court-mandated plan to reduce overcrowding in state prisons

California is sending 2,100 inmates to three private prisons within the state. James Black is with the GEO group, which operates the facilities. He says GEO’s prisons must meet the same standards the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation must meet.

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.

Non-Profit Political Groups Must Pay California's Largest Election Rules Fine

Oct 24, 2013
FPPC - YouTube

Two Arizona-based non-profits must pay California’s largest ever election rules violation penalty. The Fair Political Practices Commission accused them of failing to reveal the donors of an $11 million contribution last year.

Ann Ravel is Chair of the FPPC. She says elections must be transparent to be fair.

“It’s very important that the true donors to campaigns be disclosed. The law requires it and it’s important to the public,” says Ravel.

Homeowner Bill of Rights Gets Mixed Reviews Nearly One Year On

Oct 23, 2013
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California’s Homeowners Bill of Rights is nearly a year old and both banks and groups representing distressed homeowners say the legislation intended to help distressed mortgage holders is a bit of a mixed bag.

Maurice Weeks is with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. He says provisions in the law have helped slow the state’s foreclosure rate.

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