Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown shared a list of priorities for working with a new state legislature, which appears to be reaching a two-thirds majority in both houses. 

Now that his Prop 30 campaign is over, Governor Brown says he’s turning his attention to other matters.

“We ought to calibrate our regulations to ensure that they encourage jobs as well as protect other aspects of the public interest like the environment, health and good working conditions,” said Brown. 

The ratings agency Standard and Poor’s is calling Proposition 30’s passage “favorable” for California’s struggling credit rating.

“It keeps the state’s prospects for a credit rating upgrade alive going forward. Had the measure gone down, I think it could have added pressure in the other direction,” says S&P analyst Gabe Petek.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A sales tax that for over a decade has helped fund much of the budget for the Fresno County Public Library system appears to be headed to approval. 

While some absentee ballots remain to be counted, Measure B holds a lead of 72-percent to 28-percent, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. That's well above the two-thirds vote required for passage. 

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s been the cornerstone of Jerry Brown’s agenda since the day he returned to the California governor’s office: win voter approval of a tax measure to bring an end to the state’s years of never-ending budget deficits.  After a campaign full of twists and turns, voters approved the governor’s sales and income tax measure, Proposition 30, by 54 percent to 46 percent – but not without a suspenseful Election Night. 

A record number of Californians have registered to vote. But the latest Field Poll estimates there likely will be a million fewer voters today than in the Presidential election of 2008.

The poll predicts 12.75 million Californians or about 70 percent of registered voters will cast ballots.

And for the first time in a statewide election the majority, 51-percent, will vote by mail.

Mark DiCamillo is Director of the Field Poll.  He says many people wait until Election Day to drop their ballots at polling places. 

High Stakes for Jerry Brown with Prop 30

Nov 1, 2012
Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

When the results for Proposition 30 come in on Election Night, California voters won’t just have returned a verdict on whether they support raising taxes to reduce the state’s budget deficit. They will also have handed Governor Jerry Brown a victory or defeat on his signature policy issue. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the outcome, and Brown’s reaction to it, could shape the rest of his time in the governor’s office.

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon

The final Field Poll before Election Day on California’s two rival tax measures shows Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 leading by 10 points and education advocate Molly Munger’s Proposition 38 trailing by 15 points.

Prop 30 has lost support over the last several weeks and is now just shy of the 50 percent support it needs to pass. But Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo says it still has a “decent shot.”

A California judge has tentatively ruled that the state can examine the sources behind an Arizona nonprofit that made an $11 million political contribution. 

The Phoenix-based group Americans for Responsible Leadership made the donation to a committee working to defeat Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.

Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ruled that the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission can conduct an audit to determine if the donation was made in compliance with state regulations.

California’s budget calls for six billion dollars in automatic education cuts if voters reject Proposition 30 next week. But legislative Republicans say they would support reversing those cuts if the governor’s tax measure fails.

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, who represents portions of the Central Valley, says the elimination of up to three weeks of school would be “devastating” – and if Prop 30 doesn’t pass, both parties should work together to find alternatives.

Even before Hurricane Sandy came roaring up the East Coast, political prognosticators were worried about next week's election being thrown into chaos and confusion.

The reason is that with the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney so close, there's a possibility of something other than a clean outcome.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

This could be the year California Democrats finally reach the goal they’ve long strived for: a two-thirds supermajority in the State Senate. We took a look at that possibility in a report yesterday.

It turns out people from both parties don’t think Sacramento’s legislative landscape would change that much. And as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the biggest impact on next year’s atmosphere at the State Capitol will likely come from something else entirely.


Political contributions for and against California’s 11 ballot measures have totaled more than $350 million. Much of the money is coming from wealthy individuals and outside organizations.

The campaign finance watchdog found one family responsible for almost a quarter of the contributions to California’s ballot measures.

“What’s surprising is that a few individuals or wealthy organizations can control the political debate.”

Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould /

When California voters go to the polls on Election Day, they could usher in a change that hasn’t happened since 1965. They could give one party a two-thirds supermajority in the state Senate. Democrats are campaigning hard to make that happen. But Republicans are fighting just as hard to prevent it.

When Democratic Assembly member Cathleen Galgiani kicked off her campaign for state Senate last month in Stockton, the Senate’s top Democrat stood right beside her.

Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

California officials will take charge tomorrow of opening the nation’s largest prison medical facility. They have to meet a deadline of July of next year. As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, how well they accomplish the task will determine how soon a federal judge will end his oversight of prison medical care.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure is drawing some of its strongest opposition from small business groups. Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on how some small businesses would be affected by Proposition 30.

James Wright owns part of a small business in Los Angeles County that manufactures manhole covers – with about 10 million dollars in sales. Wright doesn’t take anywhere near that much home to his family. But he does have to pay personal income taxes on company profits … using money from the business itself.

Proposition 39: Corporate Tax Law

Oct 19, 2012

Next in our series on California's November ballot measures, we take a look at Proposition 39. It would change a critical piece of corporate tax law and provide more money to the state – but higher taxes for some businesses.

It was called “the most boring proposition on the 2012 ballot” by a San Diego blogger. The writer has a point. It revolves around a corporate tax formula known as the “single sales factor.” But when you consider that corporate taxes accounted for nearly 10 billion dollars in California last year, Prop 39 doesn’t sound so boring anymore:

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

From the moment he took office at the start of last year, Governor Jerry Brown has told California voters the state needs new revenue.  But his November tax initiative, Proposition 30, faces strong opposition on several fronts and is hovering at around 50 percent support in the polls. 

Governor Brown sat down with reporter Ben Adler Thursday in Sacramento to talk about the impact of Prop 30’s passage or failure on next year’s budget. 

Proposition 38: Molly Munger's Tax Initative

Oct 18, 2012

Californians will soon decide whether they want to increase taxes to support public schools. Our election 2012 coverage continues with a report on Proposition 38.

If you watch TV in California, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’ve aired in every major market.

Prop 38 would raise about 10 billion dollars a year for K-12 schools starting in 2013, by taxing all but the poorest Californians. Behind the TV ads and Proposition 38 is wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger.

Proposition 37: Genetically Modified Foods

Oct 17, 2012

In November Californians will decide whether to require that foods containing genetically engineered ingredients say so on the package.  On its face Proposition 37 seems like a simple addition to a label, but it could have much broader ramifications. 

Stacy Malkan with the group supporting Prop 37 says consumers have the right to know what's in the food they're eating.

"This is America, it's a democracy, it’s a free market system, and the way it’s supposed to work is we give people the information  so consumers can make informed choices about what we buy and eat."

Proposition 36: Changes to 'Three Strikes' Law

Oct 17, 2012
Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

A challenge to California’s “Three Strikes” sentencing law is on the ballot this fall with Proposition 36.  Proponents say some felonies should not result in life in prison.  Opponents say a change in the law would allow dangerous  criminals to be released.  

The proposition lists felonies that would qualify as a serious or violent crime - or 'strike' - and would make a defendant eligible for a life sentence.