Government & Politics

Government & Politics
8:01 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Fluke Enters Senate Race as Number of Women in California Legislature Declines

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke is running for a state senate seat. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, her candidacy comes as the number of women in the state legislature is dropping.

Women make up more than half of California’s population, but just over a quarter of the state legislature. The number of women elected to the legislature has been dropping for several years. It’s an issue Fluke has been working to fix.

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High Speed Rail
7:34 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

GOP Calls To Move High Speed Rail Funds To Other Projects

The Assembly Republican caucus says billions of dollars in high-speed rail bonds and gas tax revenues would be better spent on infrastructure projects - from roads and highways to bridges and ports.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The Assembly Republican caucus says billions of dollars in California high-speed rail bonds and gas tax revenues would be better spent on infrastructure projects.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

GOP lawmakers want to take money from several different sources and spend it on road, highway, bridge and port projects.  What they don’t want to spend it on is high-speed rail.

Conway: “We’re done with that.  We’re over that.”

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Government & Politics
10:45 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Reforming California's Ballot Box Democracy

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

The year 2014 will be a big one California voters. Not only will citizens choose the state’s next governor, and who will represent them in Congress, a number of big issues will likely be on the ballot in the form of propositions. A handful of groups are currently gathering signatures right now to put the issue of marijuana legalization before voters in November.

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Government & Politics
5:42 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Bus Rapid Transit Plan Slows, But Might Not Be Dead

The proposed Bus Rapid Transit system was a major element of the 2035 General Plan.
Anil Verma Associates / Fresno FAX

Following a public hearing last night that lasted about seven hours, the Fresno City Council voted four-to-three against two contracts needed to move forward with the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system. The high-capacity express bus system would have been funded through a $50 million federal grant.

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Transportation
5:30 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Fresno's Bus Rapid Transit Plan Faces Opposition

A rendering of the a proposed BRT bus for Fresno.
Credit Anil Verma Associates / Fresno FAX

The Fresno City Council is set to debate a proposal tonight to bring a hi-tech express bus line to city. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, the $50 million federal grant that would fund the project is generating some controversy.
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The proposal calls for new high capacity express bus service, known as Bus Rapid Transit, to be built along Blackstone and Kings Canyon Avenues in Fresno. The new bus line would replace existing FAX service on those routes and would decrease travel time for riders by as much as an hour and a half in some cases.

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Government & Politics
6:22 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

California Legislature to Tackle Teacher Retirement Fund Debt

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Some lawmakers say it’s time to get serious about paying down debt accrued by California's teachers’ retirement system. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, that will take a big financial commitment.

Assembly Democrats say they’re ready to look for ways to pay down the unfunded liability of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The governor’s office puts the debt at more than $80 billion.

Speaker John Perez says the Assembly will begin hearings on the issue.

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Government & Politics
4:15 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

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

California Governor Jerry Brown delivered his State of the State address today in Sacramento.
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
5:17 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

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

Caption: Former "TARP" chief Neel Kashkari tells a crowd at Sacramento State University Tuesday that he's running for governor of California.
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.

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Government & Politics
5:20 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

In Fresno, Advocates & Bus Riders Call For Speedy New Bus Network

Fresno Council Member Oliver Baines is a supporter of Bus Rapid Transit.
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
6:00 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Federal and Local Law Enforcement Break Central Valley Mail Theft Rings

Federal and local law enforcement agencies have announced the results of a months-long operation targeting mail theft rings in Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield.
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
5:37 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Steinberg Backs Preschool, Redevelopment Rebirth, Water Bond

Darrell Steinberg (file)
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
6:26 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

In Fresno Gov. Brown Talks Drought, High Speed Rail

Governor Jerry Brown paid a visit to Fresno to talk with farmers and local leaders about his budget plan.
Credit 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.”

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Government & Politics
5:09 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Steinberg Cool On Cap And Trade Money For High Speed Rail

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (file photo)
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Brown Uses Budget to Push for More Time on Prisons

North Kern State Prison near Delano (file photo)
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
5:44 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Brown Pushes Fiscal Restraint As He Releases His Budget Proposal

California Governor Jerry Brown is calling for another year of fiscal prudence, despite the state’s $4.6 billion budget surplus. That’s drawing mixed reactions from legislative Democrats and cautious praise from minority Republicans.
Credit 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.

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High Speed Rail
10:56 am
Tue January 7, 2014

With Cap-And-Trade Money And Lawsuits, High Speed Rail At Critical Juncture In 2014

file photo
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
6:05 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

California GOP Lawmakers: Build Reserve, Pay Down Debt

Legislative Republicans don’t have the power to block measures – or even tax increases. But they’re hoping Democrats – and especially Governor Jerry Brown – will support at least some of their ideas.
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
6:02 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

California Democrats Focused on Financial Recovery

Credit 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.    

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High Speed Rail
5:13 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

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

file photo
Credit 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.

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Government & Politics
4:04 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

New California Law Allows Children To Have More Than Two Parents

Credit 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.

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