Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Forty years ago, when Jerry Brown was first governor, he signed a law that dramatically changed the way California sentenced criminal offenders. Previously, under the indeterminate sentencing law, many inmates received inconclusive sentences instead of a fixed term. It was up to a parole board to decide when an inmate was ready to re-enter society.

Under the law signed by Brown in 1976, the state shifted to a determinate sentencing structure — and in the years following, lawmakers and voters piled on dozens more laws that added years to prisoners’ terms.

Election Day is finally here. Californians will elect a new senator and decide 17 state ballot measures -- including whether to legalize recreational marijuana, raise the tobacco tax and eliminate or streamline the death penalty.

UPDATE 4:20 P.M.: Californians Show Up To Polls For Many Reasons

Millions of Californians are casting votes this Election Day. What issues are driving them to the polls?

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The future of one of the most prominent public officials in Fresno could be on the line Tuesday, but his name won’t even be on the ballot. The results of a vote on a local school bond and the political leanings of two new Fresno Unified School Board Trustees could be a signal about how much local support there is for district superintendent Michael Hanson.

Voters in Fresno are casting ballots on a $225 million school bond called Measure X and on two new trustees to take a seat on the board.

Democrat Bryan Caforio, left, and incumbent GOP Congressman Steve Knight, right, are in a hotly contested race for the 25th Congressional District representing North Los Angeles County.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC and Steve Knight campaign

Democrat Bryan Caforio, left, and incumbent GOP Congressman Steve Knight, right, are in a hotly contested race for the 25th Congressional District representing North Los Angeles County. Maya Sugarman/KPCC and Steve Knight campaign

In the final days before Election Day, the congressional race to represent northern Los Angeles County and parts of Ventura County has turned into one of the most competitive in California. 

As Election Day draws closer, the race between incumbent Republican David Valadao and Democratic challenger Emilio Huerta in California's 21st Congressional District is heating up. FM89's Joe Moore reports both sides have turned recently to negative TV ads in an effort to gain an edge.

If you were watching the World Series in Fresno or Bakersfield, or most any other TV program you probably heard an ad that sounded a lot like this…

PRO VALADAO AD: “This is a story of corruption, of how Emilio Huerta got rich hurting the poor.”

Apple farmer and former Calaveras County Supervisor Steve Wilensky is pictured on a hillside burned in the 2015 Butte Fire, Monday, October 20, 2016.
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Outdoor cannabis cultivation has become more prevalent following the 2015 Butte Fire. This grow was pictured November 1, 2016.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

We're winding along the hills and curves of Calaveras high country past the town of Rail Road Flat to a lookout on Jesus Maria Road.

Apple farmer Steve Wilensky's at the wheel. He’s headed toward the burn scar of the Butte Fire. Just over a year ago, the blaze burned 70,000 acres in Calaveras County.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Gov. Jerry Brown wants voters to change the way California inmates serve their time behind bars. He argues the state’s current system does little to rehabilitate convicts before sending them back to the streets.

But many prosecutors are fighting back against Proposition 57 ahead of Tuesday's election.

Deborah Barron (third from left) hosts a proposition party at her home in San Francisco's Mission District.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

There are plenty of handouts to go with the snacks and drinks at Deborah Barron’s Proposition Party, at her home in San Francisco’s Mission District.

In addition to California’s 17 state ballot measures, San Francisco voters face an astounding 25 local measures.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The Fresno County Sheriff is explaining in more detail the circumstances surrounding the apparently accidental fatal shooting of a deputy.


Sergeant Rod Lucas, a 20 year veteran of the department, was shot and killed by a fellow deputy at a satellite office near the airport yesterday.


Sheriff Margaret Mims says in a standard course of work the two deputies were discussing their weapons when Lucas was shot.


LOS ANGELES — When Mike Stabile first moved to Los Angeles in 2011, he was struck by a billboard he saw along the freeway. It showed a line of cocaine and a turned-over shot glass, with the caption: You know why. Free HIV test.

“I literally pulled over the car and was like, what’s going on?” Stabile remembers. “I was having a panic attack.”

Another ad showed two men in bed, looking nervous, with the question: “Trust Him?”