Government & Politics

News about government and politics

It's less than two months from election day and many of the local races that will be before voters in November are heating up. From city council and mayoral contests in Fresno and Bakersfield to a couple of contested congressional races, it's providing plenty of fodder for local political observers. We spoke with former State Assemblywoman and current CSUB political science professor Nicole Parra, and Clovis-based Republican political strategist Jim Verros about what's really happening in some of the most closely watched contests. 

Would more teens smoke if recreational pot were legal?

Sep 18, 2016

Studies have found that using marijuana before age 18 is associated with shorter attention spans and lower IQ levels. Early use of marijuana has also been shown to correlate with changes in the structure of the teenage brain.

But that information hasn't exactly filtered down to teenagers.

"You always smell it," says "Pablo," a 15-year-old sophomore at a high school in Highland Park. "You always hear people talking about it. I think it's pretty common."

During her run for U.S. Senate, California Attorney General Kamala Harris has touted a "smart on crime" approach that focuses on the most violent offenders and reducing recidivism.

Harris believes this strategy is key to slowing what she claims is a dramatic rise in the nation’s prison population.

'Yes On 55' School Claim Misses The Mark

Sep 13, 2016

PolitiFact California looks at claims made by elected officials, candidates and groups and rates them as: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants On Fire.

Recent radio and TV ads claim California’s K-12 public schools face dire cuts if voters fail to approve Proposition 55, a measure on November’s ballot that would extend an income tax hike on wealthy residents.

A majority of Californians believe poverty is a serious problem, but they disagree over what to do about it. That’s according to a survey conducted for our California Counts public radio collaboration.

The CALSPEAKS survey asked hundreds of voters and some nonvoters across California how they feel about a range of economic issues, from home ownership and job security to wage disparity and upward mobility.

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.

Black Lives Matter activists protest U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at Facebook in Playa Vista on June 30, 2016. They were angry Lynch praised the LAPD's reform efforts.
Frank Stoltze/KPCC

A new survey commissioned by a consortium of public radio stations including KPCC has found Californians, like much of the nation, are divided by race when it comes to their views of police profiling and excessive use of force.

When asked about racial profiling in the U.S., 68 percent of Californians said it is a “huge” or “significant” problem in the U.S. Twenty-five percent of state residents polled said it was a minor problem or not one at all.

Repeal the death penalty? 6 quotes from 'yes' and 'no' campaigns

Sep 7, 2016

Voters will see two state measures that take very different approaches in changing how California handles capital punishment in November. Proposition 62 would repeal the death penalty, while Proposition 66 would aim to speed up the process. 

On Wednesday evening, we gathered a panel of six guests from all sides of the argument. They fielded questions from the audience on topics that ranged from fiscal to racial implications.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and California Governor Jerry Brown are locked in a dispute over which prisoners might be eligible for early release if voters approve Proposition 57. It's a measure backed by Brown as a remedy to the state's prison overcrowding problems, and a rollback of so-called "determinate sentencing" that Brown signed into law during his first stint in Sacramento in the 1970s. Mims says the law could let certain sexual offenders and others convicted of "nonviolent" crimes as defined in California's Penal Code, out of jail early.