Government & Politics

News about government and politics

It's "Gut-And-Amend" Time At The Capitol

Aug 28, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It happens every year in the waning days of the California Legislature: A bill is amended to address a completely different subject, then brought up for a vote without going through the full legislative process. It's known as “gut-and-amend.” And although the practice draws scorn from many, lawmakers insist there are good reasons to use it. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

California's landmark anti-global warming law will reach a new milestone in January 2015. That's when the state's cap and trade regulations begin to apply to transportation fuels like gas and diesel.

It's part of an effort to reduce the state's CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. But industry groups and the state's non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office say the regulations could also drive up prices at the pump. 

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

Many California agricultural workers aren’t employed directly by farmers, but by labor contractors. Now a new bill in the California legislature would bring about more protections for those workers, but as FM89’s Kerry Klein reports, it’s also the source of controversy.

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Water Bond Deal Draws Rare Unity At Capitol

Aug 14, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The saying goes that whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over. But a California Legislature that rarely shies away from a fight found itself in near unanimous agreement last night on a new water bond to replace the $11 billion measure on the November ballot. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

It was an issue that held the Capitol in suspense day after day. A deal was in doubt even into yesterday afternoon and a key election deadline loomed at midnight. But the end was surprisingly anticlimactic.

Storage, Tunnels Clog Water Bond Talks As Deadline Nears

Aug 11, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown and California lawmakers are already living on borrowed time as they negotiate a measure to replace the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot. The official deadline under state law passed six weeks ago. Any deal would have to waive election laws, and be signed by the end of this week. But two huge sticking points are clogging up the water talks, as Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler reports.

Rising Gas Prices Could Be Bad News For Politicians

Aug 7, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Gas is already expensive in California. And upcoming changes to the state’s Cap and Trade program could increase prices at the pump even more. As Capital Public Radio’s Katie Orr reports, that could be bad news for drivers and politicians.
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Katie Orr:  “I’m standing at a busy Arco station in Sacramento. And with regular gas going for $3.69 a gallon, filling up my 15 gallon tank is going to be pricey. And coming changes to California’s Cap and Trade program may make it even more expensive.”

Brown Calls For New, Smaller Water Bond

Aug 5, 2014
Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown wants to scrap the 11 billion dollar water bond scheduled for California’s November ballot and replace it with a smaller proposal of his own. Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler reports.
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Six billion dollars. That’s what the governor says he’s willing to spend. Not 11, like the existing bond; not eight or nine billion, like some of the proposals floating around the Legislature. Six billion. In an interview with Capital Public Radio, Brown put forth an argument of fiscal prudence for a state already 30 billion dollars in debt.

Clock Ticking on California Water Bond Deal

Aug 5, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers are back from their summer break and facing pressure to craft a deal on a new water bond. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, time is running out.
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Legislative Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown want to replace the $11 billion bond currently on the November ballot with a smaller bond. Senate President Darrell Steinberg says the exact amount is still up for debate. Another big sticking point: which state agency will manage the restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.  

More Than 25 Percent Of California's Firefighting Budget Already Up In Smoke

Aug 2, 2014
Capital Public Radio

Less than a month into the new fiscal year, California has already used up more than a quarter of the money set aside in the state budget for fighting wildfires.

CalFire has spent $47 million since July 1st, out of 209 million for the fiscal year that ends next June.

But H.D. Palmer with the governor’s Department of Finance says if the money runs out, the state will just turn to its budget reserve.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to repeal a city water plan they introduced in 2013, after a referendum petition known as Measure W threatened to put the repeal before voters.

Measure W began as a grassroots campaign and eventually collected 5500 signatures, enough to become a ballot measure. The water plan it helped repeal involved increasing Fresno residents' water bills to pay for a $410 million-upgrade to the city's water infrastructure. City Councilmember Steve Brandau:

YouTube/ Kashkari for Governor

Update: 8/5/2014
Neel Kashkari spoke with Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore for the program Valley Edition about his Fresno video and his thoughts on poverty in the San Joaquin Valley. 

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Original post:

Neel Kashkari has taken his campaign to become California's next governor to the streets of downtown Fresno in a viral video attacking Governor Jerry Brown's message of a "California comeback."

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Last week, the Kern County Board of Supervisors went on record against AB 280.  It’s a California bill that would require counties with high minority populations to get approval from Sacramento before making major changes in election procedure. 

For instance, before moving a polling site location, Kern County would need to get the ok from the California Secretary of State to ensure that it’s not discriminating against minorities and low-income voters.

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez says that would be far too costly.

California High Speed Rail Authority

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors reversed course on Tuesday morning, voting to officially oppose California's controversial high speed rail project. 

The 3-2 vote comes just days after contractors working for the rail authority began demolishing buildings in Fresno to make way for the train. 

Since 2007, the county has officially held a position in support of the project, though in 2012 the supervisors sent a letter to the authority that was critical of the effort. 

California Spending Millions To House Homeless Vets

Jul 25, 2014

California has $600 million in bond funds to spend on homeless veterans. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, public workshops are being held around the state to gather ideas about how to spend that money.

Last June voters approved using the existing bond money to provide more affordable housing for California’s 15,000 homeless vets.

Brown Says California Will Do Its Part On Immigration Crisis

Jul 24, 2014
Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown is taking a trade trip to Mexico next week. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento Brown weighed in Wednesday on what Mexico and California can do to help with the current immigration crisis.

Brown says it’s primarily up to federal government to deal with the influx of immigrant children crossing into the United State from Central America. But he says strong relationships between places like Mexico and California can help ease the situation. Brown says the surge of immigrants is more than a political problem.  

County Registrars: Overhaul Recount Process, But Carefully

Jul 22, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The recount in the state controller’s race may be over, but that hasn’t stopped critics of California’s recount process from calling for an overhaul. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, county election officials are warning state lawmakers to write new rules carefully.

San Bernardino County Registrar Michael Scarpello spent last Friday staffing up. His county’s recount was scheduled to start on Monday. But it didn’t, because former Assembly Speaker John Pérez canceled his recount bid Friday afternoon.

Brown Names New Supreme Court Nominee

Jul 22, 2014
Office of the Governor

A Stanford law professor who was born in Mexico and immigrated to California as a teenager has been selected as the next nominee to the state’s Supreme Court. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Governor Jerry Brown has named Stanford Law Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar to replace retiring Justice Marvin Baxter. Cuellar has been at Stanford since 2001. He also assisted President Barack Obama on immigration issues during the Obama transition into office.

Perez Stops Recounts In Controller's Race

Jul 18, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Former California Assembly Speaker John Perez is calling off the vote recount he requested in the race for state controller.

Perez requested the recount in 15 counties after finishing third in the June 3rd primary. The Los Angeles Democrat was 481 votes behind fellow Democrat Betty Yee. Perez picked up only a handful of votes in recounts this week in Imperial and Kern counties.

He says in a statement that "there is simply not enough time to see this process through to the end."

Drought Could Lead To Financial Hardship for Water Agencies

Jul 17, 2014
Valley Public Radio

Conserving water could cost some California water agencies. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on a notice issued today from Moody’s Investors Service.

Moody’s says state-wide water restrictions approved this week could eventually lead to lower credit ratings for California water agencies. That’s because less water use means lower water sales, which in turn means less revenue.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno voters may get to weigh in on a referendum that would overturn a planned hike in water rates, but the final decision didn't come Thursday. 

Instead of moving forward with putting Measure W on the November ballot, or repealing the rate hikes - the city council voted to commission an expedited study on the issue.

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