Government & Politics

Government & Politics
3:52 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

California National Guard Finding Success With LGBT Community

Chief Warrant Officer Mario Garcia, right, joins other members of the California National Guard during the L.A. Pride Parade on June 9, 2013.
Credit California National Guard

The repeal of the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has opened up a new world of recruiting possibilities for the armed forces. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the California National Guard is interested in doing more than just complying with the law.

The California National Guard decided to lead the way when it came to recruiting gays and lesbians. Throughout the summer the Guard marched in Pride Parades around the state, carrying a banner that read, “Yes! We really do want you!!!”

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Government & Politics
5:37 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Fresno Fire Chief Resigns Following Domestic Violence Charges

Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown resigned on Tuesday
Credit City of Fresno

Fresno City Manager Bruce Rudd announced the resignation of Fire Chief Rob Brown this afternoon.

Brown had been on paid administrative leave since mid June, after he was arrested and charged with felony domestic violence following an altercation at his north Fresno home.  

Deputy Fire Chief Kerri Donis will continue her duties as Interim Fire Chief. Brown had been on the job since April 2012.
 

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Government & Politics
6:35 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

In Sacramento, Lawmakers Start Sprint To End of Session

The Assembly Chamber at the California State Capitol.
Capital Public Radio

After spending a month working around their home districts, California Assembly members are back at the Capitol to finish up final the six weeks of the legislative session. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there’s no shortage of things to get done.

Members of the California Assembly buzz around the chamber like kids just back to school after a long summer break. Colleagues greet each other and catch up, having spent a month away from Sacramento on summer recess. And like a stern teacher, Speaker pro Tem Nora Campos had to ask everyone to settle down.

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Government & Politics
1:17 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Won't Delay Release of Thousands of California Inmates

file photo
Credit Flickr user Mark Fischer / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to delay the release of thousands of inmates from California’s prisons. In a decision announced today the Justices denied a stay requested by Governor Jerry Brown. Brown is fighting a ruling from a federal three-judge-panel that orders California to reduce its prison population by about 10-thousand inmates by the end of the year. Three Justices voted to grant the stay.

Attorney Mike Bien represents inmates involved in the court case. He says the decision is significant because it appears the state was gambling everything on this stay.

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Government & Politics
4:00 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Brown Raises $10 Million for Governor's Race; GOP Nowhere Close

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown is leaving his potential Republican challengers in the dust when it comes to raising money for next year’s election.

Newly-released fundraising totals show the Democratic governor ended the first half of 2013 with more than 10 million dollars in the bank.  None of his challengers has raised even $50,000 dollars.

Republican political consultant Beth Miller says Brown’s fundraising advantage and 54 percent approval rating in a new poll show he’ll be hard to beat next fall.

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Government & Politics
8:29 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Advocates for Hunger Striking Prisoners Petition Governor Jerry Brown

Advocates for prisoners on a hunger strike to protest conditions in California’s gang segregation unit known as the SHU are taking their grievances directly to Governor Jerry Brown.
Credit Max Pringle / Capital Public Radio

Supporters of California prisoners on a weeks-long hunger strike against the prison system’s gang isolation program are urging Governor Jerry Brown to end practices they say are inhumane. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

Dozens of family members and supporters of the hunger strikers delivered more than 60,000 signatures to the Capitol. They’re calling for a halt to harsh conditions in the Security Housing Units, or SHU’s. Ronald Ahnen is a Politics Professor at St. Mary’s and member of California Prison Focus. 

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Agriculture
6:49 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Farm Worker Shortage Hits California Ag Industry

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For the second year in a row, California farmers are complaining of a worker shortage.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on how the state’s $43.5  billion agriculture industry is feeling the squeeze – and how consumers might, too.

Last year, nearly two-thirds of farmers in a California Farm Bureau Federation survey said they didn’t have enough workers to pick their crops.  This year, says the Farm Bureau’s Brian Little, it’s a problem again.  For farmers, that means…

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Government & Politics
6:42 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

CEQA Overhaul Supporters Not Happy with Current Proposal

As negotiations over a potential overhaul of California’s landmark environmental law enter their final weeks, supporters of rewriting the California Environmental Quality Act say the current proposal falls short of reform.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
1:28 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Safety Rules for Limos May Be Tightened

A fatal limo fire in Northern California has brought about new state legislation aimed at improving limousine safety.

The fire occurred last May. It claimed the lives of five women heading to a bridal shower. The women could not escape because the limo did not have emergency exits.

Under one bill all limos would be required to have exit features such as rear doors and pop-out windows. A separate bill would require limos to carry fire extinguishers in both the passenger and driver areas.

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Transportation
12:53 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Law Would Give Bikes a Buffer Zone

file photo
Credit Flickr user alisdair / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

For a third time a California lawmaker has proposed legislation that would require cars to maintain a distance of at least three feet when passing a bicycle. The previous two bills were vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on why this time might be different.

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Transportation
5:47 pm
Sun July 28, 2013

California Prepares for the Future of Driverless Cars

Credit Flickr user ScottSchrantz / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

What once sounded like the stuff of science fiction is now reality on the drawing board. Rapid advancements are being made in the field of driverless cars. And as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, California is working to get out ahead of the curve. 

At a Ford Dealership in Northern Sacramento, Fleet Sales Manager Obeth Carlos Davila drives a new Ford Explorer off the lot. It’s this year’s version of the car of the future.

Davila takes his foot of the gas and his hands off the wheel and watches the car steer itself into a parallel parking space.

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Immigration
4:35 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Legislature Considering Bill to Give U.S. Born Kids of Deported Immigrants In-State Tuition Right

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California legislature is considering a bill that would allow U.S.-born children now living abroad with their deported immigrant families to pay in-state tuition to attend a public California college or university. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

State senator Lou Correa introduced the bill. He says the children of undocumented immigrants are deported through no fault of their own but they still retain the rights of US citizens.

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Government & Politics
6:09 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Perez Concedes Defeat in Senate Race Versus Vidak

Hanford Republican Andy Vidak leads the vote count in Tuesday's special election against Democrat Letecia Perez.
Credit Andy Vidak

There's news late this afternoon in the race between Democrat Leticia Perez and Republican Andy Vidak for the 16th Senate District seat. Katie Orr reports that one side has conceded defeat. 

Democrat Leticia Perez has conceded the race to Republican Andy Vidak. The two were running to fill the Central Valley State Senate seat left vacant by Democrat Michael Rubio, who abruptly resigned last winter.

In a statement Perez said “This campaign is over.  Andy has earned the right to represent us in Sacramento.” 

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Government & Politics
11:52 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Governor Brown Has Good Support for Reelection Bid

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown hasn’t officially announced if he’s running for reelection. But a newly released poll shows he’s got support should he choose to.

The Field Poll shows Brown has a 51 percent job approval rating among registered voters in California. But that’s actually a six point drop from last February. Still, 68 percent of rank and file Democrats support Brown’s job performance.

43 percent of registered voters would support his reelection bid if he decides to run.

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Government & Politics
5:40 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

State Attempts to Track Effect of Realignment

A state board agreed this week to partner with the Public Policy Institute of California to examine the effects of a change to the state’s criminal justice policy called realignment.

California’s two-year old law downgraded certain crimes to jail-only offenses, diverting tens of thousands of lower-level felons from serving time in state prisons. It also put counties in charge of supervising lower level felons once they’re released from prison and parole violators.

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Government & Politics
5:35 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Today's Special Election to Have Statewide Implications

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Today's special election in Senate District 16 is expected to have low turnout.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, its results could shape state government for the rest of the decade.

California Democrats loved last November’s legislative results.  Paul Mitchell is a Sacramento-based political data and redistricting expert.

“It seems as though Democrats now have obtained a two-thirds majority that should last them through the decade,” says Mitchell.

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Government & Politics
5:16 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

GOP Governor's Race? What GOP Governor's Race?

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

It’s less than a year until the first votes will be cast in the 2014 California governor’s race, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the campaign.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on why the Republican field is shaping up so slowly to challenge Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

Here’s how the race looks right now:

There’s Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a tea party hero who announced his exploratory campaign on the conservative website Politichicks.tv

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Government & Politics
6:11 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

State to Lose Federal Jobless Benefits Next Month

Credit Valley Public Radio

California’s Employment Development Department says that come mid-August, an improving economy is expected to cost thousands of jobless workers the last 10 weeks of their federal unemployment benefits. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

California’s economic rebound means the federal government may soon cut-off assistance to the state’s long-term unemployed.

“We’re now nearing that point where we will no longer qualify for Tier 4 federal extension benefits," says  Loree Levy with the state’s Employment Development Department.

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Government & Politics
11:07 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Big Property Tax Surprise Coming for Many California Homeowners

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California homeowners who saw their property taxes plunge along with their homes’ market values during the recession could get some sticker shock when their next tax bill arrives.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the bad news for homeowners is good news for state and local budgets.

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Government & Politics
5:28 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Napolitano Tapped to Head UC System

Janet Napolitano has been tapped to head the UC system. Supporters say she she’s the right person to help redefine higher education.
Credit Janet Napolitano / DHS

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is being tapped to serve as the next president of the University of California. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, so far reaction to the announcement has been largely positive.

President Barack Obama, Governor Jerry Brown and numerous other politicians and colleagues have voiced their support for the choice. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a UC Board of Regents member, says UC needs to find a new way to operate. And he says Napolitano is the right person for what could be a tough job.

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