Government & Politics

Government & Politics
4:40 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Rosy California Budget Projections Prompt Calls for New Spending

Many California Democrats and progressive groups want to reinvest in programs devastated by years of budget cuts now that the state’s revenue outlook has improved.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s non-partisan budget analyst has declared the state’s structural deficit a thing of the past and projected multi-billion dollar surpluses for years to come.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, that’s prompting calls from some Democrats and progressive groups to reinvest in programs hit hard by recession-era budget cuts.

When Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor released his budget projections a few weeks ago, he tempered the good news with words of caution:

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Government & Politics
4:35 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

California Lawmakers Want Amendment to Farm Bill Removed

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

An amendment to the U.S. House version of the federal Farm Bill has upset a bipartisan group of California lawmakers. As Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, they’ve written a letter to House leaders calling for its removal.

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Government & Politics
10:52 am
Mon December 2, 2013

California Voters To Decide Fate Of Proposed Madera Casino

An artist's rendering of a proposed Highway 99 casino proposed by the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians.
Credit North Fork Rancheria

An Indian tribe located near Yosemite has state and federal approvals to build a casino off of its reservation. But a referendum on the California ballot next year might kill the project. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
3:39 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Judge Blocks California High Speed Rail Financing

file photo
Credit Credit California High Speed Rail Authority / File Photo

 California’s High Speed Rail project may have stalled out in court. A judge ruled today the Rail Authority cannot sell $8 billion in bonds to help fund the project.

The judge also ordered the Authority to rewrite its $68 billion funding plan before moving forward with construction.

Jon Coupal is with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which opposes the project.

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Government & Politics
4:54 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Covered California Votes to Keep Original Policy Cancelation Deadline

The Covered California board of directors voted today [Thursday] not to allow health insurers to renew canceled policies that don’t meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act.

The decision comes after President Obama’s recent suggestion that insurers be allowed to decide whether they want to extend the policies for a year.

The exchange’s executive director, Peter Lee, raised concerns about pushing back the cancelations for a few months or up to a year.

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Government & Politics
6:47 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

After Years of Deficits, Budget Surpluses Projected for California

California's non-partisan Legislative Analyst, Mac Taylor, discusses the state's fiscal outlook at a news conference in Sacramento Wednesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

  California’s structural deficit is history – and the legislature’s non-partisan budget analyst is projecting growing surpluses for the next several years.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the welcome budget news still comes with words of caution.

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Government & Politics
6:11 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Steinberg Refutes Claims He's Under Investigation

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters he is not under investigation by the FBI after his fellow Democrat, Senator Ron Calderon, made that claim in a court filing earlier this week. (file photo)
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

A California Senate Democrat who is under investigation by the FBI says he’s not the only one the Bureau is looking into. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, other Senators are vehemently denying today they're targets of an investigation.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters he is not under investigation by the FBI after his fellow Democrat, Senator Ron Calderon, made that claim in a court filing earlier this week. Calderon is under investigation for corruption. Steinberg says his reputation is above reproach.

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Government & Politics
11:59 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Initiative Would Raise Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages

file photo
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

California’s high-stakes battle over medical malpractice damages could move to the ballot box next year.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the initiative campaign seeking to increase the cap on “pain and suffering” awards will pit trial lawyers against doctors.

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Government & Politics
11:38 am
Fri November 8, 2013

With Donnelly's Entry, 2014 Governor's Race Begins to Take Shape

Asm. Tim Donnelly's (R-Twin Peaks) campaign RV, parked in front of the State Capitol Thursday in Sacramento.
Ben Adler Capital Public Radio

A tea party California Assemblyman has become the first Republican to officially enter the 2014 governor’s race.  Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown is widely considered the frontrunner, assuming he decides to run for a record fourth term.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the race to face Brown in California’s new “top two” primary system is wide open.

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Transportation
11:27 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Kings County High Speed Rail Route Draws Opposition

A rendering of the High-Speed Rail line through Bakersfield.
High Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is pushing forward with plans for its Fresno to Bakersfield segment. The board accepted a proposed route at a meeting Thursday. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it’s been a rough ride.

The High-Speed Rail Authority has voted to support a route that goes through eastern Kings County. Board members say it will have less environmental impact than an alternate path.

But Ross Browning, who lives in Kings County says the high speed rail project will be devastating to local agriculture. 

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Immigration Reform
11:08 am
Thu November 7, 2013

In Bakersfield, Immigration Protestors Occupy McCarthy's Office, Meet With Congressman

Late Wednesday, Congressman Kevin McCarthy returned to his office to meet with the protesters, after attending an event at CSU Bakersfield with technology entrepreneur Elon Musk.
UFW Communications Director Maria Machuca https://twitter.com/mariamachuca

A group of immigration rights activists staged a protest Wednesday at the Bakersfield office of House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, eventually meeting with the Congressman after being locked inside his office for much of the night. 

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Government & Politics
4:21 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Valadao Calls On GOP Leadership To Address Immigration Reform

Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford)

Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford) has renewed his call for the House to take up the issue of comprehensive immigration reform this year. He made his comments this week speaking on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition.

The Hanford Republican says that the House GOP leadership should bring the bill, HR 15 up for debate. The measure would address a variety of immigration issues, including border security, a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for those currently in the country illegally. 

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Government & Politics
9:15 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Study: More California Latinos Attend College, Few Finish

file photo
Credit Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

College is a goal for the majority of Latinos graduating from California high schools. But as Katie Orr reports, a new report out today shows few Latinos actually finish college.

The study from the organization The Campaign for College Opportunities finds seven out of ten California Latino high school graduates enrolled in college last year. But just 11 percent of Latino adults in the state have a bachelors or graduate degree. 

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Government & Politics
5:59 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Campaign Finance Fight Could Shape 'Dark Money's' Future In California

A "No on Prop 32" TV ad paid for by the Small Business Action Committee in the Fall 2012 campaign.
Credit YouTube/Small Business Action Committee

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission is trying to collect $15 million in penalties from two political action committees that accepted “dark money” contributions last year.  The PACs won’t pay, saying they’ve done nothing wrong.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento that in this dispute, there’s a lot at stake.

The illegal donations last fall paid for ads like this from the Small Business Action Committee:

Yes on 32 TV ad: “Sacramento doesn’t work for our family.  Instead, it works for the big unions and corporations.”

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Government & Politics
10:59 am
Fri November 1, 2013

FBI Affidavit: State Senator Took Bribes in Undercover Sting Operation

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) speaks with reporters Thursday in the Senate chambers in response to the FBI affidavit alleging Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) took bribes in an undercover sting operation.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

An undercover FBI agent poses as a Hollywood executive to lure an elected official into taking bribes for legislation.  It sounds like a story Hollywood could have made itself – but in fact, it’s the story laid out in an affidavit that’s sent shockwaves through the California state Capitol.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento.

This TV report from Wednesday night is the first big development in the case since the FBI raided Democratic State Senator Ron Calderon’s Capitol office earlier this year.

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Government & Politics
10:39 am
Mon October 28, 2013

California Begins Sending Inmates to Private Prisons

The GEO Group's Golden State Modified Community Correctional Facility in McFarland, CA.
Credit The GEO Group, Inc.

California is beginning to transfer inmates out of its state prisons. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the transfers are part of a court-mandated plan to reduce overcrowding in state prisons

California is sending 2,100 inmates to three private prisons within the state. James Black is with the GEO group, which operates the facilities. He says GEO’s prisons must meet the same standards the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation must meet.

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Government & Politics
6:52 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Panel: California's Direct Democracy Process Needs Changes

Three former leaders of California’s three branches of government disagree about whether the state’s direct democracy process is serving voters well, but they all agreed on one way to improve it at a Public Policy Institute of California panel.
Ben Adler Capital Public Radio

Three former leaders of California’s three branches of government disagree about whether the state’s direct democracy process is serving voters well – but they all agree on a potential way to improve it.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on today’s Public Policy Institute of California panel.

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Government & Politics
5:03 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Non-Profit Political Groups Must Pay California's Largest Election Rules Fine

FPPC - YouTube

Two Arizona-based non-profits must pay California’s largest ever election rules violation penalty. The Fair Political Practices Commission accused them of failing to reveal the donors of an $11 million contribution last year.

Ann Ravel is Chair of the FPPC. She says elections must be transparent to be fair.

“It’s very important that the true donors to campaigns be disclosed. The law requires it and it’s important to the public,” says Ravel.

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Government & Politics
7:49 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Homeowner Bill of Rights Gets Mixed Reviews Nearly One Year On

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California’s Homeowners Bill of Rights is nearly a year old and both banks and groups representing distressed homeowners say the legislation intended to help distressed mortgage holders is a bit of a mixed bag.

Maurice Weeks is with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. He says provisions in the law have helped slow the state’s foreclosure rate.

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Government & Politics
5:43 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Fresno County To Pursue State Funds for $80 Million Jail Expansion

The existing main Fresno County Jail in downtown Fresno (file)
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted today to submit a grant application to the state to fund a new $80 million jail annex. The proposed new West Annex Jail in downtown Fresno would house 300 inmates and would also include treatment facilities.

As part of the application the county agreed to set aside $8.8 million to help fund the project. If built, the county would be required to operate the facility for at least 10 years. The county hopes the new facility will replace the agin south jail annex in courthouse park.

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