Government & Politics

Government & Politics
5:17 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Prison Hunger Strike Supporters Take Fight to Capitol

A simulated SHU prison reform advocates displayed at the State Capitol on Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

As an inmate hunger strike in California stretches on, prison reform advocates want the rest of us to know what it’s like inside a SHU. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa spends 22 1/2 hours a day in Security Housing Unit, or SHU. It’s a room the size of a parking spot. Jamma has been living that reality for the past 29 years. He’s an inmate at Pelican Bay State Prison and is participating in a hunger strike to protest the use of long term solitary confinement. 

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Government & Politics
4:37 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Steinberg Has Blunt Words for CEQA Overhaul Backers

California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg has a blunt warning for business groups backing a major overhaul of the environmental law that governs development projects in the state:

“You want to move a mile, we’ll move a mile.  You want to move 100 miles in ways that may not be good, that’s not gonna happen within this bill,” says Steinberg.

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Immigration
12:48 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Congressional Reps. Urge Brown to Sign TRUST Act

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

Nearly 30 California congressional representatives have written to Governor Jerry Brown urging him to sign legislation that would reduce deportations of undocumented immigrants. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The TRUST Act would limit when local law enforcement agencies could hold undocumented immigrants before turning them over to federal immigration officials for possible deportation. Members of California’s congressional delegation, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, are urging Brown to sign the measure if it gets to his desk.

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Government & Politics
11:14 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Hollywood Actresses Ask Legislature for Paparazzi Control Bill

file photo
Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

A California bill that would stiffen penalties for the harassment of children of public figures has passed a key Assembly committee vote.  And as Max Pringle reports from Sacramento, it’s picking up some celebrity endorsements.

Actresses Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry testified at the Capitol in support of the measure. Garner says the bill would stamp out a lot of the over-the-top behavior of the paparazzi.

“I don’t want a gang of shouting arguing lawbreaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are, all day every day, to continue traumatizing my kids,” says Garner.

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Prisons
3:55 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

California Lawmakers Question Sterilizations in California Prisons

Corcoran State Prison (file photo)
Credit Flickr user Steve Rhodes - Creative Commons / http://www.flickr.com/photos/ari/

California lawmakers are raising questions about the unauthorized practice of sterilizing women in California prisons.

The federal receiver for health care in state prisons says doctors were directed to include post-partum procedures that prevented future pregnancy in inmates until 2010, even though the practice was against the state’s own regulations.

Republican State Senator Joel Anderson pushed for Tuesday’s hearing at the Capitol.

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Government & Politics
9:48 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Immigration Rights Advocates Begin March To Bakersfield

Dr. Gonzalo Santos, 63, has lived in the U.S. for over 30 years, but has only recently become a citizen.
http://www.pilgrimageforcitizenship.org/ PICO California

A group of marchers is en route from Sacramento to Bakersfield in an effort to garner support for immigration reform. The 21 day Pilgrimage for a Pathway to Citizenship began August 12 in Sacramento, and is expected to end September 2, after making stops in Merced, Fresno and other Valley cities.

Cal State Bakersfield Professor Dr. Gonzalo Santos is among the 11 marchers making the 285-mile trek. He says the nation’s immigration laws need revamping.

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Government & Politics
3:59 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Brown Signs Controversial Transgender Rights Bill

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is the author of the new law that will allow students to participate in extracurricular activities and use school facilities based on their gender identity – not their physical characteristics.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that increases the rights of transgender students at public schools.  It will allow students to participate in extracurricular activities and use school facilities based on their gender identity – not their physical characteristics.

Critics have suggested “bad actors” could use the law to prey on school children.  But the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, calls those complaints “scare tactics” and says they’ll go away with education.

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Government & Politics
12:28 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

July Revenues Fall Short of Califiornia Budget Projections

Credit Valley Public Radio

California revenues are off to a slow start in the new budget year.

The state controller’s office says they came in six percent below projections for the month of July.  Disappointing personal income tax proceeds offset slight gains in sales and corporate tax revenues.

Governor Jerry Brown convinced lawmakers to use his more conservative projections in this year’s budget.  Democratic leaders had pushed for more optimistic estimates.

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Government & Politics
6:01 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Bill Would Allow Non-Citizens to Work as California Poll Workers

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A bill that would expand the pool of volunteers for election polling places is on its way to California Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. And, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it’s generating some philosophical questions.

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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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