Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno voters may soon get a chance to overturn the City Council's planned hikes in water rates.

Fresno City Clerk Yvonne Spence confirmed today that a referendum petition submitted in late June has over 5,500 valid signatures--more than enough to put Measure W on the ballot.

The measure aims to allow voters to overturn a water plan approved last summer by the Council.  The plan would on average double water rates over the next 3 years in order to fund a $410 million upgrade to the city's water system. 

Assembly Republicans have a new leader in Sacramento, and she's from the San Joaquin Valley. Modesto's Kristin Olsen joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her priorities from education to a water bond. She also spoke about her ideas on how California Republicans can better connect with voters in the future. 

On her vision for Republicans in California:

Much Of California's Emergency Drought Relief Money Still Unspent

Jul 7, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s been four months since Governor Jerry Brown signed what he and Democratic lawmakers called “emergency drought legislation.” It promised nearly $700 million in immediate drought relief. But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, nearly 90 percent of that money has yet to be spent.

It was late February when Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced – with great fanfare – emergency drought legislation.

Brown: “What needs to be done will be done – and is being done.”

Modesto Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen Chosen to Lead Assembly GOP

Jul 5, 2014
Office of Kristin Olsen

There will be a new woman leading California Assembly Republicans. And, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the choice is getting good marks on both sides of the aisle. 

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen will officially take over as Assembly minority leader in November. The Modesto Republican says her focus will be on creating more jobs, lowering taxes and improving education.

California Assembly Committee Passes Farm Worker Sexual Harassment Bill

Jun 25, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

  A California Assembly committee passed a bill Wednesday that would give the state the power to revoke the licenses of farm labor contractor’s if they hire supervisors who have sexually harassed workers.

Michael Marsh is an attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance. He says his office deals with complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault on a regular basis.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the city is in the middle of a resilient economic recovery. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, her annual state of the city speech Wednesday afternoon also addressed some lingering problems.  

In what could be her last such speech as Fresno’s mayor, Ashley Swearengin told the crowd at the Convention Center the economic cloud which has hovered over the city for the past five years is beginning to lift.

NPR

Last week Central California took center stage in the nation's capital as House Republicans selected Bakersfield's Kevin McCarthy as the next majority leader.  It caps a remarkable rise to power for the Kern County congressman, who was elected to his first time in 2006. 

Concern Over Proposed Regulations For Undocumented Licenses

Jun 21, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California is developing regulations for undocumented immigrant driver licenses. But some groups are concerned about what they’ve seen so far. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

A coalition of immigrant rights groups says California needs to keep working on the regulations for undocumented driver licenses. Refugio Mata with Presente.org says there are concerns about the kinds of documents needed to get a license and how undocumented drivers will be treated by law enforcement. 

Audit Finds That California Prisoners Were Illegally Sterilized

Jun 21, 2014
CDCR

A California State Audit has found that dozens of women in state prisons were sterilized illegally. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone says prison medical officials are faulted for not following consent laws.  

Lawmakers called for the audit after coverage from the Center for Investigative Reporting last year. The Center found more than 100 incarcerated women had tubal ligations without proper approvals since 2006.

Joe Moore

A Valley congressman is now one of the most powerful men in Washington. FM 89’s Diana Aguilera reports on what Kevin McCarthy’s new post might mean for the valley.

It's official. House Republicans elected Kevin McCarthy as House majority leader.

The Republican lawmaker from Bakersfield and grandson of a cattle rancher will become the youngest person to serve in the second-ranking role. He’s 49.

McCarthy, replacing Eric Cantor, will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the chamber and will decide what bills come to the floor.

California Legislature Approves $156 Billion Budget

Jun 16, 2014
Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California’s new budget includes money for education, debt repayment and controversial projects like high speed rail. Katie Orr has details from Sacramento on last night’s budget vote.

California lawmakers spent father’s day debating the 156 billion spending plan. 108 billion of that makes up the state’s general fund. Democratic Senator Mark Leno says Money will go towards paying off debt, and building up a rainy day reserve and supporting California's children.

Activists Call on Counties to Enforce TRUST Act

Jun 11, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s TRUST Act has been in place since the beginning of the year. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, immigrant rights activists say the law is working, but there are still gaps in compliance.

Martin Del Agua, a married father of two, was arrested earlier this year in Sacramento after a neighbor complained he was playing his music too loud. Del Agua was detained on an immigration hold by the Sheriff’s Department and was facing deportation.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Tuesday's surprise defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican primary is having a ripple effect throughout the GOP. The "political earthquake" is extending all the way to the San Joaquin Valley, which is home to Cantor's chief deputy, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

Families Concerned By Possible IHSS Changes

Jun 11, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s In-Home Supportive Services program allows the disabled to remain in their homes by paying for their caregivers. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, a proposal to modify the program is creating tension in the state budget process.

The dramatic rise in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. border illegally has prompted the Obama administration to announce a new effort to halt what it calls a humanitarian crisis.

Earlier this week, the White House announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will head a new federal task force charged with developing a response to the trend.

Fresno Fire Department

With two major fires - one at a local recycling facility and another at a downtown jewelry store - the Fresno Fire Department found its resources stretched thin in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

While crews were battling what became a five alarm blaze at the Barrios Recycling on Orange Avenue, another fire caused severe damage at Protcer's Jewelers on the Fulton Mall at Fresno Street.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari joined us on Valley Edition Tuesday to talk about his vision for California and the Central Valley.  

A former U.S. Treasury Department official, Kashkari helped oversee the controversial $700 billion "Troubled Asset Relief Program" (aka TARP) under the Bush and Obama administrations. Kashkari says the valley would benefit from cancelling the high speed rail program and instead focusing on water infrastructure. He also talks about issues ranging from education to gun control. 

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

A bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to enroll in Medi-Cal is on hold for now.

Senate Bill 1005, known as the Health for All Act, was put on hold in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday giving advocates time come up with funding solutions.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced the bill in February.

Besides expanding services to the undocumented, Lara’s bill would create a health insurance marketplace. This would allow undocumented people who earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal the chance to buy private coverage with the help from the state.

As Jerry Brown Seeks Re-Election, California Progressives Voice Frustration

May 21, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown may be a near-lock to win a record fourth term this fall, but that doesn’t mean he’s universally popular with his fellow Democrats.  There’s growing frustration among progressives over what they see as the governor’s fiscal conservatism and business-friendly views.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento in the final report in our three-part series on California’s June gubernatorial primary.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

At a press conference this morning, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced her proposed 2015 budget for the City of Fresno.

In a departure from the major shortfalls the city has faced since 2009, the proposal emphasizes paying off debt, bolstering city services, and increasing the operating reserve to help prepare for unforeseen costs.

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