Government & Politics

Government & Politics
11:20 am
Wed June 5, 2013

FBI Raids Two Offices at Capitol

FBI agents exit the Capitol office of Calif. Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) Tuesday night, removing boxes and black bags.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

UPDATE:

The Senate’s Chief Sergeant-at-Arms has clarified that the second office searched in addition to Calderon’s Capitol office also belonged to the senator.  That office had previously been identified as belonging to the Latino Legislative Caucus.

The Sergeant-at-Arms attributed the confusion to an outdated list of room numbers.  Calderon’s auxiliary office and the Latino Legislative Caucus are both across the street from the Capitol in the Legislative Office Building.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

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Government & Politics
10:29 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Measure To Impose Trampoline Park Safety Rules Moves Through California Legislature

file photo
Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user obscura-prime / http://www.flickr.com/photos/27374790@N05/6990313715/

A non-profit group wants trampoline parks in California to be safer, and it’s sponsored a bill to regulate them. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

Tom Paper helped start the non-profit “Think Before You Bounce” after people he knew were injured at the trampoline parks.

“Imagine a single trampoline, but imagine now, 20 or 30 of them stitched together,” says Paper.

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Government & Politics
2:39 pm
Fri May 31, 2013

California Democrats Seek To Spend More on Education, Welfare

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Revenues are up in California, and many legislative Democrats want to use the money to restore previous funding cuts. But Republicans say now is not the time. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The Senate and Assembly are working to combine their proposed budgets into one bill. Democrats say, after years of cuts, it’s time to use increased revenues to make some investments in social, health and educational programs. Assembly Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield wants to see the Middle Class Scholarship program funded. It would reduce tuition costs for some UC and CSU students.

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Government & Politics
3:51 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Assembly Approves Minimum Wage Increase

Credit Valley Public Radio

California’s minimum wage would go up for the first time in six years under a bill passed by the state Assembly today. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s measure would raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $9.25 over the next three years – with cost-of-living adjustments each year after that.

“It’s been six long years – six long years - since we’ve raised the minimum wage here in California.  It’s been locked in at $8 an hour, when we know the price of rent, of clothing, of food, has all gone up during that time,” says Alejo.

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Government & Politics
9:51 am
Tue May 28, 2013

California Lawmakers Rush to Meet Legislative Deadline

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

In the California legislature this is the last week for bills to either pass or fail in their House of Origin. With hundreds of bills to consider, it’s going to be a busy week for lawmakers. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. 

In lay terms, the “House of Origin” deadline means bills need to pass out of the house where they were originally introduced, either the Assembly or the Senate, by this Friday. Bills still in consideration include measures relating to guns, medical marijuana, minimum wage and many more.

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Government & Politics
4:45 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Vidak's Upset Win Carries Statewide Implications

Hanford Republican Andy Vidak won a special election Tuesday to fill the vacant SD-16 seat formerly held by Michael Rubio.
Credit Andy Vidak

On Tuesday night Hanford Republican Andy Vidak scored what many are calling a surprise victory in the special election to replace former state senator Michael Rubio in the 16th senate district. Despite a sizable voter registration edge for Democrats, Vidak carried over 50 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a July runoff with the top Democrat, former Rubio staffer and current Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez.

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Government & Politics
3:18 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Legislative Democrats Want to Restore Budget Cuts, But Priorities Differ

Calif. State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) speaks at a rally to restore funding for after school programs at the Capitol Tuesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

As California budget talks head into their final weeks, supporters of programs suffering from years of cuts are asking for help.  Governor Jerry Brown opposes any new spending.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, Assembly and Senate Democrats have different programs in which they'd like to invest.

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Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

California Fire Camps Key To Reducing Prison Overcrowding

Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

Reducing overcrowding at California prisons is not easy. Generally, inmates must either be released or given more space, which is expensive. But there is a third option. Inmates can be sent to fire camps.  That's a cornerstone of Governor Jerry Brown's plan to reduce prison overcrowding in response to a federal court order.  State Government Reporter Katie Orr takes a closer look at what these camps entail.  

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Government & Politics
12:05 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Brown Going After Enterprise Zones in Budget Proposal

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is proposing drastic changes to California’s Enterprise Zone program in his latest budget. The zones are located in blighted areas and businesses operating within them can claim tax credits from the state.

Craig Johnson is President of the California Association of Enterprise Zones. He says Brown’s changes would essentially eliminate the state’s 40 Enterprise Zones. He says the state already has high taxes and high regulations and eliminating tax credits won’t help.

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Government & Politics
5:34 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

New Study Gives Snapshot of Realignment Results

(file photo)
Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The California Corrections and Rehabilitation Department offered a glimpse today of how realignment is working. The program diverts low-level offenders to county jails in an effort to reduce state prison overcrowding.

A study done by the department compares inmates released pre- and post- realignment. It found post-realignment offenders were re-arrested at a lower rate than pre-realignment offenders. Both groups were convicted of new crimes at nearly the same rate. The department’s Jeffrey Callison stresses this is just a snapshot.     

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Government & Politics
5:13 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Assembly Passes TRUST Act, Again

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says the TRUST Act will prevent immigrants from being deported for relatively minor infractions. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California Assembly has passed a bill that limits when local law enforcement agencies can turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The TRUST Act says local police cannot turn undocumented immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for minor crimes. Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says this will prevent immigrants from being deported for relatively minor infractions.

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Government & Politics
4:42 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Swearengin Focuses On Business, Industry Growth in 'State of City' Speech

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin delivers her 2013 "State of the City" address

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the the city's economy is on the road to recovery in 2013, thanks in part to growth in the local food processing sector.  

"I'm telling you that things are getting good around here when it comes to industrial expansion and expanding our food business," Swearengin told the crowd. 

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Government & Politics
12:21 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Democrats Pushing to Limit Prop 13

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

Some Democrats at the Capitol are attempting to chip away at California’s fabled Prop 13. But supporters of the property tax limiting measure are digging in to fight back. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 13 limits property taxes in California. But it also requires a two-thirds vote of the public to increase any special taxes. Six Democratic sponsored bills making their way through the Senate would lower that voter requirement to 55 percent approval.

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Government & Politics
5:43 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Attorney For Family Of Bakersfield Beating Victim Speaks Out

Credit Kern County Sheriff's Department

The attorney representing the family of the man who was fatally beaten by Kern County Sheriffs deputies May 8 is speaking out today. In an interview with Valley Public Radio, David Cohn said that the way the agencies are handling the case is appalling.

“Our biggest concern is that evidence, and primarily videos that were on cell phones was likely to altered, lost or destroyed and essentially our biggest fears have now become a reality.”

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Government & Politics
12:35 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Brown Proceeds With Caution on May Budget Revise

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year….and less overall spending next year.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California is expecting to end the fiscal year with a few billion dollars more than anticipated. Governor Jerry Brown is proposing spending the money on schools, but not much else. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on Brown’s May budget revision.

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Government & Politics
4:10 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Lawmakers React to Brown's Budget Revision

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

Republicans at the State Capitol are pleased Governor Jerry Brown is taking a more moderate approach to spending California’s budget surplus. But they still have some criticisms. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

No formal rainy day fund, no acknowledgement of possible union pay raises, high taxes that hurt business. State Republicans listed those as among their top concerns with the Governor’s May budget revision.

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Government & Politics
3:08 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Brown's Updated Budget Proposal: More Money to Schools, But Not Much Else

California Governor Jerry Brown is proposing an updated budget that he says is balanced, solid and maintains fiscal discipline against efforts to restore years of deep budget cuts.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year, and less overall spending next year. 

His spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July includes about $1.3 billion less than his January proposal.  Brown says the state’s economic picture has weakened due to the federal sequester and the federal payroll tax change.

“We have climbed out of a hole with a Proposition 30 tax. That is good, but this is not the time to break out the champagne,” says Brown.

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Government & Politics
6:19 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Steinberg: Addressing Mental Health Can Reduce Prison Overcrowding

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) discusses his proposals to increase crisis access to mental health services at a Capitol news conference Tuesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The top Democrat in the California Senate is calling for more crisis access to mental health services to help reduce the state’s overcrowded prisons. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the proposals likely wouldn’t satisfy a federal court order to reduce the state’s prison population.

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Government & Politics
5:46 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

California Supreme Court Says Cities Can Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Medical marijuana advocates rally on a lawn near the Capitol after the California Supreme Court ruled cities and counties can ban dispensaries within their borders.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California’s highest court has come down on the side of cities and counties in the fight over the location, or even the existence, of medical marijuana dispensaries. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. 

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Government & Politics
12:56 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

New California Prison Plan 'Best of the Bad Options'

Avenal State Prison
Credit CA Dept of Corrections

“The best of the bad options”. That’s how the Department of Corrections is characterizing its plan to reduce prison overcrowding in California. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

More inmates will be sent to lower security fire camps, some elderly and sick prisoners will be paroled early, additional beds will be leased from county jails. Those are among the measures California is proposing to further reduce prison overcrowding.

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