Government & Politics

News about government and politics

Hope Hall - Presidential Videographer / White House YouTube

The year 2016 was supposed to be one of celebration at Yosemite National Park, one of the crown jewels of the now century-old National Park Service. But while President Obama did visit the park to celebrate the NPR Centennial this past summer, a new scandal has rocked the park and those who work there. Allegations of a hostile work environment, gender discrimination and sexual harassment led longtime park superintendent Don Neubacher to unexpectedly resign last week.

Why Can't We Vote Online?

Oct 4, 2016

We can bank online and we can shop online so why can’t we vote online?

To answer that question, we first need to agree on what it means, said David Dill, a computer science professor at Stanford and the founder of the Verified Voting Foundation. In other words, what do people mean when they ask: “Why can’t we vote online?”

Kate and Richard Riggins’ son, John, was murdered along with his girlfriend, Sabrina Gonsalves, in 1980. At the time, John was a freshman attending the University of California  at Davis.

“They were kidnapped and left in a ditch to die with their throats slit,” says Kate Riggins. The case was unsolved for decades, until a DNA hit led cold case investigators to Richard Hirschfield, who was serving time in a Washington State prison for child molestation.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

A disgraced former Bakersfield Police detective has been sentenced to five years in prison for bribery, drug dealing and other corruption charges.

Damacio Diaz is receiving a sentence much lighter than the state recommended.

Diaz admits to lying on reports, taking bribes from drug dealers and himself moving as much as forty pounds of methamphetamine, among other crimes, during his time as an undercover narcotics officer.

PolitiFact California looks at claims made by elected officials, candidates and groups and rates them as: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants On Fire.

A ‘Yes’ vote on California’s Proposition 67 would ban thin plastic carryout bags at grocery and convenience stores statewide. The ban is supported by environmental groups that argue the bags choke wildlife and cause problems for recycling centers when they wrap around machinery.

Jeff Thompson holds his 8-month-old son, Tyler, while voting in the Los Angeles County primary election at Canyon Springs School's library on Tuesday, June 3, 2016, in Santa Clarita.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Jeff Thompson holds his 8-month-old son, Tyler, while voting in the Los Angeles County primary election at Canyon Springs School's library on Tuesday, June 3, 2016, in Santa Clarita. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Election Day is November 8. It's time to study up.

There's a lot on the ballot, including 17 statewide ballot measures certified by the California Secretary of State’s Office. You'll be voting on a range of issues like legalizing marijuana, the death penalty, prescription drug costs, taxes and much more.

Election 2016 FAQ: Proposition 63, Gun And Ammunition Sales

Oct 3, 2016

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Proposition 63 regulates ammunition sales, requires lost and stolen guns be reported, makes gun theft a felony. The basics

California already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation. But Proposition 63 aims to tighten them even further, while also placing new regulations on selling or buying ammunition.

Election 2016 FAQ: Proposition 66, Death Penalty Procedures

Oct 3, 2016

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Proposition 66 shortens process of death penalty appeals to “mend, not end” capital punishment. The basics

Election 2016 FAQ: Proposition 65, Money From Carry-Out Bags

Oct 3, 2016

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Proposition 65 requires grocery stores to turn over money from sale of reusable bags to a new state fund. The basics

You probably thought the plastic bag debate was over: The Legislature passed a statewide ban in 2014, and before that dozens of local governments in California had already banned supermarkets from handing out plastic bags at the checkout counter.

What you're voting on

Election 2016 FAQ: Proposition 62, Repeal The Death Penalty

Oct 3, 2016

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Proposition 62 bans the death penalty and replaces it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The basics

There’s one thing supporters and opponents of capital punishment agree on: California’s death penalty simply doesn’t work. 

Since voters reinstated the death penalty in 1978, California has executed 13 inmates. Meanwhile, the population on death row has grown to nearly 750.

Election 2016 FAQ: Proposition 67, Plastic Bag Ban Veto Referendum

Oct 3, 2016

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Proposition 67 clears a path for a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags to go into effect. The basics

If you’re thinking California already has a statewide law and a passel of local laws banning single-use plastic bags, you’re right.

Cal OES YouTube Video / Cal OES

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will help build out an earthquake early warning system for California. Once it’s up and running, the system will detect the early stages of a quake and transmit a warning to people’s phones and radios. Mark Ghilarducci with the California Office of Emergency Services says it’s a big step.

Ghilarducci: "Technology to be able to sense the time that the energy gets released before the shaking occurs and be able to put that in a warning is very, very significant."

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The news that the City of Fresno is set to receive up to $70 million from the state in the form of cap-and-trade funding is the latest issue in the Fresno mayor’s race.

Mayoral candidates Lee Brand and Henry Perea offered opposing visions of how to spend the money during a debate last night that focused on issue of downtown revitalization.

A former Bakersfield Police Detective is accusing the department of widespread and shocking misconduct in a multi-county drug enforcement unit. Detective Damacio Diaz is alleging a lengthy series of problems in a federal court filing released Thursday.

Diaz is one of two former detectives facing charges of bribery and corruption during their time on the force. He is facing 22 years in prison and is set to be sentenced Monday.

Prop. 61, the drug pricing initiative, explained

Sep 28, 2016

One of the 17 statewide propositions facing California voters on the November ballot is Proposition 61, which is intended to lower prescription drug prices.

Below, Impatient breaks down this initiative, which besides being one of the most complicated ballot measures, has sparked by far this year's most expensive campaign fight over an initiative.

In a nutshell

Under Prop. 61, certain state agencies would pay no more than what the Department of Veterans Affairs pays for prescription drugs.

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