Government & Politics

Government & Politics
11:05 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Livestock Theft Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Cattle rustling or crop raiding might seem like a relic of the Wild West, but in the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding foothills, cattle theft is on the rise. So much so that it's inspired a new bill that would beef up fines for stealing livestock.

The bill passed through both the Senate and the Assembly Friday with unanimous, bi-partisan support. The bill would establish a $5,000 fine for anyone convicted of livestock theft.

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Government & Politics
11:37 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Brown, Legislative Leaders Reach Prisons Deal

Gov. Jerry Brown and California legislative leaders announce a prisons deal outside the governor's office at the State Capitol Monday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

After nearly two weeks of sniping back and forth, California Governor Jerry Brown and Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg have reached a deal on their competing prison plans.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on how the state will respond to the federal court order that requires California to reduce overcrowding in its prisons.

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Government & Politics
6:23 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

U.S. Transportation Secretary: 'Today Is A New Beginning' For Fulton Mall

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx speaks at a ceremony announcing the $16 million federal grant for bringing vehicle traffic to what is today the Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited Fresno today to formally announce the city's award of a grant for $16 million to transform a part of downtown. FM89's Joe Moore has this report. 

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Today's event on the Fulton Mall wasn't the first time a Fresno mayor called for the six-block-long pedestrian plaza to be restored to vehicle traffic. But unlike efforts in decades past, this time the city apparently has the money to do it, thanks to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. 

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Government & Politics
5:59 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Feds to Give City of Fresno $16 Million To Bring Traffic Back to Fulton Mall

An artist's rendering of what the Fulton Mall might look like after vehicle traffic is re-introduced to the area.
Credit City of Fresno

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today that it will provide $16 million to help the City of Fresno bring automobile traffic back to downtown’s Fulton Mall.

The city says the $20 million project will help boost business in the struggling area by removing a nearly fifty-year-old pedestrian mall which occupies what was once Fresno’s main commercial street.

In a press release, DOT officials wrote that the project will:

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Government & Politics
5:36 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Livestock Theft Bill Advances Through State Senate

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Cattle rustling or crop raiding might seem like a relic of the Wild West, but in the San Joaquin Valley surrounding foothills, cattle theft is on the rise. So much so that it's inspired a new bill by a local legislator that passed the Senate earlier this week. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero reports on the Livestock Theft Prevention Act.

A bill that would beef up fines for stealing livestock passed through the Senate Tuesday with unanimous, bi-partisan support. The bill would establish a $5,000 fine for anyone convicted of livestock theft.

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Government & Politics
6:18 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Prisons Battle Heats Up at California Capitol

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

California Senate Democrats have approved their own plan to deal with the federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding.  They pushed their proposal through the Senate Budget Committee today over the objections of Republicans and Governor Jerry Brown.

Corrections Secretary Jeff Beard lobbied strongly for Brown’s plan, known as Senate Bill 105.  It would increase capacity by contracting out beds from county, private and out-of-state facilities.

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Government & Politics
3:10 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Crunch Time Begins for California Lawmakers

The California State Assembly (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California legislature enters its home stretch today. Lawmakers have just two weeks left to debate hundreds of bills.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on some of the major issues still on the table.

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Government & Politics
5:57 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Brown Releases Plan to Ease Prison Overcrowding

California Governor Jerry Brown, surrounded by legislative leaders and supporters, presents his plan to reduce prison overcrowding on August 27,2013.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Thousands of California inmates may be transferred to other facilities in an effort to ease prison overcrowding. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the plan comes after multiple federal court orders.

To be clear, Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t think California needs to do any more to ease prison overcrowding. He notes the inmate population has dropped by 45,000 since 2006.  But multiple federal judges were not convinced and repeatedly ordered the state to further reduce overcrowding. That could happen by releasing inmates or finding more space.

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Government & Politics
3:06 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Kern County Looks At Options After Animal Control Booted From Bakersfield Facility

Kern County offices in downtown Bakersfield (file)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Last week the conflict that’s been brewing for months between the City of Bakersfield and Kern County over the city owned animal control facility that the two have shared for years finally boiled over. On Wednesday, the city told the county it has 40 days to move out.

This comes after negotiations for a two year extension of the current arrangement fell apart. The dispute of course goes back to money, and just who was shouldering more of the bill for the region’s pet overpopulation problem at the city owned facility on Mt. Vernon Avenue.

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Government & Politics
6:35 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

The Evolution of Jerry Brown

In less than two months, Jerry Brown will become the longest-serving governor in California history. We ask longtime observers and the governor himself how the Brown of today compares to the Brown of 30 years ago.
Credit YouTube & Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers are voting on hundreds of bills in the final weeks of session.  And the man who will determine their fate is approaching a milestone.  In less than two months, Jerry Brown will become the longest-serving governor in California history.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on how the Brown of today compares to the Brown of 30 years ago.

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The year was 1974.  Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles topped the movie charts.  Watergate finally felled Richard Nixon.  And 36-year-old Jerry Brown won his first term as governor.

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Government & Politics
11:53 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Controversial Farmworker Bill Passes Assembly

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

The California Assembly has approved a bill that would make it easier for farm workers to obtain union contracts with their employers.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the measure passed Monday with the bare minimum votes needed – despite strong opposition from growers.

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Government & Politics
6:13 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

California Takes a Second Look at Redevelopment Agencies

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

A bill that would grant local California communities the right to form agencies to redevelop blighted areas has passed an Assembly Committee. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

The California Supreme Court dissolved redevelopment agencies last year. But a bill at the Capitol would create new local entities that would fund affordable housing and infill development projects.

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Government & Politics
5:39 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

California Bill Would Extend Deadline on Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A bill that would extend California’s statute of limitations on civil suits for victims of childhood sexual abuse has stalled in an Assembly Committee. 

Democratic Senator Jim Beall says his bill would bring a measure of justice to people who may just now be coming to terms with childhood trauma.

“When they discover later in life, through therapy or whatever, that they were attacked by somebody, it allows them to go to civil court," says Beall.

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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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