Government & Politics

Government & Politics
11:54 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Major Changes Proposed for California Elections Rules

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Two big changes to California elections could come up for debate in the state legislature in 2014.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on proposals that would eliminate special elections and require cities and counties to hold their votes at statewide elections.

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Local Government
11:48 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Swearengin: Time To Fix Fresno Neighborhoods 'On The Brink'

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her priorities for the city and some of the biggest issues facing local residents, from homelessness to city finances to public safety. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

On plans to raise water rates to pay for a new surface water treatment plant and replace aging infrastructure:

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Government & Politics
12:57 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Porterville Developmental Center Beating Highlights Accountability Failures

Credit http://www.dds.ca.gov/Porterville/Index.cfm

What happens when the most vulnerable members of society are failed by the very system that is there to protect them? That’s the question asked in a major series of reports by the Center For Investigative Reporting called Broken Shield.

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Government & Politics
5:36 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Launching 11-Day Action, Advocates Urge McCarthy To Pass Immigration Reform

Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers, called on Congressman Kevin McCarthy to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

More than a dozen immigrants and advocates gathered outside of Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield this morning and called on him to support comprehensive immigration reform. The event marked the start of an 11-day push for immigration reform, in honor of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the country.

“We want our congressional representative to pass comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship, now!” said Camila Chavez, executive director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation

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Government & Politics
4:40 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Rosy California Budget Projections Prompt Calls for New Spending

Many California Democrats and progressive groups want to reinvest in programs devastated by years of budget cuts now that the state’s revenue outlook has improved.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California’s non-partisan budget analyst has declared the state’s structural deficit a thing of the past and projected multi-billion dollar surpluses for years to come.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, that’s prompting calls from some Democrats and progressive groups to reinvest in programs hit hard by recession-era budget cuts.

When Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor released his budget projections a few weeks ago, he tempered the good news with words of caution:

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Government & Politics
4:35 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

California Lawmakers Want Amendment to Farm Bill Removed

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

An amendment to the U.S. House version of the federal Farm Bill has upset a bipartisan group of California lawmakers. As Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, they’ve written a letter to House leaders calling for its removal.

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Government & Politics
10:52 am
Mon December 2, 2013

California Voters To Decide Fate Of Proposed Madera Casino

An artist's rendering of a proposed Highway 99 casino proposed by the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians.
Credit North Fork Rancheria

An Indian tribe located near Yosemite has state and federal approvals to build a casino off of its reservation. But a referendum on the California ballot next year might kill the project. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
3:39 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Judge Blocks California High Speed Rail Financing

file photo
Credit Credit California High Speed Rail Authority / File Photo

 California’s High Speed Rail project may have stalled out in court. A judge ruled today the Rail Authority cannot sell $8 billion in bonds to help fund the project.

The judge also ordered the Authority to rewrite its $68 billion funding plan before moving forward with construction.

Jon Coupal is with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which opposes the project.

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Government & Politics
4:54 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Covered California Votes to Keep Original Policy Cancelation Deadline

The Covered California board of directors voted today [Thursday] not to allow health insurers to renew canceled policies that don’t meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act.

The decision comes after President Obama’s recent suggestion that insurers be allowed to decide whether they want to extend the policies for a year.

The exchange’s executive director, Peter Lee, raised concerns about pushing back the cancelations for a few months or up to a year.

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Government & Politics
6:47 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

After Years of Deficits, Budget Surpluses Projected for California

California's non-partisan Legislative Analyst, Mac Taylor, discusses the state's fiscal outlook at a news conference in Sacramento Wednesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

  California’s structural deficit is history – and the legislature’s non-partisan budget analyst is projecting growing surpluses for the next several years.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the welcome budget news still comes with words of caution.

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Government & Politics
6:11 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Steinberg Refutes Claims He's Under Investigation

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters he is not under investigation by the FBI after his fellow Democrat, Senator Ron Calderon, made that claim in a court filing earlier this week. (file photo)
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

A California Senate Democrat who is under investigation by the FBI says he’s not the only one the Bureau is looking into. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, other Senators are vehemently denying today they're targets of an investigation.

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told reporters he is not under investigation by the FBI after his fellow Democrat, Senator Ron Calderon, made that claim in a court filing earlier this week. Calderon is under investigation for corruption. Steinberg says his reputation is above reproach.

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Government & Politics
11:59 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Initiative Would Raise Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages

file photo
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

California’s high-stakes battle over medical malpractice damages could move to the ballot box next year.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the initiative campaign seeking to increase the cap on “pain and suffering” awards will pit trial lawyers against doctors.

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Government & Politics
11:38 am
Fri November 8, 2013

With Donnelly's Entry, 2014 Governor's Race Begins to Take Shape

Asm. Tim Donnelly's (R-Twin Peaks) campaign RV, parked in front of the State Capitol Thursday in Sacramento.
Ben Adler Capital Public Radio

A tea party California Assemblyman has become the first Republican to officially enter the 2014 governor’s race.  Democratic incumbent Jerry Brown is widely considered the frontrunner, assuming he decides to run for a record fourth term.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the race to face Brown in California’s new “top two” primary system is wide open.

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Transportation
11:27 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Kings County High Speed Rail Route Draws Opposition

A rendering of the High-Speed Rail line through Bakersfield.
High Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is pushing forward with plans for its Fresno to Bakersfield segment. The board accepted a proposed route at a meeting Thursday. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it’s been a rough ride.

The High-Speed Rail Authority has voted to support a route that goes through eastern Kings County. Board members say it will have less environmental impact than an alternate path.

But Ross Browning, who lives in Kings County says the high speed rail project will be devastating to local agriculture. 

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Immigration Reform
11:08 am
Thu November 7, 2013

In Bakersfield, Immigration Protestors Occupy McCarthy's Office, Meet With Congressman

Late Wednesday, Congressman Kevin McCarthy returned to his office to meet with the protesters, after attending an event at CSU Bakersfield with technology entrepreneur Elon Musk.
UFW Communications Director Maria Machuca https://twitter.com/mariamachuca

A group of immigration rights activists staged a protest Wednesday at the Bakersfield office of House GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy, eventually meeting with the Congressman after being locked inside his office for much of the night. 

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Government & Politics
4:21 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Valadao Calls On GOP Leadership To Address Immigration Reform

Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford)

Congressman David Valadao (R-Hanford) has renewed his call for the House to take up the issue of comprehensive immigration reform this year. He made his comments this week speaking on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition.

The Hanford Republican says that the House GOP leadership should bring the bill, HR 15 up for debate. The measure would address a variety of immigration issues, including border security, a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for those currently in the country illegally. 

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Government & Politics
9:15 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Study: More California Latinos Attend College, Few Finish

file photo
Credit Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

College is a goal for the majority of Latinos graduating from California high schools. But as Katie Orr reports, a new report out today shows few Latinos actually finish college.

The study from the organization The Campaign for College Opportunities finds seven out of ten California Latino high school graduates enrolled in college last year. But just 11 percent of Latino adults in the state have a bachelors or graduate degree. 

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Government & Politics
5:59 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Campaign Finance Fight Could Shape 'Dark Money's' Future In California

A "No on Prop 32" TV ad paid for by the Small Business Action Committee in the Fall 2012 campaign.
Credit YouTube/Small Business Action Committee

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission is trying to collect $15 million in penalties from two political action committees that accepted “dark money” contributions last year.  The PACs won’t pay, saying they’ve done nothing wrong.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento that in this dispute, there’s a lot at stake.

The illegal donations last fall paid for ads like this from the Small Business Action Committee:

Yes on 32 TV ad: “Sacramento doesn’t work for our family.  Instead, it works for the big unions and corporations.”

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Government & Politics
10:59 am
Fri November 1, 2013

FBI Affidavit: State Senator Took Bribes in Undercover Sting Operation

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) speaks with reporters Thursday in the Senate chambers in response to the FBI affidavit alleging Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) took bribes in an undercover sting operation.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

An undercover FBI agent poses as a Hollywood executive to lure an elected official into taking bribes for legislation.  It sounds like a story Hollywood could have made itself – but in fact, it’s the story laid out in an affidavit that’s sent shockwaves through the California state Capitol.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento.

This TV report from Wednesday night is the first big development in the case since the FBI raided Democratic State Senator Ron Calderon’s Capitol office earlier this year.

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Government & Politics
10:39 am
Mon October 28, 2013

California Begins Sending Inmates to Private Prisons

The GEO Group's Golden State Modified Community Correctional Facility in McFarland, CA.
Credit The GEO Group, Inc.

California is beginning to transfer inmates out of its state prisons. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the transfers are part of a court-mandated plan to reduce overcrowding in state prisons

California is sending 2,100 inmates to three private prisons within the state. James Black is with the GEO group, which operates the facilities. He says GEO’s prisons must meet the same standards the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation must meet.

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