Sacramento

Government & Politics
10:20 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Senate Dems Call For Disgraced Yee To Resign

State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) was arrested Wednesday on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to traffic firearms

Another California State Senator is facing criminal allegations. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on accusations that surfaced Wednesday against Senator Leland Yee.

In what the Senate President says sounds like a bad movie, a federal complaint alleges Yee, a Bay Area Democrat, committed wire fraud and gun trafficking. Undercover FBI agents say Yee set up meetings for them on topics ranging from legislation to arms dealing. In return, the agents made contributions to Yee’s Secretary of State campaign.

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Government & Politics
12:38 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Break It Up: Should California Split Into Six States?

file photo
Credit Flickr user jimmywayne / Creative Commons / http://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/154814511/sizes/o/

California is the nation's most populous state. Its farms feed the nation, its studios and filmmakers entertain the world, and its technology companies help define our future. But some say the state is simply too large, too diverse and too unwieldy to govern effectively. 

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Government & Politics
8:01 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Fluke Enters Senate Race as Number of Women in California Legislature Declines

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke is running for a state senate seat. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, her candidacy comes as the number of women in the state legislature is dropping.

Women make up more than half of California’s population, but just over a quarter of the state legislature. The number of women elected to the legislature has been dropping for several years. It’s an issue Fluke has been working to fix.

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Government & Politics
6:22 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

California Legislature to Tackle Teacher Retirement Fund Debt

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Some lawmakers say it’s time to get serious about paying down debt accrued by California's teachers’ retirement system. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, that will take a big financial commitment.

Assembly Democrats say they’re ready to look for ways to pay down the unfunded liability of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The governor’s office puts the debt at more than $80 billion.

Speaker John Perez says the Assembly will begin hearings on the issue.

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Education
6:01 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

State Board of Education Will Decide How Billions Can Be Spent

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California State Board of Education will decide tomorrow how school districts can spend billions of dollars in state funding next year. From Sacramento, Katie Orr has details on what's at stake in the meeting.

The board will consider rules that dictate how school districts can spend money targeted toward low-income and non-English speaking students.

Several interest groups want the rules tightened up, to ensure the money isn’t squandered. Samantha Tran is with the advocacy group Children Now. She says some district wide spending could be good.

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Education
5:58 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Democrats Propose Universal Pre-K Programs

Students in a transitional kindergarten class at H.W. Harkness Elementary School in Sacramento.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Providing transitional kindergarten for all the four-year-olds in California would cost about a $1 billion, but supporters say it would be worth it. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on a new proposal introduced today.

In an elementary school near Sacramento, students in a transitional kindergarten class practice saying the date.

These kids are among several thousand California four-year olds enrolled in pre-K programs. Now state Senate Democrats want to make transitional kindergarten available to all four-year-olds.

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Government & Politics
6:05 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

California GOP Lawmakers: Build Reserve, Pay Down Debt

Legislative Republicans don’t have the power to block measures – or even tax increases. But they’re hoping Democrats – and especially Governor Jerry Brown – will support at least some of their ideas.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Minority Republicans are calling for spending restraint, paying down debt and putting a portion of the state’s one-time revenues into infrastructure projects.

Assembly GOP Leader Connie Conway says Governor Jerry Brown and legislative Democrats should resist the temptation to spend the money that’s coming into state coffers well above budget projections.

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Government & Politics
6:02 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

California Democrats Focused on Financial Recovery

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California legislature is back in session and Democrats remain firmly in control. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, leaders are starting the year with a focus on the economy.

Democratic leaders are pushing a message of restoring the state’s economy by creating a rainy day fund and paying down debt. But projects like high speed rail and the Delta water tunnel plan could put pressure on the budget.

Democrats hold a super majority in the legislature, but Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett says the party will continue to act responsibly.    

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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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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
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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Education
1:25 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

UC's Napolitano Calls for 2014-15 Tuition Freeze

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and University of California President Janet Napolitano at Wednesday's Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco.
Credit Ben Adler

University of California students could see a third straight year without a tuition increase.  New UC President Janet Napolitano says she hopes to extend the current tuition freeze through the 2014-15 school year.  Ben Adler has more on Napolitano’s first UC Regents meeting as president Wednesday.

Six weeks into her new job, the former Arizona governor and Secretary of Homeland Security is putting forth a four-pronged agenda.  First: a tuition freeze.

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Business & Economy
12:32 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

California Legislature Holds Joint Fast Food Wages Hearing

McDonalds (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers are looking at the cost fast food jobs might pass on to state taxpayers. As Max Pringle reports from Sacramento, Wednesday’s hearing was based on a recent UC Berkeley Labor Center study.

The study estimates that more than half of full-time fast food workers rely on public assistance, which costs California taxpayers more than $700 million per year. The Center’s Ken Jacobs says the study contradicts a lot of assumptions about the average fast food worker.

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Environment
12:11 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Peter Gleick: We Need To Know More About Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Peter Gleick is president of the Pacific Institute and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Credit Courtesy Peter Gleick

Peter Gleick is one of California's leading water experts. In an op-ed piece recently published in the Sacramento Bee, Gleick  criticized the draft of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan for what he calls a lack of specificity.

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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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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
10:18 am
Mon October 7, 2013

On Recall's 10-Year Anniversary, Schwarzenegger's Legacy Up for Debate

Ten years ago Monday, Arnold Schwarzenegger unseated Gray Davis in a unique election in California history. But the debate over Schwarzenegger’s legacy – and the Recall itself – persists to this day.
Credit Capital Public Radio

Ten years ago today, Arnold Schwarzenegger unseated Gray Davis in a unique election in California history.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the debate over Schwarzenegger’s legacy – and the Recall itself – persists to this day.

Schwarzenegger in 2003 TV Ad: “I want to be the people’s governor.  I will work honestly without fear or favor to do what is right for all Californians.”

Announcer: “Join Arnold and let’s bring California back.”

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Government & Politics
10:34 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Bill to Increase California's Minimum Wage Passes Legislature

Credit Valley Public Radio

  A bill that would gradually increase the California minimum wage to $10-an-hour has passed the State legislature and is on its way to the governor. It would be the first increase in the minimum wage in six years.

Democratic Senator Bill Monning says if you’re a Californian subsisting on the current state minimum wage, you’re living a second class existence.

"You are in a second hand economy, second harvest food bank, second-hand clothing, second-hand hand-me-down everything," says Monning.

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Government & Politics
10:26 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Driver's License Bill Passes California Legislature

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

Undocumented immigrants in California will soon be able to get driver’s licenses after the legislature approved a bill on the final day of session. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, concerns over what the licenses would look like nearly derailed the effort.

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