Sacramento

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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Government & Politics
10:21 am
Fri September 13, 2013

California Lawmakers Adjourn for Year After Busy Final Day

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers are done for the year.  They adjourned just past midnight Friday after a busy and at times chaotic final day – and night – of action.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

A minimum wage increase, California Environmental Quality Act changes, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, a state prisons deal – all among the hundreds of bills lawmakers passed in this last week of session.  Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says that caps a “great year” – on top of a budget that restored some of the deep cuts from previous years.

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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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Environment
5:38 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Electric Bill Increase or Fairer California Power Rates?

File photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Legislation that could add a flat fee of up to 10 dollars a month on some California electric bills is up for a key committee vote Friday.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the measure has support from utilities and consumer groups – but it’s sparking pushback from environmental advocates.

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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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Mental Health
3:31 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

California Audit Points to Lack of Oversight of Mental Health Funding

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers and mental health groups say they ‘welcome’ new findings of inadequate oversight of state mental health funds. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The California State Auditor says state agencies haven’t made ‘serious efforts’ to measure the effectiveness of county programs intended to mitigate mental illness.

Democratic State Senate President Darrell Steinberg helped create the Mental Health Services Act.

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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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