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.

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

Nov 8, 2013
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.

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

Nov 1, 2013
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.”

FBI Affidavit: State Senator Took Bribes in Undercover Sting Operation

Nov 1, 2013
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.

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

Oct 7, 2013
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.”

Bill to Increase California's Minimum Wage Passes Legislature

Sep 13, 2013
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.

Driver's License Bill Passes California Legislature

Sep 13, 2013
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

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.

California Lawmakers Adjourn for Year After Busy Final Day

Sep 13, 2013
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.

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.

Prisons Battle Heats Up at California Capitol

Sep 4, 2013
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

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.

Crunch Time Begins for California Lawmakers

Sep 3, 2013
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.

Electric Bill Increase or Fairer California Power Rates?

Aug 29, 2013
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.

The Evolution of Jerry Brown

Aug 22, 2013
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.


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.

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.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

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.

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.

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.

Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould /

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.

Flickr user Steve Rhodes - Creative Commons /

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. / 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.