Sacramento

Government & Politics
6:53 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

California Courts Welcome $60 Million Funding Boost

Fresno County Courthouse (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore - Valley Public Radio

California’s trial courts are set to receive an extra $60 million in the new state budget that takes effect next month. The money is designated to help improve access to courts that have slashed hours and resources or shut down completely. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
10:51 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Legislators Scramble to Undo Changes to Public Records Act

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California Senate leaders say they’ll introduce a Constitutional Amendment to ensure compliance with the state’s Public Records Act. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the move comes after an unexpected public outcry against watering it down.

A provision attached to the budget bill made complying with certain parts of the state’s Public Records Act optional. The change enraged members of the media and lawmakers have been scrambling to undo the move since then.

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Government & Politics
6:00 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Brown, California Mayors Talk Water, High-Speed Rail and More

Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido (left), Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson talk with reporters after meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown at the Capitol Wednesday.
Credit Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The mayors of California’s largest cities met with Governor Jerry Brown today at the state Capitol.  They talked about a host of issues including prison realignment, high speed rail and the governor’s proposed Delta water project.

Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti says more pension reform is needed, even after last year’s legislation.

“If we do not address this problem and look at this with seriousness –and I think this group of mayors wants to help the Governor and the state legislature continue to do that, we will see deficits balloon in coming years,” says Garcetti.

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Government & Politics
5:03 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

California Elected Officials To Get Pay Raise

Credit Valley Public Radio

The salaries of California's state lawmakers and constitutional officers weren’t exempt from years of state budget cuts. But some of those cuts were restored today  when a state commission voted to give lawmakers a pay raise. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

It may be a happier holiday season for state elected officials. The California Citizens Compensation Committee has approved a five percent raise, which will take effect in December.

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Government & Politics
3:50 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

California Budget Could Loosen State's Public Records Act

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

 

Local government agencies will no longer be required to follow key provisions of California’s Public Records Act in a bill that’s part of the budget state lawmakers approved over the weekend.  As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, Governor Jerry Brown is expected to enact the change—which is less drastic than one he proposed.

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Government & Politics
2:43 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Budget Debate Under Way in California Legislature

Calif. Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) walk together to a Capitol news conference Tuesday announcing a state budget deal.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

The California legislature has approved the 2013-14 state budget bill - one day before its constitutional deadline to send a spending plan to Gov. Jerry Brown. Debate continues on the budget's accompanying "trailer" bills.

The $96 billion dollar general fund budget uses the cautious revenue estimates insisted upon by Brown while also making new spending investments in select programs pushed by legislative Democrats.

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Environment
11:34 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Budget Agreement Diverts Money From Cap and Trade

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

California’s budget agreement borrows 500-million dollars from the state’s cap-and-trade program. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, environmentalists say the maneuver neglects polluted communities.

Environmentalists say money from the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to programs that help further reduce emissions. California Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers say it will, just not this year.

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Health Care
11:00 am
Fri June 14, 2013

New Budget Fills In Dental Coverage Gaps for Poor Californians

file photo
Credit California Department of Health Care Services

California lawmakers and Governor Jerry Brown reached a budget agreement this week. The Governor had previously said he had no intention of bringing back services slashed in years past, but a small number of areas won restored funding for next year - dental care was one of them. Health care reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento about what that led up to the decision to renew services.

For four years, Karen Wadsack has been struggling to get the dental care she says she needs.

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Government & Politics
5:50 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

New Law Would Limit California Public Records Act

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

A new California law could make it more difficult to get public records from local governments. A “trailer bill” attached to this year’s state budget would make compliance with certain parts of the California Public Records Act optional.

Phillip Ung with the open government advocacy group Common Cause says Senate Bill 71 would enact drastic changes to the Act.

“SB 71 essentially makes participation in the California Public Records Act voluntary, based on what it is the city wants to do,” says Ung.

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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Parties Clash Over Budget Transparency

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Lawmakers will begin voting on the California budget on Friday. But Republicans say they’ll also have to vote on several bills they know little about.  Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The budget is the big picture bill. It dictates where the state’s money will go. Trailer bills are attached to the budget and spell out how the money will be allocated.

Typically trailer bills are published a few days before the budget vote. This year the earliest of at least 15 came out Wednesday morning.

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Energy & Environment
5:53 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Only One Major Fracking Bill Left Now at California Capitol

file photo
Credit Capital Public Radio

A bill that would regulate the controversial oil and gas extraction process known as “fracking” in California has stalled at the State Capitol.

The measure by Democratic Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski fell two votes shy of passage in an Assembly committee today. It would have required oil companies to provide a complete list of chemicals used, their concentrations, how much water was used and how it was disposed of once fracking was complete.

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Education
5:50 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

School Districts Have Varying Views on School Funding Formula

file photo
Credit Fresno Unified School District

School districts in California will receive varying amounts of money under the state’s new school funding plan. And attitudes about the plan vary as well. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Under the new formula, districts will receive a base level of funding for every student. They’ll get additional money for every low-income and non-English speaking student they have.

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Health
7:43 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

California Budget Deal Reached on Health Funding for Counties

The California state budget deal reached this week includes some restored funding for dental care for the poor, and millions of dollars for mental health services. And as Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento reports, county and state officials are finalizing the details of how local governments will use health care money.  

After months of negotiations, the Brown administration and county representatives have struck a deal - the state can redirect some money away from county health programs, but the counties will have some choice in how that’s done.   

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Government & Politics
7:28 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Brown, Democratic Leaders Announce Budget Deal

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It wasn’t too many years ago California could barely get a budget passed. But as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, things are different this year.

California Governor Jerry Brown was joined by Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez to confirm a three-way budget deal.

All appeared proud of their agreement, which was reached with time to spare before Saturday’s legislative budget deadline. Steinberg pointed out meeting that deadline is becoming routine.

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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Sources: Governor, Legislative Democrats Reach Budget

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

California Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders appear to have reached a budget deal days before the legislature’s constitutional deadline.

“The Legislature is doing their job and doing it well,” the governor said in a late-night statement after the joint Senate-Assembly Budget Conference Committee wrapped up its work Monday.  “It looks like California will get another balanced budget and, very importantly, educational funding that recognizes the different needs of California’s students.”

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Government & Politics
3:51 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Assembly Approves Minimum Wage Increase

Credit Valley Public Radio

California’s minimum wage would go up for the first time in six years under a bill passed by the state Assembly today. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s measure would raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $9.25 over the next three years – with cost-of-living adjustments each year after that.

“It’s been six long years – six long years - since we’ve raised the minimum wage here in California.  It’s been locked in at $8 an hour, when we know the price of rent, of clothing, of food, has all gone up during that time,” says Alejo.

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Government & Politics
9:51 am
Tue May 28, 2013

California Lawmakers Rush to Meet Legislative Deadline

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

In the California legislature this is the last week for bills to either pass or fail in their House of Origin. With hundreds of bills to consider, it’s going to be a busy week for lawmakers. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. 

In lay terms, the “House of Origin” deadline means bills need to pass out of the house where they were originally introduced, either the Assembly or the Senate, by this Friday. Bills still in consideration include measures relating to guns, medical marijuana, minimum wage and many more.

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Health Care Reform
2:23 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

California Releases Details of Health Insurance Exchange

Details of California’s new health insurance exchange were announced today. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, about five million people are eligible to get covered through the exchange.

California is opening the exchange to comply with federal healthcare reform. Thirteen insurance agencies will offer a variety of plans. While some plans will be available throughout the state, others will be targeted to specific regions.

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Education
5:34 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Teachers Association Backs Brown's School Funding Plan

file photo
Credit Fresno Unified School District

The California Teachers Association says it backs Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to change how the state distributes money to school districts. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, that puts them at odds with legislative Democrats.

Brown’s plan includes giving more money to districts with a majority of low income and non-English speaking students. These “concentrations grants” are controversial among some legislators because they’d come at the expense of other districts.  

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Government & Politics
4:45 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Vidak's Upset Win Carries Statewide Implications

Hanford Republican Andy Vidak won a special election Tuesday to fill the vacant SD-16 seat formerly held by Michael Rubio.
Credit Andy Vidak

On Tuesday night Hanford Republican Andy Vidak scored what many are calling a surprise victory in the special election to replace former state senator Michael Rubio in the 16th senate district. Despite a sizable voter registration edge for Democrats, Vidak carried over 50 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a July runoff with the top Democrat, former Rubio staffer and current Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez.

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