Sacramento

GOP Governor's Race? What GOP Governor's Race?

Jul 19, 2013
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

It’s less than a year until the first votes will be cast in the 2014 California governor’s race, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the campaign.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on why the Republican field is shaping up so slowly to challenge Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

Here’s how the race looks right now:

There’s Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a tea party hero who announced his exploratory campaign on the conservative website Politichicks.tv

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California homeowners who saw their property taxes plunge along with their homes’ market values during the recession could get some sticker shock when their next tax bill arrives.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the bad news for homeowners is good news for state and local budgets.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation to overhaul a controversial tax break for companies that hire workers in low-income communities.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on that and some of the other bills Brown signed today.

Valley Public Radio

A new report that compares state finances finds California's budget revenues are soaring higher than all but one other state in the nation.  Its economy is growing at an above-average pace as well.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

The study comes from the Tax Policy Center – a project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.  It compares state tax revenues, economic growth and other data for all 50 states.

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

A new version of term limits, a new way to draw voting districts, a new system for running primary elections. Those three changes all took effect in 2012. Each was intended to moderate the California legislature. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there is hope the changes have been effective, but so far there’s no proof.

New lawmakers are frequently sworn in at the California State Capitol. But the class taking the oath of office last December faced a different legislative future from classes who came before them.

The summer is a slow time for many occupations, but not for people working to make fundamental changes to the health care system. Millions of uninsured Americans are expected to buy coverage through new health insurance marketplaces called exchanges. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone  has more about how neighboring states are trying to achieve the same end by different means. 

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Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The price at the pump goes up today/Monday in California – by 3 ½ cents per gallon of gasoline.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, that’s because of a particularly complex part of an old state budget deal.

California tax law is full of confusing formulas with colorful names, like the triple flip and the single sales factor.  Here, we’re talking about something called the gas tax swap.  It stems from the 2010 budget deal in the heart of the recession. 

Office of the Governor

California has its new budget for the fiscal year that starts on Monday.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the $96 billion general fund spending plan today at the State Capitol with Democratic legislative leaders at his side.

The governor said the budget is balanced and responsible – while still investing in education and health care.

“We know that for the last 10 years, that there’s been boom and bust.  In fact, going back for 40 years, it’s been the sorry tale of most governors to leave town with a ton of red ink.  I don’t want to do that,” said Brown.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

If California’s elected officials are a microcosm of the state’s population, they proved it after Wednesday’s same-sex marriage rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Democrats rejoiced – including many gay lawmakers who’ve led the push for marriage equality.  Many Republicans searched for an appropriate response, and some expressed frustration.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

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.

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.

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.

California Elected Officials To Get Pay Raise

Jun 19, 2013
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.

California Budget Could Loosen State's Public Records Act

Jun 18, 2013
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.

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.

Budget Agreement Diverts Money From Cap and Trade

Jun 14, 2013
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.

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.

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.

Parties Clash Over Budget Transparency

Jun 13, 2013
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.

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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