Sacramento

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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Government & Politics
3:18 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Legislative Democrats Want to Restore Budget Cuts, But Priorities Differ

Calif. State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) speaks at a rally to restore funding for after school programs at the Capitol Tuesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

As California budget talks head into their final weeks, supporters of programs suffering from years of cuts are asking for help.  Governor Jerry Brown opposes any new spending.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, Assembly and Senate Democrats have different programs in which they'd like to invest.

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Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

California Fire Camps Key To Reducing Prison Overcrowding

Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

Reducing overcrowding at California prisons is not easy. Generally, inmates must either be released or given more space, which is expensive. But there is a third option. Inmates can be sent to fire camps.  That's a cornerstone of Governor Jerry Brown's plan to reduce prison overcrowding in response to a federal court order.  State Government Reporter Katie Orr takes a closer look at what these camps entail.  

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Environment
4:35 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Environmentalists Lobby To Change Brown's Proposal For Cap and Trade Funds

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

Environmental groups have begun a lobbying campaign to stop California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal to divert money from the cap-and-trade program.

Environmentalists say money from the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to programs that help further reduce emissions. Brown wants to borrow $500 million for the general fund.

Vien Truong with the Greenlining Institute says environmental advocates are angry. She says that money could be used for clean air programs in low-income communities.

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Government & Politics
12:05 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Brown Going After Enterprise Zones in Budget Proposal

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is proposing drastic changes to California’s Enterprise Zone program in his latest budget. The zones are located in blighted areas and businesses operating within them can claim tax credits from the state.

Craig Johnson is President of the California Association of Enterprise Zones. He says Brown’s changes would essentially eliminate the state’s 40 Enterprise Zones. He says the state already has high taxes and high regulations and eliminating tax credits won’t help.

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Government & Politics
12:21 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Democrats Pushing to Limit Prop 13

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

Some Democrats at the Capitol are attempting to chip away at California’s fabled Prop 13. But supporters of the property tax limiting measure are digging in to fight back. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 13 limits property taxes in California. But it also requires a two-thirds vote of the public to increase any special taxes. Six Democratic sponsored bills making their way through the Senate would lower that voter requirement to 55 percent approval.

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Government & Politics
4:10 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Lawmakers React to Brown's Budget Revision

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

Republicans at the State Capitol are pleased Governor Jerry Brown is taking a more moderate approach to spending California’s budget surplus. But they still have some criticisms. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

No formal rainy day fund, no acknowledgement of possible union pay raises, high taxes that hurt business. State Republicans listed those as among their top concerns with the Governor’s May budget revision.

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Health Care
4:01 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Brown's New Budget Calls for State-Based Medi-Cal Expansion

California Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal shows clear intent for a state-based Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act. January’s budget suggested a possible county-led expansion.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 California Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal shows clear intent for a state-based Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act. January’s budget suggested a possible county-led expansion.  

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley says the budget also proposes a way the state will seek to capture money counties currently use to treat the uninsured.   

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Health
10:04 am
Mon May 13, 2013

California Soda Tax Proposal Sparks Debate

Credit Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers are considering a measure that would tax sugary drinks a penny per fluid ounce. The proposal is intended to cap soda consumption in order to reduce obesity rates. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento has found a range of opinions on the soda tax.

It’s a hot afternoon in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood. Teenagers are out of school for the day. Some have beverages in their hands. Kirk Allen is sixteen years old:

"What are you drinkin’?" "Tiki punch, Shasta."

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Government & Politics
5:46 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

California Supreme Court Says Cities Can Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Medical marijuana advocates rally on a lawn near the Capitol after the California Supreme Court ruled cities and counties can ban dispensaries within their borders.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California’s highest court has come down on the side of cities and counties in the fight over the location, or even the existence, of medical marijuana dispensaries. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. 

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Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Pay Day Lending Battle Continues In California

Credit Valley Public Radio

A bill being heard in the California Senate Banking Committee Wednesday would limit the number of payday loans consumers could take out and give them longer to pay the loans back. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

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Business & Economy
11:34 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Bill Would Phase Out Plastic Bags in California

Democratic Senator Alex Padilla has introduced legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags at all grocery, convenience, liquor stores, and at pharmacies.
Credit Office of Alex Padilla

Plastic bags may not be an option much longer at California grocery stores. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the bags. Despite previous attempts, supporters believe this time the bill will pass. Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento.

California retailers hand out more than 14 billion single use plastic bags every year. The state’s own figures show only 5 percent are recycled. Mark Murray is with Californians Against Waste.

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Animal Rights
9:12 am
Tue April 16, 2013

California Animal Welfare Bill Creates Controversy, Critics Call It 'Ag-Gag'

A screenshot from an undercover video shot by the group Compassion Over Killing at a Hanford slaughterhouse in 2012. Warning: this video contains very graphic footage.
Credit Compassion Over Killing / http://www.cok.net/inv/central-valley-meat/

A number of states have recently passed laws that seek to restrict journalists and animal rights activists from filming inhumane practices inside slaughterhouses. These so-called “Ag-gag” laws have drawn harsh criticism from animal welfare groups. Now, a new bill from a Fresno lawmaker that aims to mandate the swift reporting of animal abuse has some crying foul. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero reports.

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Government & Politics
2:33 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

What's Next for Governor Brown After Prison Court Ruling?

file photo
Credit Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

California faces sanctions, fines and possible jail time for Governor Jerry Brown if the state continues to defy a federal court order to reduce its prison population.   That harsh ruling from a three-judge panel came last week in response to the governor’s motion to vacate a prison population cap those judges imposed seven years ago – when they found that overcrowding was the main reason inmates suffered and died from a lack of healthcare.  Now, they say overcrowding is still a problem.  KPCC’s Julie Small looks at what options are left for Governor Brown and the state.

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