Bankruptcy court: CalPERS pensions can be cut

CalPERS' governing board during a meeting. (Photo: CalPERS board)

Calpensions: A federal judge ruled that CalPERS pensions can be cut in bankruptcy like other debt. He rejected the argument that the giant system is an “arm of the state” with pensions protected by federal law and two state laws on contracts and liens.

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News

State government’s anti-secrecy law under scrutiny

Clean-energy advocates demonstrate on the steps of the state Public Utilities Commission, which is covered by the anti-secrecy law known as the Bagley-Keene Act.

A California law intended to block secret decisions in the state bureaucracy actually prevents officials from talking to each other on crucial matters, according to their testimony before a state investigative panel. The issue, which intensified in the wake of recent activities at the California Public Utilities Commission, arises from changes in the 1967 Bagley-Keene Act, which is intended to assure the public’s access to the actions of state boards and commissions.

News

Referendum sought on plastic bag ban

Plastic bags and other debris at a landfill await the bulldozer. (Photo: Huguette Roe)

The ink was barely dry on Gov. Brown’s signature to ban single-use plastic bags when foes of his decision filed paperwork with the state attorney general’s office for a referendum in 2016 to overturn the new law. The request for an official title and summary from the attorney general was submitted Tuesday.

News

Brown vetoes hospital merger bill

As a deadline loomed, Gov. Brown struck down legislation to grant state Attorney General Kamala Harris more authority over nonprofit hospital mergers. The attorney general — a position he once held — already has sufficient authority, he said Monday in his veto message.

News

DWR: Progress on delta tunnels

Islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, an aerial view. (Photo: Worldislandinfo.com

California’s top water official told a key gathering of south state water interests that “hard-earned progress” is being made on the Brown administration’s controversial plan to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The comments by Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, were aimed in part at dispelling rumors that the project had run aground, perhaps permanently.

Opinions

In eye surgery, the doctor’s experience, training are key

OPINION: Simply put, learning to do surgery requires actually doing procedures on live human patients in sufficient numbers to develop competence. Indeed, sufficient numbers are vital to develop the judgment to choose the right procedure and – particularly important — manage complications (including rare ones) that may arise.

News

A rise in voters who shun party affiliation

Voters in Ventura County cast ballots. (Photo: Spirit of America, Shutterstock)

California voters increasingly are giving a thumbs down to both major parties when they register to vote, with those who decline to state a party affiliation that now approaches nearly a fourth of the electorate. Some 23.1 percent of California’s 17.63 million registered voters declined to state a party preference, up nearly 3 percentage points from 2010, according to figures released by the secretary of state’s office.

News

Weed backers target 2016 ballot

The Marijuana Policy Project, a national group that seeks to legalize recreational marijuana use, says it intends to put the issue before California voters on the 2016 general election ballot. The group’s decision to file a committee with California Secretary of State Debra Bowen on Wednesday means it may start raising funds to help finance signature gathering and qualify the measure in California.

Opinions

Hospitals: Pending merger bill would hurt public’s access

OPINION: At a time when Californians need more access to hospital services, SB 1094 should be equipped with flashing lights and sirens. The bill politicizes transactions involving the sale or transfer of non-profit hospitals, and deserves to be vetoed by the Governor.

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