Republican seats in the crosshairs

Republicans gather at a 2016 rally in Costa Mesa for GOP presidential contender Donald Trump. (Photo: Mike Ledray, via Shutterstock)

Encouraged by their Nov. 7 election victories in other states, Democrats now have even higher hopes of flipping the House in 2018, and a big factor governing whether they will succeed rests on outcomes in eight Republican-held California districts. The eight incumbent Republicans in Southern California and the Central Valley that Democrats hope to defeat a year from now make up one-third of the 24 seats needed to give Democrats control of the House.

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News

California flooding, sea-level rise linked

A condominium complex being undermined by rising ocean levels at a Monterey beach. (Photo: Steve Smith)

As officials in Washington try to repair the nation’s flood insurance program, scientists in California are grappling with a looming threat that will complicate flooding hazards in the state: sea-level rise. Creeping ocean waters are already flooding coastal areas more frequently and eroding sea cliffs more rapidly. They’re also worsening damage from extreme weather events like high tides and torrential rains.

News

The fight over health coverage for children, pregnant women

A child has her ear inspected by a doctor using an otoscope. (Photo: Andrew_Popov)

Health insurance coverage for 1.3 million California children and pregnant women is at risk because of Congress’ delay in extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program. While the House recently approved a bill to extend the program for five years, the bill still needs approval by the Senate and a fight is expected about how to pay for the extension.

News

California throttles down small-engine pollution

A landscaping worker trims a bush with a gas-powered machine while a technician monitors the air quality for FairWarning. (Photo: Stuart Silverstein)

New California rules aimed at curbing the surprising amount of pollution coming from leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other small gas-powered machines cleared a final hurdle Monday, and are set to take effect on Jan. 1. The requirements mark another step in the state’s long-running battle to reduce emissions from a category of small engines that have come to rival cars as a source of smog-forming pollution.

News

CA120: Will the wave hit California’s shores?

Former President Barack Obama, right, waves to the crowd along with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov., Ralph Northam, during an October rally in Richmond, Va. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP)

With the recent Democratic wins in traditional bellwether gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, a massive pickup-in the Virginia Legislature, wins in several mayoral races and other assorted gains, the pundits appear locked into the narrative that we are headed for a wave election. This would follow the pattern we have seen previously, in which the mid-term elections serve as rebalancing against the party in power. But what does all this mean for California?

News

Capitol Weekly podcast: Paul Mitchell

iIllustration: "The Great Wave of Kanagawa," Katsushika Hokusai, circa 1829-1833

Will California catch the wave? In fact, is there a wave at all? Political Data whiz Paul Mitchell joins the Capitol Weekly podcast to talk about last week’s results in Virginia and elsewhere and what they portend for California in 2018.

News

Cremation — an environmentally friendly approach

A wilted rose bouquet at the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego. (Photo: Sherry V. Smith)

The environment plays a big part in Capitol legislation, but here’s a topic rarely linked to the environment – cremation. Traditional fire-based cremation entails emissions and pollutants. But a little-known bill signed by Gov. Brown allows the use of a water-based method called alkaline hydrolysis, which has been used elsewhere since the 19th century.

News

Stem cell agency plots against its own death

A pipette and recepticles used in stem cell research. (Photo: CI Photos)

California’s $3 billion stem cell research program later this month is expected to unveil detailed plans for extending its life beyond the middle of 2020 in hopes of avoiding a lingering death. The latest proposals, which are not yet public, are scheduled to be discussed Nov. 27.

Opinion

California’s crucial first step in drug-pricing transparency

The drug and vitamin section of a big-box store in Folsom, California. (Photo: Cassiohabib, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: In signing first-in-the-nation legislation to force greater transparency in drug pricing practices, Gov. Brown has signaled the beginning of a new era on controlling health care costs. But more can and should be done to rein in out-of-control drug prices. Drug costs have been increasing by about 10% per year and there are notorious examples of products that have increased by 500%.  Even when insurance pays for medications, the costs always go back to the consumer.

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