State senator ordered off floor

State Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove. (Photo: Screen capture, California Channel)

In a remarkable confrontation, a Republican state senator of Vietnamese descent was hustled off the Senate floor Thursday, after majority Democrats said she was out of order for trying to make disparaging comments about the late political activist Tom Hayden.

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News

Bar exam failure rates draw scrutiny

A student crams for an exam. (Photo: Antonio Diaz)

California’s law-school students are failing the daunting State Bar exam in surprising numbers — and experts are trying to figure out why. “It’s difficult to understand why the pass rate in California is so low,” said Barry Currier, the managing director of the American Bar Association’s legal education and admissions unit.

News

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Chris Austin

Chris Austin, publisher of Maven's Notebook. (Photo: Scott Duncan, Capitol Weekly

As floods ravage San Jose and the spillway of the Oroville Dam continues to erode, we’re joined by California’s essential water policy blogger, Chris Austin of Maven’s Notebook. We chatted about water storage, conveyance, subsidence, aquifers, the Yolo Causeway and, of course, the Twin Tunnels project. And we find out why one of the state’s most closely read water blogs has such an odd name.

Opinion

Wanted: An early warning system for local governments

Pedestrians crossing Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. (Photo: Sean Pavone, Shutterstock)

OPINION: Back in 2012, then Treasurer Bill Lockyer called for an early warning system that would give state officials time to proactively address local government fiscal emergencies before they wound up in bankruptcy court. We are now five years closer to the next recession and its attendant set of local government financial crises, but the state has made little progress toward implementing Lockyer’s proposed system.

News

CA120: The lowdown on California’s election

An illustration of California's flag. (Lukasz Stefanski, Shutterstock)

Immediately after the 2016 there were a number of people and organizations that made quick analyses of the electorate, and what happened. Here in California, we appeared to be bucking a national trend: While the Republican ticket over performed in key swing states on the East Coast and upper mid-west, California saw Democrats regain legislative super-majorities in both houses, hold swing congressional seats and make Republicans appear more vulnerable than they have in many years.

Opinion

Urgent: Protect mental health services

A depressed man sits alone on a park bench. (Photo: Mikael Damkier)

OPINION: Nearly two decades ago, California raised the bar for our state’s wellness by requiring insurers to equally cover services for both physical and mental health conditions. Now a national standard, California’s groundbreaking Mental Health Parity law was among the first to recognize how grave inequities in the form of higher co-pays or fewer allowable visits diminish wellness and productivity.

Analysis

In the Capitol, myth vs. reality

The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Feoktistoff, via Shutterstock)

Over the years, there have been myriad misconceptions about different aspects of state law making. So let’s hold our breath, take a deep dive into the Capitol and separate the myths from the reality. Later, we’ll look at committees, the governor, special sessions, floor actions and the like.

Opinion

Fighting Trump’s ‘dirty air’

A black-and-white view of smoggy Century City, Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles. (Photo: trekandshoot)

President Trump, his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Republican leaders in Congress have all declared plans to allow the oil and coal industries to extract, transport and burn dirty fuels with little restraint, to quash the free expression of science within the federal government, and to neuter the agencies that are supposed to safeguard our air and atmosphere.

News

CA120: A close look at California’s foreign-born voters

Latinos taking the Pledge of Allegiance in Los Angeles. (Photo: Joseph Sohm)

To set the record straight, we are talking about full U.S. citizens, not some fictional “illegal” voters. There are 3.8 million foreign born voters on the California voter file, including 1.4 million born in Latin America. Each of these has had their eligibility verified by their county registrars, and by either the Social Security Administration, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, or with a valid state identification (generally a driver’s license) presented at their polling place the first time they vote.

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