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.Continue Reading
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
OPINION: In this political climate, you don’t have to look far to find pessimism and finger pointing when it comes to our problems. But look a little deeper and there are some important – and inspiring – examples of problem solving in California that rise above politics and division.
John Howard and Tim Foster take a short tour of the California state Capitol with “unofficial” legislative historian Alex Vassar. Alex shares some tales from his new book, “California Lawmaker,” about a few of the 4,424 people who have served in Legislature since the state’s inception. Alex serves up stabbings, shootings and fistfights on the floor — and that’s all from just one incident!
High housing costs, electricity and gas prices are the main reasons California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, according to state Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes. The Yucca Valley legislator has made alleviating poverty his top priority. “I think increasing the quality of life for people we serve is the overall goal,” he said. “If you have poverty as a measuring stick, California is failing worse than every other state in the country.”