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.

News

State A.G. slams federal crackdown on immigrants

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra delivering remarks on sanctuary cities in August at San Francisco City Hall. (Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “Tough on Crime” program of maximum prison sentences and crackdowns on undocumented immigrants is “absolutely wrong” and threatens to drive the country into poverty, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday. “He’s taking us back to the days when the bogeyman drives public policy,” Becerra, the state’s top law enforcement officer, told an audience at a Venice forum sponsored by Atlantic magazine. 

News

Mental health care a high priority

A depressed man alone at sunset, saddened by life. (Photo: songpholt, via Shutterstock)

Behavioral health is a touchy subject for many. For some, there is a stigma attached to receiving mental health care. Sometimes, help is hard to find. Understanding the roots of a behavioral problem can be difficult, and there are additional barriers of cost, insurance coverage and the amount of time that must be invested to visit a mental health specialist.

News

In NorCal fires, weed goes up in smoke

In this Oct. 17 photo, Marcos Morales, co-founder of the cannabis company Legion of Bloom, stands on the ruins of a state-of-the-art drying shed in Glen Ellen, Calif., where 1,600 pounds of ready-to-ship cannabis were destroyed in a fire. (Associated Press/Paul Elias)

It’s being called the Wine Country Fire, but the fatal October fires that blackened nearly 200,000 acres across Northern California might also be called the Cannabis Country Fire. While most of the coverage has focused on damage to the losses of homes, business structures and the wine industry, marijuana growers were also hit hard.

Opinion

Industry assist for cap-and-trade is beneficial

An aerial view of the Port of Long Beach, a critical part of California's industrial infrastructure.(Photo: trekandshoot, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: In recent weeks, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has kicked off the process to finalize details of the state’s cap-and-trade program with public workshops held around the state. The usual suspects, from environmental advocates to industry representatives have packed hearing rooms waiting for their chance to chime in on proposed regulations.

News

Lobbyist’s Notebook: Reforming legislative procedures

The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Adonis Villanueva)

Capitol observers often complain about certain procedural aspects of California lawmaking. So I took an informal poll: I asked some of my lobbying colleagues, as well as staff in the Legislature from both houses and both political parties, for suggestions on how to make things more efficient.

News

Where are they now? Mike Machado

Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, chair of the Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee, at a 2007 Capitol hearing. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

It’s been almost 70 years since Michael J. Machado was born in San Joaquin County, but he still calls Linden home. Having seen the decades pass has given him a perspective on small town farming in the Central Valley. “Linden hasn’t changed much since I was born,” Machado reflected recently, “It’s tripled in size since I was a boy, now with a bursting population of 2,500.”

News

Housing costs push Californians around

Tightly packed housing in the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles. (Photo: trekandshoot, via Shutterstock)>

More than four in 10 California adults are seriously considering moving away from their part of the state because of the cost of housing, with the highest proportion in the coastal counties and the lowest in the state’s interior. A slight majority of those recently surveyed by the Public Policy Institute of California — 55 percent — are staying put.

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