As climate changes, alternative energy systems get close look

Vertical-axis wind turbines in California. (Photo: Joseph Sohm, via Shutterstock)

Officials with jurisdiction over about 80 percent of California’s power grid say the state faces a grim outlook as summer heat, wildfires and a severe drought intensify. Hoping to reduce strain on the power grid, experts are looking at alternative energy generation, distribution and storage. Some of these systems, inspired in part by the meltdown of California’s electricity market two decades ago, already are in place across the state.

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Newsom recall getting closer among likely voters

An illustration of a California voter casting a ballot. (Photo: Niyazz, via Shutterstock)

Berkeley IGS Poll: The election will be decided not by the overall electorate, but by only those who choose to take part in the recall. And, when the voting preferences of those considered most likely to participate are examined, the outcome becomes much closer, with 47% favoring Newsom’s recall and 50% favoring his retention.


Insurers need transparency, standardization in step therapy

An illustration of an array of prescription medications. (Photo: Adul10, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Due to cost-cutting policies, health insurers often become a barrier to access for medicines that providers prescribe to patients. One such practice is referred to as step therapy. Step therapy forces patients to try several medications before approving the medication originally prescribed by the doctor.


Capitol Weekly Podcast: Lanterman, Laura’s Law, and Britney Spears

Today we welcome Randall Hagar, the Policy Consultant and Legislative Advocate for the Psychiatric Physicians Alliance of California. Hagar has been advocating for sound mental health policies for over 20 years and helped draft the language for the original Laura’s Law, a landmark state law that allows for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment. Hagar joined John Howard and Tim Foster to talk about the growing numbers of mentally ill Californians that are either homeless or behind bars, and efforts to reform the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, the 1967 legislation that put strict limits on involuntary commitment. He also outlines the big difference between a Probate Conservatorship (i.e. what pop star Britney Spears has) and the mental illness conservatorships that exist under Lanterman-Petris-Short.


Prisons close as California inmate population dwindles

An aerial view of the California Correctional Center in Susanville, destined for closure. (Photo: CDCR)

California authorities have ordered the closure of state prisons for the first time in nearly two decades: Four are destined to be shut down in whole or in part, and three more are being discussed for possible closure.


Communities of color regularly hurt by fossil-fuel energy plants

An industrial power plant festooned with smokestacks. (Photo: J.D.S., via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Every summer California fires up dirty fossil-fuel “peaker” power plants across the state to try to keep the lights on. Want to guess where these plants are usually located? That’s right, overwhelmingly in underserved neighborhoods and communities of color.


State gives $51 million to college students for stem cell research

Berkeley City College, which received a portion of $51 million in state stem cell research grants. (Photo:

The California stem cell agency has awarded $51 million to help train students in the art of research at the Golden State’s community colleges and universities. All 15 applicants for awards that ran as high as $3.6 million each were approved, including Berkeley City College, which was initially rejected by anonymous reviewers who met privately prior to the ratification of their decisions by the agency’s directors.


Under-the-radar legal battle boosts lawyers, erodes agents

A young man with dreams of baseball, a sport in which professional players often have agents.(Photo: leolintang, via Shutterstock)

Attorneys could potentially play an even larger role in business negotiations because of a recent series of legal skirmishes rooted in Hollywood deal making. In a one-sentence edict, the California Supreme Court on June 30 refused to review an appellate court ruling that a non-lawyer agent dealing with proposed contracts and redlining agreements was practicing law without a license.


Access to nature’s beauty is a right all should enjoy

A curved pedestrian footpath and open space adjacent to housing units. (Photo: Tarnet VIC 3029, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: But not everyone in California has a neighborhood with safe places to walk or a park around the corner. There are deep inequities in access to nature in our country – a fact that has become even more glaringly obvious during the pandemic.

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