News

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.

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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: berkeleyside.org)

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.

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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.

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Lawmakers okay $2.7 billion for zero-emission vehicles

An electric vehicle getting power at a street charging station. (Photo: guteksk7, via Shuttertstock)

California lawmakers have approved a dramatic expansion of the state’s commitments to all-electric vehicles, with the goal of ultimately increasing the number of electric and zero-emission cars on the road. The $2.7 billion piece of the 2021-22 state budget was sent to the Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk on June 28. Newsom has not yet acted on it.

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Rural areas, counties ask for help as California fire season heats up

The remains of a home and nearby house in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County, following a 2017 fire.(Photo: RebeccaJaneCall, via Shutterstock)

Representatives of California’s counties are urging improved measures to cut wildfire risks in the state’s less populated areas, but questioned plans to impose widespread building restrictions.

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Public banking movement gaining traction in California

Historical building of Wells Fargo in San Francisco's financial district. Photo: Takako Hatayama-Phillips, via Shutterstock)

San Francisco has taken its first major step toward establishing a public bank, and other California municipalities are also moving forward in exploring public banking, including a regional effort by cities and counties on the Central Coast. The California statute reportedly is adding fuel to a nationwide public banking effort.

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Reimbursements: A little-known provision of recall law

A Huntington Beach demonstrator protesting a May 2020 stay-at-home order issued by the governor during the pandemic. (Photo: mikeledray via Shutterstock)

California taxpayers could be on the hook for millions of dollars if the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom fails. That’s because of a little-recognized provision of the state constitution that declares: “A state officer who is not recalled must be reimbursed by the State for the officer’s recall election expenses legally and personally incurred. Another recall may not be initiated against the officer until six months after the election.” (Article II, Sec. 18.)

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Accord reached to extend eviction moratorium to Sept. 30

Gov. Gavin Newsom discussing eviction moratorium proposals at a June 15 briefing in Universal City, <(Photo: Associated Press)

Gov, Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders agreed Friday to extend California’s eviction moratorium to Sept. 30 and fully cover the cost of low-income renters’ missed payments. The agreement comes after weeks of uncertainty about the future of the moratorium, which would have ended on June 30 without an extension.

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In world of stem cell research, ‘UC Caucus’ reigns supreme

Mesenchymal stem cells are injected into the knee of a patient. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons photo, via VT Digger)

They could be called the “UC Caucus,” although that may presume too much. Nonetheless, they come from an institution that has pulled down $1.2 billion from the California state stem cell agency, more than any other enterprise during the last 16 years. 

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Capitol Weekly Podcast: Annie Notthoff

Longtime environmental advocate Annie Notthoff retired from the Natural Resources Defense Council last year but still has plenty to say about California environmental issues. Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster asked her about CEQA exemptions for housing, what to make of the budget and the drought. Plus: Who had the Worst Week in California Politics?

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