Capitol Weekly Podcast: Polls predict tight race for Newsom

Photo by Kelly M. Grow / California Department of Water Resources. March 2019

The latest Berkeley IGS Poll finds that among likely voters, 47% favor recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom and only 50% favor his retention. Those numbers are a stark warning for a governor serving amid the most turbulent era in memory, where extreme circumstances within – and beyond – his control could impact the attitude of the electorate at any moment.


Labor to Lara: Cutting group insurance discounts is wrong

Construction workers in Bakersfield on the job at a shopping center project. (Photo: Richard Thornton, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: We will always fight to protect the interests of these workers. That’s why we are urging Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to reject proposed new regulations that could eliminate group insurance discounts that we provide our members.


Insurer’s new policy limits access to cataract surgery

An ophthalmologist performs eye surgery on a patient. (Photo: PRESSLAB, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” proclaims an elderly woman in a 1980’s commercial for LifeCall, a home system that summoned emergency care, but became the subject of derision and perhaps a bit of schadenfreude over time, spawning parodies. Of course,  it might seem funny until it’s you or a loved one, perhaps the victim of a fall due to poor eyesight.


PPIC: Drought, wildfires are now Californians’ top concerns

Low water during at Lake Shasta reservoir during an earlier drought. (Photo: David Greitzer, via Shutterstock)

When asked to name the most important environmental issue facing the state today, Californians are most likely to mention water supply and drought—a shift from a year ago. About six in ten Californians approve of Gov. Newsom’s handling of environmental issues, and a similar share approve of President Biden on the environment. Overwhelming majorities of Californians—including majorities across partisan groups—believe that developing alternative energy sources should be prioritized over expanded use of oil, coal, and natural gas in the nation’s energy supply.


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.


Amid climate change, alternative energy issues 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.


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.


CA’s 2022 mid-term elections may bring surprises to Democrats

Ballot boxes in Foster City for the November 2020 general election. (Photo: MariaX, via Shutterstock)

The state’s House delegation – now at 53, but likely to drop by one seat after the new redistricting – stood at 46 Democrats and only seven Republicans after the 2018 elections. But last year, Republicans captured four seats from Democrats — which caught political observers by surprise. 

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