Posts Tagged: reform

News

Follow the money: Shining a light on political nonprofits

A blind-folded Ben Franklin on the $100 bill. (Photo: Ricardo Reitmeyer, Shutterstock)

Spawned by a midnight burglary, California’s campaign ethics law propelled a young politician to the governorship and tapped into voters’ desire to rid political campaigns of secret cash. That voter-approved law, the Political Reform Act of 1974, has been largely untouchable for more than 40 years. But now it may get a rewrite.

News

Weed: NAACP, rival forces eye ballot

A marijuana plant at an indoor farm. (Photo: Syd Cinema, via Shutterstock)

In late October, the California and Hawaii chapters of the NAACP gathered for a convention in Los Angeles to discuss issues facing the African-American community. Among the bevy of politicians and suits, one attend stood out: Calvin Broadus Jr., better known as rapper Snoop Dogg, famous for singing “Smoke weed every day.”

News

CalPERS: Retirees begin to outnumber active workers

The CalPERS' governing board during a meeting several years ago at the pension fund's headquarters. (Photo: CalPERS board)

After a loss of $100 billion in the recent recession, the CalPERS funding level dropped from 100 percent in 2007 to 61 percent in 2009. It has not recovered, despite a major bull market in which the S&P 500 index of large stocks tripled. “Even with the dramatic returns we have seen over the past six years, because the demographics of plans in general have changed and plans are now by and large cash-flow negative, it’s been very challenging to dig out of that hole,” Andrew Junkin, a Wilshire consultant, told the CalPERS board last week.

Opinion

Tax debate must get beyond politics

The California state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Shutterstock)

OPINION: With more than a dozen major tax measures moving through the Legislature or toward the November 2016 ballot, California’s perennial debate about taxes is set to begin anew — with millions of dollars in political campaigns preparing to shape how the state will raise billions of dollars in revenue, and provide public services, for years to come.

News

Pension initiative draws unions’ fire

School workers at a labor rally in Bakersfield. (Photo: Richard Thornton, Shutterstock)

A union coalition contends that a proposed initiative is being falsely portrayed as only a potential cut in pensions for new employees, when in fact it could cut or eliminate pensions earned by current employees for work done in the future. One of the initiative authors, former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, disagrees with the union reading of the proposal. But it’s a key pension reform issue that could lead to another disputed initiative title and summary.

News

Changes loom for Covered California board

Three seats on the powerful board that governs California’s multibillion-dollar health insurance exchange are up for grabs, giving the Brown administration – whose allies already comprise a majority on the five-member board — an opportunity to name two new directors. Two seats held by appointees of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expired last week. A third became vacant following the resignation last month of Robert Ross, the president of the nonprofit California Endowment.

News

Legislative legacy: Big bucks for retirees’ health care

Cannery Row workers of the 1950s depicted in an artistic cutout. (Photo: Mr. Interior/Shutterstock)

The debt or “unfunded liability” state Controller John Chiang reported last week for state worker retiree health care, $72 billion, is larger than the unfunded liability for state worker pensions reported by CalPERS in April, $50 billion. It’s a legislative legacy, a debt for state worker services received by one generation that lawmakers decided to let the next generations inherit.

Opinion

Lobbying: A veteran advocate details his profession

Lobbyist Bev Hansen, left, and her fellow advocates in an Assembly corridor just days before the end of the 2014 session. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

While most people have heard of lobbyists and have a general idea of what the lobbying profession is about, few understand the breadth and complexity of this work and the important role that lobbyists play in developing state policy. When I first began lobbying, long-time relationships ruled the process, there was far more bipartisan collaboration, and individual legislators wielded enormous clout.

News

A tough week at CalPERS

The CalPERS' governing board during a meeting several years ago at the pension fund's headquarters. (Photo: CalPERS board)

Calpensions: Last week was not a good one for CalPERS. Wednesday, Gov. Brown said CalPERS adopted regulations that undermine the anti-spiking provisions for new hires in his pension reform. Thursday, the state Fair Practices Political Commission rejected a proposed $1,000 fine for CalPERS board member Priya Mathur, suggesting a $4,000 fine for a serial offender who has repeatedly failed to file campaign funding reports.

News

Talks loom on statewide pension reform

Calpensions: Backers of a Ventura County pension reform initiative, which was removed from the November ballot recently by a judge last week, are not appealing the ruling. But they may meet with other reformers after the elections this fall to discuss a statewide pension reform initiative.

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