California

Seems Worth the Risk | 04-05-2018

One of the first things I learned as a young scribe was that cops and reporters never say no to coffee. Given that my brother was a cop for 30 years and I’ve been kicking around this gig for almost as long, I know this to be as true today as it...

Governors in Brief - April 9 2018 | 04-05-2018

WALKER SIGNS OFF ON CLOSURE OF WI YOUTH PRISON : After years of accusations of ongoing abuse and neglect of its inhabitants, the lone WISCONSIN prison complex for teen offenders is now set to shut its doors for good. Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed bipartisan...

Trump Threatens CA Enviro Rules | 04-05-2018

The ongoing war between California and President Trump heated up significantly last week, as the administration moved to challenge two of the Golden State’s cornerstone environmental laws. The first came on Monday when Environmental Protection...

Politics in Brief - April 9 2018 | 04-05-2018

FBI NABS AL LAWMAKER IN CORRUPTION STING : FBI agents arrested longtime ALABAMA Rep. Jack Williams, former state GOP Chairman Marty Connors and Trina Healthcare CEO Ford Gilbert last Monday on corruption charges. Gilbert is accused of devising a scheme...

Social Policy - April 9 2018 | 04-05-2018

HI Senate Approves HB 2739 The HAWAII Senate gives final approval to HB 2739 , a bill that would allow Aloha State doctors to help terminally ill patients to end their own lives. It is now with Gov. David Ige (D), who has said he will sign it into...

States Looking for Cure to High Drug Prices | 03-30-2018

During his State of the Union speech in February, President Donald Trump declared his intention to address what he called “the injustice of high drug prices.” He repeated the promise last month in New Hampshire during a press conference on...

A True Loss | 03-30-2018

The point of this column is to poke fun at the odd, pretentious or absurd things that happen in politics. But this week we will be straight for just a moment to honor the untimely passing of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s esteemed chief of staff...

Bros and Bears | 03-30-2018

As a native of South Lake Tahoe, California I know firsthand that it is one of the loveliest places in the world. But as the Sacramento Bee reports , the community is feeling under siege these days from an influx of two entirely different kinds of visitors...

Budgets in Brief - April 2 2018 | 03-30-2018

AZ BANS LOCAL SODA TAXES: ARIZONA Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed HB 2484 , prohibiting local governments in the state from imposing extra taxes on sodas or other sugary beverages, as some left-leaning cities in other states, including San Francisco and...

The Local Front - April 2 2018 | 03-30-2018

CA City Council Adopts Ordinance The city of LOS ALAMOS, CALIFORNIA adopts an ordinance exempting itself from the Golden State’s so-called “sanctuary state” law that restricts local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal...

The Rewards and Perils of Redistricting | 03-16-2018

In democracies, voters are supposed to choose their legislative representatives. Increasingly, however, U.S. courts have found that representatives choose their voters through partisan gerrymandering of legislative and congressional districts. With...

Half of States Use Commissions for Redistricting | 03-16-2018

Commissions, rather than legislatures, have primary responsibility for drawing state legislative and/or congressional districts in 13 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In another 12 states, commissions either assist legislators...

Governors in Brief - March 19 2018 | 03-16-2018

BAKER OUTLINES $300 MILLION CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN : On the heels of several massive winter storms, MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) outlined a plan to borrow $300 million to put toward efforts to combat climate change in communities all along the...

CA Dems Could Spoil Party’s Congressional Plans | 03-16-2018

Deep-blue California’s primary system and a glut of Democratic candidates for the state’s June 5 primary election could end up hurting that party’s chances of retaking control of the U.S. House. The state has a top-two primary, in which...

Environment - March 19 2018 | 03-16-2018

Environment In CA A federal court rules that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must move ahead to carry out the 2015 Ozone Standards and designate areas in the country that do not meet them. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District...

Sessions Hits CA, CA Lawmakers Hit Back | 03-08-2018

Saying California is using “powers it doesn’t have,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions filed suit last week over a trio of Golden State laws he says inhibit federal immigration authorities from doing their jobs. “In recent...

Politics in Brief - March 12 2018 | 03-08-2018

MARYLAND SENATE PASSES TAX RETURN MEASURE : The MARYLAND Senate approved a measure last week that would require presidential candidates to release their tax returns as a prerequisite for getting on the Old Line State ballot. That bill, SB 256 , is...

States Seek To Chart Their Own Course on Net Neutrality | 03-02-2018

Whether you are reading this in Olympia or Atlanta, Boston or Sacramento, the rules for how this story – or the collection of bytes of data that comprise it - travels from the Capitol Journal to your laptop, tablet or phone, are the same. ...

Over Half of States Seeking to Maintain ‘Net Neutrality’ | 03-02-2018

At least 29 states have introduced legislation this year aimed at reinstating the requirement that internet service providers treat all content the same in terms of price and accessibility, which was eliminated last year with the Federal Communications...

Govs Form Multistate Gun Task Force | 03-02-2018

Decrying a lack of federal action, several Northeastern governors have formed a multi-state partnership to address gun violence. The “States for Gun Safety” coalition is the brainchild of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who was joined by...

Governors in Brief - March 5 2018 | 03-02-2018

BROWN SIGNS CA DAM INSPECTION MEASURE : One year after the near failure of the Oroville Dam, CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation ( AB 1270 ) last month to codify and strengthen the Golden State’s dam inspection standards. A significant...

The Local Front - March 5 2018 | 03-02-2018

GA Senate Rejects SB 418 The GEORGIA Senate rejects SB 418 , which would have barred local governments from enacting prohibitions on the sale of commercially-bred puppies (WXIA [ATLANTA]). Going On In HI The HONOLULU City Council unanimously...

Helping the Dreamers: The Clock is Ticking | 02-16-2018

States have a vital stake in federal action to rescue the beleaguered program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Instituted by President Barack Obama in 2012 by executive order, DACA has protected from deportation nearly 800,000 young...

The Third or Fourth Most Interesting Man in the World | 02-16-2018

If you’re a well-respected but wonky administrator facing off with two huge personalities for the epic job of being California’s next governor, you gotta go big or go home. Or at least go for a laugh or two. Last week, California state Treasurer...

Politics in Brief - February 19 2018 | 02-16-2018

FL CONSIDERING RESTRICTING ACCESS TO VOTER INFORMATION: A bill introduced by FLORIDA Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R) would restrict voter information that has been publicly available for decades to election officials, voters inquiring about their own information...

Budgets in Brief - February 19 2018 | 02-16-2018

POT SALES SET ANOTHER RECORD IN CO: Marijuana sales reached a record $1.5 billion in COLORADO in 2017, topping the previous record of $1.3 billion set in 2016. About $1.09 billion came from sales of the drug for recreational use and the rest came from...

The Local Front - February 19 2018 | 02-16-2018

CA City Council Votes The BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA City Council unanimously votes to become the nation’s first sanctuary city for adult recreational marijuana use. The ordinance bars city agencies and employees from turning over information on legal...

Paved with Good Intentions | 02-09-2018

An old adage says the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The same can sometimes be said of the road to legislation. Today’s example comes from California, where Assemblymember Ian Calderon has sponsored a bill aimed at reducing the number...

At Least He’s Consistent | 02-09-2018

The late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead once said, “You don’t want to be the best of the best. You want to be the only one that does what you do.” California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom loves that quote – loves it! So much so that...

Goofy Even To Us | 02-09-2018

It is probably hard for most folks to imagine an idea too ridiculous for California, but gubernatorial candidate John Cox has found it. Yes, as the Sacramento Bee reports , Cox failed in his mission to get a measure on the November ballot that would have...

The Local Front - February 12 2018 | 02-09-2018

CA Court Rules A CALIFORNIA court rules that a BAKERSFIELD baker was within her rights to refuse to make a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony. Superior Court Judge David R. Lampe called wedding cakes “artistic expression,” making it exempt...

Governors in Brief - February 12 2018 | 02-09-2018

OR GOV CALLS ON GOP LAWMAKER TO RESIGN : OREGON Gov. Kate Brown (D) called on Sen. Jeff Kruse (R) to resign last week after an independent investigator determined he had repeatedly subjected women to uncomfortable hugging and unwanted touching even...

‘Split Roll’ Property Tax Ballot Measure Proposed in CA: | 02-09-2018

A proposed initiative for California’s November ballot would make a big change to Proposition 13, the landmark Constitutional amendment approved by the state’s voters in 1978, limiting property taxes to 1 percent of a property’s market...

Job Vacancies Taking Toll at State Agencies | 02-09-2018

Job vacancies at government agencies are up from coast to coast. About 11 percent of the positions in Maryland’s executive branch are currently unfilled, about twice the rate in 2010. Between 15 and 17 percent of the clerk positions at courts that...

Business - February 5 2018 | 02-02-2018

CA Senate Approves SB 460 The CALIFORNIA Senate approves SB 460 , net neutrality legislation that would bar broadband providers from blocking or limiting access to the Internet. The measure moves to the Assembly (LOS ANGELES TIMES). CA Senate Rejects...

Education - February 5 2018 | 02-02-2018

CA Senate SB 320 The CALIFORNIA Senate approves SB 320 , which would make the Golden State the first to require public universities to offer medication abortion. The law would take effect in 2022, with startup finding provided by private donors. The...

Environment - February 5 2018 | 02-02-2018

CA Assembly Approves AB 1097 The CALIFORNIA Assembly approves AB 1097 , which would ban smoking at all of the state’s public parks and beaches. It moves to the Senate (LEXISNEXIS STATE NET). CA Assembly Approves AB 319 The CALIFORNIA ,...

The Local Front - February 5 2018 | 02-02-2018

CA City Council Approves The LOS ANGELES City Council approves a motion to ask Golden State lawmakers to change the way the state defines “grave disability” in order to give officials more power to forcibly treat mentally ill homeless people...

Debauchery No More | 02-02-2018

For a long, long time the annual “Back to Session Bash” for California lobbyists and political staffers has been a ribald affair with so much drunken debauchery that some attendees joke the event is good to end at least one promising career...

Spicoli Would Vote For This | 02-02-2018

And since we’re talking about bodacious 24 hour party people, the Los Angeles Times reports that California lawmakers will soon ponder legislation to make surfing the official state sport. In a statement, bill author Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi said...

Better Late Than Never | 02-02-2018

California Gov. Jerry Brown gave his 16 th and final – we think – State of the State address last month. Although he can still speechify with the best of them, the 79-year-old Brown is these days a far more humble version of himself than the...

Head for the Border | 01-19-2018

Horror movie fans know all about Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger, the fictional horror movie characters who are almost impossible to kill. While they are merely the spawn of Hollywood’s ability to make serious money by scaring us half to death...

Governors in Brief - January 22 2018 | 01-19-2018

NORTHAM ISSUES VA NON-DISCRIMNATION ORDER : New VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph Northam (D) issued a trio of executive orders, including one that bars state agencies under Executive Branch control from discrimination “based on race, sex, color, national...

Some States Act on Gun Control | 01-19-2018

Although there appears to be broad public support for some gun control measures , federal action on any of them seems unlikely in the current political climate. “The possibility of evidence-based firearm laws has become so politically toxic...

Environment - January 22 2018 | 01-19-2018

NJ GOvernor Vetoes SB3317 NEW JERSEY Gov. Chris Christie (R) pocket vetoes SB 3317 , which would have compelled the state to join the U.S. CA, WA, and NY Climate Alliance Climate Alliance, a coalition of states led by CALIFORNIA , WASHINGTON...

State Charitable Giving Programs Model for SALT Cap Workaround | 01-12-2018

In response to the $10,000 cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) included in the federal tax overhaul, lawmakers in high-tax states like California are considering allowing taxpayers to make charitable contributions to state funds...

Immigration - January 15 2018 | 01-12-2018

CA Federal Judge Blocks Trump A federal judge in CALIFORNIA issues a temporary injunction blocking President Donald Trump’s declaration to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Judge William Alsup of the Federal District...

Govs Cry Foul Over FL Drilling Exemption | 01-12-2018

Coastal states reacted with alarm last week when the Trump administration announced it was expanding oil drilling leases in waters previously protected under the Obama administration. But when U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that after a...

Land Grab Lesson for Border Wall Watchers | 12-15-2017

In the spring of 2007, long before presidential candidate Donald Trump began promising to build a wall along the border with Mexico, the federal government initiated one of the most aggressive seizures of private land in decades to build a fence to keep...

States With Most to Lose by Elimination of SALT Deduction | 12-15-2017

Taxpayers in nine high-income, high-tax states claimed more than 60 percent of the state and local tax (SALT) deductions on federal tax returns nationwide in 2014, according to the Tax Foundation. Seven of those states, which include California, where...