June 16, 2017




Who will be the next governor of California? It’s a mystery to these voters

Los Angeles Times

The fight to succeed Democrat Jerry Brown is likely to be the most wide-open and unpredictable California governor’s race since at least 1998…


Here’s how $183 billion in taxpayer dollars will be spent in California’s new budget

LA Times

California lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a $183.2-billion state budget, a plan that broadly boosts government spending while also continuing the recent effort to build up cash reserves.


It’s a deal. Lawmakers send Jerry Brown a jam-packed budget

Sacramento Bee

Meeting the state’s budget approval deadline with a $183.2 billion package that raises school funding, expands a tax credit for the working poor and gives the Capitol a greater say over University of California …


California’s Budget: Proud To Protect And Persist


Our budget’s dedication to expanding early childhood education will give children the right start. That’s a program that is dear to me, and is what brought me to Sacramento in the first place.


California’s tobacco tax spending plan, a major sticking point in the state budget, easily clears Legislature

Los Angeles Times

The squabble over how to spend around $1.3 billion in new tobacco tax revenues in California was one of the most prolonged standoffs of the budget season.


The Latest: California budget resists immigration detention

San Francisco Chronicle

A budget bill passed Thursday will prevent local governments from signing or expanding contracts with federal authorities for immigration detention facilities.


Nearly $50 million in the California state budget will go to expanded legal services for immigrants

Los Angeles Times

California state lawmakers approved $45 million in a state budget plan to expand legal services for immigrants, a response to the Trump administration’s call to increase deportations.


California looks to boost marijuana, block immigration jails

Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers voted Thursday to set rules for the state’s nascent marijuana industry and to quash the growth of federal immigration detention as part of a $125 billion state budget lawmakers approved for the next fiscal year.

Democrats pass new recall rules, Republicans cry foul 


Democratic lawmakers voted Thursday to change the rules governing recall elections in an effort to save one of their own members, despite protests by Republicans that the move amounts to “blatant electioneering.”

Assembly bills vs. Proposition 54 

Capitol Weekly

A boost in the bill-introduction limit for members of the Assembly could allow up to 800 new pieces of legislation by the end of 2018. But a question arises: Will the crush of new bills, which likely would push the Assembly’s total above 3,000 per session, make it harder to meet the provisions of Proposition 54, which requires the final version of each bill to be in print at least 72 hours before final action?


New Dem super PAC aims to win California House seats

The Hill

Former congresswoman Ellen Tauscher is launching a California-specific super PAC aimed at winning seven competitive California congressional districts in the midterm election next year, The Hill has learned exclusively.


California’s attorney general needs to focus on state’s priorities


Those on the letter included 350.org, Californians Against Fracking & Dangerous Drilling, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for International Environmental Law, the Coalition for Clean Air, Corporate Accountability International, CREDO …


California Secretary of State Calls on NSA to Share Critical Information About Russian Threats to US Election Systems

Sierra Sun Times

Padilla, a graduate of MIT, also serves as co-chair of the Elections Committee for the National Association of Secretaries of State and as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Election Infrastructure Cybersecurity Working Group. The …


Divided America — People Must Connect for America to Survive

National Review

The United States is currently the world’s oldest democracy.  But America is no more immune from collapse than were some of history’s most stable and impressive consensual governments. Fifth-century Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Florence and Venice, and many of the elected governments of early 20th-century Western European states eventually destroyed themselves, went bankrupt, or were overrun by invaders.




Will Republicans play ball with Jerry Brown on cap-and-trade?

Fresno Bee

Gov. Brown is trying to gather the two-thirds votes to extend California’s cap-and-trade program. For that, he needs Republican support.

Family time matters to this generation of fathers. Let’s update family policy.

Sacramento Bee

From California to Congress, families are waiting for programs that reflect the real world, in which more than 70 percent of mothers have jobs, the number of stay-at-home dads has doubled and 82 percent of Americans under 30 want paid paternity leave.


Goodwill has a stellar reputation. It’s falling short in the death of Abraham Garza.

Sacramento Bee

Goodwill Industries is fighting fines imposed over a worker’s death. That’s its right. But why is it sullying the reputation of a worker who witnessed the death?


California Democrats should stop squabbling and get ready for the real fight – the mid-term elections

Los Angeles Times

We have a message for Eric Bauman, the new chairman of the California Democratic Party and thus one of the most powerful people in state politics: Extraordinary times call for extraordinary leadership.




To Protect Fruit Crops, Scientists Are Putting Them Into A Deep Freeze

Valley Public Radio

From Cara Cara oranges to clementines, California’s farmers deliver novel navels, mandarins and tangelos.  But the state’s growers have watched with worry as the devastating disease known as citrus greening has crippled Florida’s citrus industry. It’s a threat not just to California’s orange industry, but to the collection of rare, wild and heirloom varieties used to breed new crops that the U.S. Department of Agriculture currently “stores” in the state.


California Firms Up Marijuana Rules, Will Allow Deliveries | The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

California would set standards for organic marijuana, allow pot samples at county fairs and permit home deliveries under legislation set to be considered by lawmakers Thursday as the state prepares for next year’s start of legal marijuana sales.


California farmer wants EPA Chief Pruitt to testify in his court case …

Sacramento Bee

California farmer wants EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to testify in his fight against the U.S. government. The Justice Department says no.


Pot on Campus: Marijuana Use Is up for Underage College Kids


Marijuana use among underage students on college campuses in Oregon—one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults—is on the rise, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Oregon State University.




California jails will have to provide face-to-face family visits for inmates under state budget deal

Los Angeles Times

California county jails would have to provide face-to-face family visits for inmates under a budget plan approved Thursday by state lawmakers.


Support Grows for Civil Commitment of Opioid Users

Pew Charitable Trusts\Stateline

Some judges have been leery of taking away a person’s civil liberties for what society has long perceived as a moral failing.




Los Banos Walmart graduates first academy class in Central California

Merced Sun-Star

The international supermarket chain on Thursday celebrated the first graduating class of its Los Banos Walmart Academy, the first in Central California and third training site in the state, with a graduation and ribbon-cutting ceremony.


MUSD wins $1.7M grant

The Madera Tribune

“The proposed program will advance three of the four Madera Unified LCAPgoals and three corresponding strategies,” said Babatunde Ilori, MUSD director of performance management and internal communications.

California State University could ax remedial placement test

89.3 KPCC

For decades, California high school seniors have had to take special English and math exams to help determine if they need to enroll in remedial education courses once they begin their studies at a California State University (CSU) campus.


New state budget would stop short of ‘debt-free’ college but takes smaller steps on college costs

Los Angeles Times

Instead, it directs the California Student Aid Commission to consider how to consolidate existing scholarships in ways that would lower students’ overall college costs, including non-tuition expenses such as housing and transportation.


As social and emotional learning expands, educators fear the ‘fizzle’


That is the question being asked by educators nationally and in California, where the California Department of Education in 2016 joined a multistate collaborative to develop guidelines for social and emotional learning.


Essential Education: The US Department of Education new civil rights enforcement guidelines

Los Angeles Times

The U.S. Department of Education is telling civil rights investigators that they can limit the scope of their work, according to an internal memo uncovered by ProPublica.   The department also is reportedly circulating an internal memo on enforcing gender-discrimination laws that specifically tells officers to stop investigating whether transgender students have been denied the ability to use the bathrooms of their choice. A spokeswoman from the department did not immediately respond to request for comment on the reported directive.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos suspends rules that cracked down on for-profit college abuses 

Los Angeles Times

As Corinthian Colleges Inc., ITT Technical Institute and other for-profit schools collapsed in recent years, the Obama administration overhauled regulations to make it easier to forgive loans for stranded students and to try to prevent future abuses. Now, the Trump administration is suspending those rules, which had been set to go into effect July 1.


Students help advance legislation to create official state nuts

The Turlock Journal

Californians may be familiar with several of the state’s official symbols, such as the state bird (the California quail), the state flower (the California poppy) and perhaps even the state dance (it’s the West Coast Swing).




Wood chip fire fouls the air near Porterville, but here’s why putting it out won’t be easy

Fresno Bee

A smoky fire on farmland west of Porterville is fouling the air and potentially causing breathing problems, according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, but there’s a problem in trying to put it out.


San Andreas Fault Earthquakes Are Triggered by Winter Rain and Snow, Scientists Discover

Earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault in California are being triggered by winter rain and snowfall, scientists have discovered.


Trump administration backs away from fight over California’s power …

Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration is backing off its threat to revoke California’s unique authority to set its own tough pollution standards for cars and trucks — rules that have become a crucial tool for states to combat climate change without help from Washington.  Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt assured lawmakers on Thursday that his agency is not currently looking to take away the power that California has used for decades to reduce emissions that cause smog and heat up the planet.


Opinion: Climate change policies must protect the middle class

East Bay Times

No more super-powered bureaucracies; the people’s elected representatives need to hold state bureaucrats accountable. … Jordan Cunningham is a Republican member of the California Assembly who serves on the Joint Committee on Climate Change.


Trump’s EPA chief says California clean air waiver will remain intact …

Sacramento Bee

EPA chief Scott Pruitt says California Clean Air Act waiver is intact, for now. The waiver gives the state the right to impose stricter standards for air quality.


California’s air quality waiver appears secure for now as Trump’s EPA chief tells Congress it’s not under review

Los Angeles Times

California’s unique authority to set tougher air quality standards than the federal government isn’t being targeted right now, according to Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt.


Your gas appliance is making climate change worse | The …

Sacramento Bee

Gas-powered appliances such as space and water heaters produce massive amounts of climate-damaging pollution.


Grassroots activism is key for state to remain a global leader on environmental issues

Los Angeles Times  – ‎8 hours ago‎

The state Legislature continues to grapple with problems posed by climate change, and while there have been victories, we’re still faltering when it comes to passing laws that strengthen protections for our environment.




The Budget’s Done. What Now?

Fox and Hounds Daily

The budget passed—no surprise—so what will the legislature focus on during the remaining session this year? First, a few factors to consider about 2018 that may frame what happens in the remainder of the 2017 legislative session.


California Legislature votes to strip key powers from state tax board hit by scandal

Los Angeles Times

The state Legislature on Thursday voted to strip the state’s scandal-plagued tax board of most of its duties and powers, sending the governor a bill that would transfer taxpayer appeals hearings to a new office of administrative law judges.


It took almost 90 years, but lawmakers voted to gut California’s tax board

Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers on Thursday voted to gut a unique and embattled state agency that both collects taxes and allows elected representatives to settle disputes from taxpayers.

Walters: Board of Equalization, an embarrassment for decades, finally getting overhaul 


Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators are on the verge of virtually eliminating the state Board of Equalization, which has been in existence nearly 140 years. It’s about time. The five-member tax agency has been an embarrassment for decades.


Why does Kristin Olsen want workers in her county to get paid less?

Modesto Bee

Sadly for the people of Stanislaus County, whom she represents, Supervisor Kristin Olsen has allowed herself to be used as a mouthpiece by interests that would prevent many of her hard-working constituents from earning a living wage.


Fitzgerald: The grand jury’s half-right report

Stockton Record

“If somebody told me Mike Fitzgerald took $100,000 from The Record, I wouldn’t call Mike Fitzgerald to say, ‘Would you audit The Record to see if $100,000 is missing?


Unions try to make it harder for local governments to make pension payments


As unfunded pension liabilities mount, California’s cities and counties are bracing for the additional contributions they’ll have to make to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System in coming years. Meanwhile, unions representing government …




Governor and Legislative Leaders Agree to Split the Difference on Proposition 56 Tobacco-Tax Revenues for Medi-Cal

California Budget & Policy Center

Last November, California voters approved Proposition 56, a tobacco-tax increase that will raise a projected $1.7 billion for state fiscal year 2017-18, which begins on July 1. Over the past few months, Governor Brown and legislative leaders had been at odds over how specifically to spend the nearly $1.3 billion of Prop. 56 revenues that will go to Medi-Cal, the Medicaid program in California.


Community Voices: Salas puts Kern residents’ health on a back burner

The Bakersfield Californian

Kern County and Kings County are home to some of the most polluted air in the United States. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are of significant importance to communities here on the ground, but our representatives in Sacramento are not helping the fight.

Should The Feds Pay For Higher Medi-Cal Rates In The Valley? Two Congressmen Say ‘Yes’

Valley Public Radio

The expansion of Medi-Cal in the Central Valley under the Affordable Care Act has been key to slashing the area’s uninsured rate in half in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of people signed up, and in most valley counties, about half of the population is on Medi-Cal. But according to some, having more people on the program has compounded the problem of low reimbursement rates for physicians and the area’s long-running doctor shortage.


Treat mental illness before crisis occurs | The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Bee  ‎

Diseases from diabetes to cancer are managed with early intervention, but mental illness often isn’t even diagnosed until after a breakdown.


Foster care funding in California budget will help ease caseload


That’s the job of a foster care attorney. But, $22 million in additional funding in the state budget will help ease the caseload, particularly in bigger counties across the state.


Assisted death battle drags on in California

Sacramento Bee

More than a year after California became the fifth state to allow assisted death, the controversial policy is still embroiled in court.

Just last week, supporters celebrated the first anniversary of the law, which authorizes physicians to prescribe lethal medication to patients with less than six months left to live.




CA lawmakers approve bill to bar local governments from immigrant detention contracts

89.3 KPCC

California lawmakers on Thursday approved a measure that bars California cities and counties from signing new contracts with federal officials to rent out immigrant detention space, typically in local jails.


While Immigration Debate Focuses on Border, Visa Overstayers Get Overlooked


Carolina, who arrived 12 years ago on a tourist visa and overstayed, enters a Southern California community center. She is one of the thousands of visitors who come to the U.S.


California Sanctuary State Bill Clears Hurdle In Assembly

CBS Sacramento

According to the Sanctuary State bill, local law enforcement would be barred from helping federal ICE agents. “It’s just bad policy because it’s a politically motivated bill,” said Assemblyman Heath Flora.


Trump administration cancels program to protect immigrant parents from deportation 


The program to protect parents was announced by President Obama in November 2014 but was never fully launched. It was intended to keep the immigrant parents safe from deportation and provide them with a renewable work permit good for two years, but it was blocked by a federal judge in Texas after 26 states filed suit against the federal government and challenged the effort’s legality.

Trump won’t alter status of current Dreamers 


President Donald Trump’s administration has issued its most explicit promise to date that so-called Dreamers can keep their permission to work legally in the U.S. “No work permits will be terminated prior to their current expiration dates,” the Department of Homeland Security said in guidance posted on its website Thursday night.

Back Into the Shadows: Immigrants Retreat From Needed Services as Deportation Fears Loom 


Immigrants have retreated not just from law enforcement, but from services of all kinds. Parents are afraid to send their children to school, in case they’re taken in an ICE raid during the day and their kids have no one to return home to. Others fear using medical services — clinics note that some patients with chronic illnesses have stopped showing up for treatment.




Businesses fight to save California tax board, BOE.

Sacramento Bee

California business and taxpayer groups have one more day to fight a budget plan that would strip the Board of Equalization of its powers.







Kings County hyperloop plan fizzles?

The Business Journal

More than two years ago Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced a formal agreement with the developers of Quay Valley, a new town planned for Kings County, to develop an installation of the Hyperloop along a five-mile stretch of the town running alongside Interstate 5.


What’s happening to California gasoline prices? – Central Valley …

Central Valley Business Times

Central Valley Business Times. Probing the Business of California’s Great Central Valley.

California tells VW to build electric charging stations in poor areas


The German automaker previously agreed to support clean vehicles by spending $800 million in California, part of a total of $2 billion nationally, to atone for secretly installing software in diesel vehicles that allowed them to emit excess pollution …


The Gas Tax. Who Cares?

Fox and Hounds Daily

There’s not much good to say about the legislative package that raised the gas tax to pay for a relatively small amount of road construction.


The day of digging for quarters on the bus is over, thanks to smart card

Sacramento Bee

You can now ride almost any bus in the Sacramento five-county region without having to dig in your pocket for dollars, dimes and quarters.


Will electric buses juice California’s economy? Start-up Proterra hopes so

Los Angeles Times

Urban transit districts are swapping those out for more environment-friendly diesel-electric hybrids and buses that run on compressed natural gas.


Meet the man driving the future of Uber and Lyft in the California Legislature

Los Angeles Times

Meet the man driving the future of Uber and Lyft in the California




Sinking aqueduct getting help

Hanford Sentinel

The California Department of Water Resources is busy this month starting emergency repairs on the all-important California Aqueduct. The repairs are happening in Fresno and Kings counties where land subsidence, suspected to be caused by groundwater over-use…


Something You Probably Didn’t Expect From the Huge Sierra Snowpack: Earthquakes 


Scientists at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory have made some new revelations about the link between snowfall and earthquakes in California. But it’s not the snow itself that triggers earthquakes, it’s what happens when that snow melts away. The result is a bit like compressing a spring and then letting it go.


State orders in-depth assessments of more than 50 California dams following Oroville crisis

Los Angeles Times

Months after the Oroville Dam crisis, state regulators are ordering sweeping inspections of aging dams throughout California to determine whether they, too, have vulnerabilities. The move comes as state officials are still trying to determine precisely …


Oroville Dam: Legislation would keep emergency plans secret.

Sacramento Bee

In the wake of the crisis at Oroville Dam, state officials quietly inserted a provision into a budget bill that made dam-safety plans secret.


Chinook salmon will become extinct if Californians don’t take these steps

Sacramento Bee

California also is involved in the effort to tear down four Klamath River dams that provide only marginal power and water supply benefits but harm the salmon runs that once sustained both Native American tribes and commercial fishermen.


California still digging out snowy roads, but heat may help

Washington Post

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. – There may be no more potent reminder of California’s humongous snowfall than the plows still clearing roads that snake across the state’s highest mountains as summer approaches.


Beware Beach Water Quality

L.A. Weekly

The wet was welcome, of course, as it doused California’s five-year drought. But it also meant that bacterial levels – the bellwether of funk – “spiked dramatically” and gave many Golden State beaches poor grades, according to Heal the Bay’s annual …




California State Legislature approves $3 million for Armenian American Museum

Public Radio of Armenia

Asbarez – The California State Legislature voted Thursday to pass the 2017-2018 state budget with $3 million in new funding dedicated for the Armenian American Museum.


35 things to do in the Fresno area this summer

Fresno Bee

Attend a river party. Respite by the River provides monthly concerts along the San Joaquin River, and the Kings River Conservancy hosts themed parties, picnics and wine tastings. 19. Check out the public portion of the Fresno Food Expo. The Fresno area …

Should Congress Make It Legal To Mountain Bike In Wilderness Areas?

Valley Public Radio

Wilderness areas are known for isolated beauty and the feeling of peace experienced there. There are no cars, few roads and only horseman, horses and hikers can enter them. But that could soon change if a bill that’s now in congress becomes law.