Inside Government

NEW: Legislature should have heeded Brit regulators on plastic bags

Monday, September 1st, 2014
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Dubious bills often get passed on the final night of the state legislative session, and 2014 was no exception: A measure to make California the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags. SB270 passed despite fierce opposition from plastic bag manufacturers and after initially failing...

Unions win court round in battle with charter cities

Friday, August 29th, 2014
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Unions lost round one of their battle with California cities over "prevailing wages" on public works projects in 2012. That's when the California Supreme Court ruled against a law they'd gotten the Legislature to pass targeting charter cities for their refusal to mandate union-level pay on such proj...

Gut and amend time

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
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"Laws are like sausages. You should never see them made," is a variant on a saying by Otto von Bismarck. The old Prussian has been dead 116 years, but if he came back he certainly would recognize the California Legislature's "gut and amend" process, which even sounds like making sausages. Except the...

Kiplinger: CA taxes highest — and state hostile to retirees, too

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
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Over the years, when I've reported that the nation's CEOs continue to rank California as the most anti-business state in the country, I've gotten some blowback in emails and comments that question whether the ranking was manipulated. This is goofy paranoia -- the suggestion by CA Dems and labor type...

iPad scandal latest in long line for L.A. Unified — but different

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
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The abrupt decision Monday by Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy to suspend the district's $1 billion iPad program after reports that he manipulated the decision that led to Apple winning the big contract is hugely juicy. The program already had been under fire because it used 30-year bor...

Vergara appeal decision: Nixon goes to China for Jerry Brown?

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

To an astounding degree, prominent California Democrats have so far avoided substantive comment on Judge Rolf Treu's landmark -- but tentative -- June 10 ruling in Los Angeles Superior Court that teacher tenure laws are so harmful to minority students in poor neighborhoods that it "shocks the consc...

Is Gov. Brown disinterested in pension reform?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Later today, the governing board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System is expected to pass rules giving state employees 99 ways to spike their "pensionable pay." Gov. Jerry Brown only objected to one of the 99 bonuses. This is the same governor who billed his 2012 pension reform l...

Immigration: Feinstein acts like Chicago Dem, not CA Dem

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
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California Sen. Dianne Feinstein won't put up with the CIA spying on lawmakers. Her repeated denunciations of the agency this year have been remarkable, considering her decades as a leading figure in the national security establishment. But Feinstein isn't so forthright when it comes to the polit...

Moody’s raises questions about teacher pension funding fix

Friday, August 15th, 2014
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Soon after the CalSTRS funding fix crafted by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown took effect on July 1, Moody's Investors Service raised CalSTRS' bond issuer rating. But six weeks later, Moody's has put out another release that examines how much strain the law meant to stabilize funding for Ca...

Feds abdicate on own rules for CA bullet train $

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
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The Obama administration has given the state $3.5 billion in funds for its bullet train project. But the 2009 stimulus funds that were the source of most of the federal bequest came with lots of strings attached, as is common with federal grants. Those rules were formally published in the Federal...