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Women poised for modest gains in legislative races

Women make up more than half of California’s population, but only about one-fourth of the Legislature.  And in November, that’s unlikely to change too much, according to a CalWatchdog analysis. While an October surprise, outside factor or just particularly good

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What initiatives are on the November ballot?

Voters have been warned for a while to be prepared for a seemingly never-ending series of ballot measures, and on Thursday the secretary of state released the final list of what initiatives qualified. Seventeen total. And while voters will read

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How much taxpayers lose in special elections

Henry T. Perea’s decision to vacate his Assembly seat early cost Fresno County a half-million dollars — enough to pay for four sheriff deputies — and has reignited a discussion on the cost of special elections. The Fresno Democrat announced

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Critics demand accountability for education-funding tax prior to extension vote

Proponents of a 12-year extension of a temporary tax used to bolster education funding may ask voters to consider the measure prior to a full vetting, with critics demanding accountability. By law, the state Controller’s office is supposed to audit Proposition 30’s

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24 years of Caltrans well-drilling ignored laws; risked groundwater contamination

Sacramento County is threatening to fine Caltrans millions in taxpayer dollars for drilling hundreds of wells over a period of decades in violation of laws aimed at protecting groundwater, records show. The county set the possible fine at as much as

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Affordable housing may be limited by new state environmental rules

A new rule designed to promote urban development and curb both car usage and greenhouse gas emissions may end up making cities less affordable and more congested, critics say. The rule would modify how traffic is evaluated during a critical

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Deaths in police custody up, half attributed to natural causes

Manuel Ornelas died as he battled Long Beach police officers who were trying to subdue him in response to a Saturday morning call for help last September. Ornelas was apparently intoxicated and bleeding. He was subdued with an “an electronic control

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How to run a ballot initiative campaign

The ballot measure process is simple, right? One citizen has a great idea about how to change our state. He or she gets a bunch of signatures, oodles of volunteers help out and BAM, the measure passes, democracy is served, and

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Minimum wage divides experts

Voters will likely decide on the November ballot whether or not to raise California’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, even though experts are still divided on the issue. There will be plenty of anecdotes in between now and November

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State may face $29-43 billion budget deficit in 2020

In Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State Address last week, he noted that California’s budget has repeatedly failed to prepare for recession, resulting in “painful and unplanned-for cuts” to schools, child care, courts, social services and other programs. He

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