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Is California budget as ‘balanced and progressive’ as Gov. Brown suggests?

SACRAMENTO – The California Assembly and Senate have until Thursday to approve the budget deal announced by Gov. Jerry Brown last week, but there’s little uncertainty about the outcome. The general-fund budget is a record-setting $125 billion – something Brown

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High-speed rail agency lacks leader at crucial juncture

Four months after then-California High Speed Rail Authority Chief Executive Jeff Morales told authority board members he was moving on and two months after Morales made his decision public, the agency overseeing the state’s $64 billion bullet train project hasn’t

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State elections chief denies NSA report of California hack

Who will Californians believe: Secretary of State Alex Padilla or the National Security Agency? That’s one way to boil down a flap that’s emerged this week over the sanctity of California’s 2016 elections. Beginning shortly after November’s election, Padilla has

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Criminal justice reformers target punitive traffic tickets

California reformers seeking sweeping changes in the state’s criminal justice system have a new target: burdensome traffic tickets. The leading proponent of the proposal is California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. She is working on a plan to decriminalize

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Is Assembly speaker playing game of chicken over 72-hour rule?

SACRAMENTO – California voters in November overwhelmingly passed Proposition 54, a constitutional amendment to promote transparency by requiring all bills in their “final form” to be published online for 72 hours before legislators vote on them. It’s designed to stop

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Gov. Brown’s pension plan gets mixed reviews from reformers

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature mostly have avoided tackling the state’s unfunded pension liabilities, even though these taxpayer-backed debts to pay for pension promises to state and local employees have soared by 22 percent in the last

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Secure Choice retirement program up against powerful federal law

An unprecedented state law meant to create 401(k)-style retirement accounts for millions of private-sector workers in California now faces a daunting obstacle to ever being implemented: one of the most powerful federal laws on the books. Under the state law

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Report: Single-payer health care in California would cost double state budget

SACRAMENTO – During the California Democratic Party convention in Sacramento last weekend, the spiciest news was outgoing chairman John Burton dropping an f-bomb on a group of activists demanding that the party embrace a single-payer health system. It’s not really

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Gas tax recall effort for Josh Newman grows

  Perceived as the most vulnerable of the legislative Democrats who passed Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas and vehicle tax package by a razor-thin margin, freshman state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, faced an intensifying campaign to turn him out of office, potentially

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San Francisco sues Uber in battle over driver privacy

SACRAMENTO – The city of San Francisco filed suit last week against the ride-sharing service Uber after the company filed a motion in court to block the release of a drivers’ personal information. This sets up the latest battle between

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