CALMatters | Almanac Online |

CALmatters is a Sacramento-based nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California's state Capitol works and why it matters. It works with more than 130 media partners throughout the state that have long, deep relationships with their local audiences, including Embarcadero Media (publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, Mountain View Voice, Pleasanton Weekly and The Almanac in Menlo Park and their websites.)

Here are the most recent stories reported by CALmatters' team of journalists:

Will Supreme Court heed Jerry Brown’s request?

Jerry Brown asked the California Supreme Court to act on an important pension case before he leaves office. The Supreme Court is short-handed because Brown has left a vacancy unfilled for nearly a year.

Fri, Jul 20, 2018 4:30 am
3 Californias initiative gets booted, at least for now

California Supreme Court kicked Timothy Draper's CalExit initiative off the November ballot. Justices agreed to hear Draper's arguments, leaving open the possibility the initiative could appear on a future ballot.

Thu, Jul 19, 2018 4:30 am
Inventor’s tax fight with California flares up again

Inventor Gilbert Hyatt's decades-long battle with California tax authorities is flaring up again. Hyatt sought refuge in Nevada, which has no income tax, while California tax collectors say he owes them money.

Thu, Jul 19, 2018 12:01 am
After years of tuition battles, UC and student leaders find common ground

The tuition decrease University of California regents are set to vote on amounts to only $60 per year—about the cost of a used textbook. More significant, perhaps, is that student leaders learned about it on a conference call with university budget staff, a sign of new collaboration between UC officials and student leadership.

Wed, Jul 18, 2018 9:33 pm
De León discloses campaign finances at a snail’s pace

In his race against U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, state Sen. Kevin de León failed to submit his latest campaign finance statements online, limiting the ability of Californians to see those reports for days if not weeks after they arrive by mail in Washington, D.C. Feinstein filed her latest report with Federal Elections Commission on Friday electronically, as […]

Wed, Jul 18, 2018 8:00 am
Disclosure at a snail’s pace; CCPOA’s clout

Candidates for superintendent of public instruction tangled over prison officers' pay. Marshall Tuck said Tony Thurmond should not have voted to raise correctional officers' pay by 5 percent, at a cost of more than $114 million.

Wed, Jul 18, 2018 4:30 am
Democratic left wing wants to jettison Sen. Feinstein

Kevin de León, a state senator who wants to unseat U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, won the endorsement last weekend of the state Democratic Party executive committee, but she enjoys strong support from Democratic voters and is still likely to win re-election in November.

Wed, Jul 18, 2018 12:01 am
Food for the heart in a new California health program

A pilot project uses diet to improve the health of people with congestive heart failure—and save the state millions of dollars. Taxpayers foot the health care bill for about a third of California's residents. Part 2 of a CALmatters series on state efforts to fight chronic illness.

Tue, Jul 17, 2018 2:16 pm
Jerry Brown’s vision for online education

Gov. Jerry Brown, who began his career nearly 50 years ago by winning a Los Angeles community college seat, visited the Community College Board of Trustees Monday to describe his vision for the future of online education.

Tue, Jul 17, 2018 4:30 am
What an $8.9 billion water bond would buy

A 152-mile long canal that irrigates pistachios and other crops in the eastern San Joaquin Valley is sinking by an inch a month, the result of groundwater over-pumping by farmers. The Sacramento Bee described the Friant-Kern Canal as an engineering marvel, but its capacity has been reduced by as much as 60 percent at because of subsidence. […]

Mon, Jul 16, 2018 8:03 am
What $8.9 billion water bond would buy

California voters will have a chance to vote on an $8.9 billion water bond that would pay for environmental restoration, clean drinking water and help rebuild the Friant-Kern Canal, damaged by subsidence.

Mon, Jul 16, 2018 4:30 am
California’s school war will have new political players

California's education establishment is fighting a running battle with school reformers and civil rights groups over accountability for helping "at-risk" kids, and the battle will resume after voters elect a new governor and a new state schools superintendent.

Mon, Jul 16, 2018 12:01 am
California vs. Trump over 2020 census

California has a big stake in results from the 2020 federal census and is battling with the Trump administration over the details, especially a new question about citizenship. California officials fear that the state's population will be undercounted.

Sun, Jul 15, 2018 12:01 am
Who’s going to pay for the fires

California legislators confront the question of how to pay for fire damage. Should PG&E be relieved of costs related to devastating 2017 wildfires, and should the law be changed for future fires?

Fri, Jul 13, 2018 4:30 am
Why greenhouse gas emissions fell

The Air Resources Board announced greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2016, even as fuel consumption increased. The main reasons: Greater use of solar, wind and hydropower.

Thu, Jul 12, 2018 4:30 am
Legislature may erase embarrassing boondoggle

The North Coast Railroad Authority has consumed tens of millions of taxpayer dollars but never delivered on its promise to resurrect rail service north of San Francisco Bay. Finally, the Legislature is poised to abolish it.

Thu, Jul 12, 2018 12:01 am
Latest Capitol harassment case: Sexual talk by GOP Assemblyman Devon Mathis

A Republican from the Central Valley is the latest California lawmaker found to have violated the Capitol's sexual harassment policy. An investigation found that Assemblyman Devon Mathis of Visalia made frequent sexual comments, but determined there is not enough evidence to prove more serious allegations of sexual assault.

Wed, Jul 11, 2018 1:42 pm
Altering the balance of campaign power

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, not yet 28, urges 'bold and tangible' solutions to help get people to turn out to vote, including $500 universal basic income payments to working poor.

Wed, Jul 11, 2018 4:30 am
A supermajority that hinges on one seat

Democrats are likely to regain their two-thirds "supermajority" in the state Assembly this year. Whether they also enjoy that dominance in the state Senate depends on the outcome of one contest in rural California.

Wed, Jul 11, 2018 12:01 am
Why rich people leave California. Or don’t

New research shows California's high income tax rate has not driven wealthy people to move to low-tax states, despite low-tax advocates' claim to the contrary.

Tue, Jul 10, 2018 4:30 am
Be prepared to reduce water use. Here’s why

California Water Resources Control board is on the verge of ordering significant reductions in water use to save fish in what chairwoman Felicia Marcus calls a crisis.

Mon, Jul 9, 2018 4:30 am
Unintended consequences of new privacy law?

California legislators passed a hastily drafted bill purporting to protect Californians' personal and financial data from exposure and exploitation. But it could run afoul of the law of unintended consequences.

Mon, Jul 9, 2018 12:01 am
Coy about taxes and pension costs

As local government officials ask voters for tax increases, they are reluctant to tell them that the extra revenue is needed to cover pension costs. But one city is not being coy about it.

Sun, Jul 8, 2018 12:01 am
Did Brown fix California’s budget mess? Nope

Jerry Brown has signed his 16th and final state budget, bragging that he fixed California's financial mess. But that claim, and his claim of securing the state's fiscal future, are overblown.

Thu, Jul 5, 2018 12:01 am
Genteel extortion cancels three ballot measures

Three initiatives that had qualified for the November ballot were dropped last week after their sponsors negotiated deals with the Legislature. Was it extortion? Not in the criminal sense, perhaps, but it was the adroit use of leverage.

Wed, Jul 4, 2018 12:01 am
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