Continuing his tradition of considering the requests of felons for a second chance both at Christmas and Easter, Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday issued 72 pardons and seven sentence commutations for crimes ranging from burglary to being an accomplice in a murder.
The bulk of the actions by Brown, however, were for nonviolent drug crimes. Former prisoners who served time for those offenses have made up the majority of gubernatorial pardons since Brown took office in 2011.
The governor's seven commuted sentences offer most of those involved a chance to be released from prison by the State Board of Parole Hearings.
We also discuss the aftermath of last week's big legislative vote on the $52-billion package of new taxes and fees for transportation. While legislators scramble to explain the vote to their constituents, the plan could complicate a big proposal waiting in the wings in Sacramento.
The legal battle over California's cap-and-trade program is going to the state Supreme Court.
After suffering a defeat last week, the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation announced Friday that it will appeal the decision.
The cap-and-trade program requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, a system designed to provide a financial incentive to reduce pollution. Critics have accused the program of functioning as an unconstitutional tax because it wasn't approved by a two-thirds vote of the state Legislature, the legal threshold for approving taxes.
Police are investigating a Thursday night break-in and vandalism at the Modesto district office of Assemblyman Heath Flora (R-Ripon).
Vandals removed a window at the assemblyman's office and spray-painted a swastika and "SS" outside the building, according to Flora's chief of staff, Dylan Gray. Nothing from the office was stolen.
The Thursday night incident was the latest in a series that has occurred at Flora's Modesto office since he was elected last year. Previously, someone placed a bag with all the material to make a bomb outside the office, and there was an additional bomb threat, Gray said.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday asked state prosecutors to investigate allegations that employees of the state Board of Equalization misused state resources.
He also suspended the board’s ability to approve new contracts, hires and promotions, requiring those actions to be approved by other agencies including the Department of General Services.
In a letter to board members, Brown also said he would ask legislative leaders to come up with new laws to address “serious problems” with the agency that were identified in a recent state Department of Finance audit. The audit uncovered mismanagement in the agency, which is responsible for collecting $60 billion in taxes annually.
California state regulators have given their initial approval to a new set of guidelines that expand the credits inmates can earn for demonstrating good behavior and completing rehabilitation programs behind bars.
The regulations are the first step to overhauling the prison parole system under the widely debated Proposition 57, which is expected to cut the statewide prison population by 9,500 inmates over the next four years.
Under the new rules, inmates will be able to trim their sentences for earning a high school diploma or college degree and successfully completing work skills and self-help programs.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met privately with Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday, calling the conversation "positive and productive" on a variety of issues.
The meeting was not announced by Brown's office, and the governor's staff did'nt clarify who initiated the event.
"Governor Brown and Secretary Zinke had a very cordial conversation today and there was a real recognition that California and the federal government are deeply interconnected when it comes to land and water management," said Evan Westrup, Brown's press secretary, in an email.
Two California assemblywomen are trying to eliminate sales taxes on diapers and tampons and other women's health products and cover the cost of the change by hiking alcohol taxes.
The lawmakers are positioning their bill as a way for their colleagues to express their values and put the California in line with numerous other states across the country that have passed proposals to exempt sales taxes on those products. But their bill faces a high hurdle due to the power of the alcohol lobby and the difficulty raising taxes in general.
North Carolina’s repeal of its controversial “bathroom bill” did not sufficiently address concerns about discrimination to result in California lifting its ban on state-funded travel to that state, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Wednesday.
The original legislation that sparked the travel ban had overturned an ordinance by the city of Charlotte that sought to allow transgender people to use public restrooms based on their gender identity.
Becerra said Wednesday that a state travel ban will remain in effect because a new bill enacted by North Carolina bans state and local entities, until Dec. 1, 2020, from approving new nondiscrimination laws involving public restrooms and changing facilities.
Some California state senators are spending their spring break up north, on a weeklong trip to Canada to study its single-payer healthcare system.
Democratic state Sens. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, Scott Wiener of San Francisco and Nancy Skinner of Berkeley traveled to the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario this week to meet with officials and experts about their government-run healthcare program.