The longest-serving member of the California Supreme Court, Justice Kathryn Werdegar, said on Wednesday that she will retire this summer, giving Gov. Jerry Brown the chance to select his fourth member of the panel in six years.
Werdegar, who turns 81 next month, was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1994. The official announcement from court officials said that she will step down on Aug. 31.
"It has been a great privilege and honor to serve the people of California as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court for 23 years," Werdergar said in a written statement. "But it is time for someone else to have that privilege and opportunity."
In an attempt to increase the revenue stream for early education programs, a state assemblyman wants to impose a tax on companies that contract with prisons in California to provide goods and services.
The bill authored by Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) would require companies to pay 10% of the value of the contract for any agreements signed on or after Jan. 1, 2018.
The funds would be deposited into what would be called the State Incarceration Prevention Fund, established under the State Treasury, and would go to programs that focus on keeping people out of prison through early intervention and education services.
Democrat Christy Smith will run against state Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Valencia) in 2018, setting up a potential rematch between the candidates who faced off in 2016.
Acosta beat Smith, the president of the Newhall School District, in November, winning 52.9% of the vote in the Santa Clarita-area district.
The district historically elects Republicans, but the GOP has seen its voter registration advantage slowly drop from an edge of more than 5 percentage points over Democrats in voter registration in the district in 2014 to just 1.7 percentage points in 2016.
Another progressive Democrat has set his sights on defeating Vista Republican Rep. Darrell Issa.
Orange County environmental lawyer Mike Levin announced his congressional campaign on Wednesday, saying Washington needs “meaningful congressional oversight of the Trump administration.”
Levin becomes the second Democrat to challenge Issa in the 2018 election. Retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate, Issa’s opponent last year, also is running. Applegate lost to Issa by just 1,600 votes in November.
Local opposition to planning and building new housing to accommodate demand from current and future residents has led to an extreme shortage of homes that is driving up prices to record levels, the report said. Developers need to roughly double the amount of new homes built every year in California — at least 100,000 more — to keep pace with demand, according to a recent report from the state housing department.
Cities and counties are primarily responsible for approving new housing, and if local attitudes don’t change, any action the state takes won’t come close to solving the problem, the legislative analyst's report said.
A bill that would raise gas taxes to chip away at California’s massive backlog of road and highway repairs passed its last of three Senate policy committees Wednesday as the clock ticks toward an April 6 deadline for acting on a transportation financing plan.
The deadline was set by Democratic legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown, who is in negotiations with lawmakers to reach an agreement on differences between their proposals and his own plan with smaller tax increases. The goal is a plan that can win the two-thirds vote needed for passage to address the state’s $136-billion backlog.
One leading option is the bill approved Wednesday by the Senate Governance and Finance Committee that would raise an additional $5.5 billion annually for road repairs and mass transit, in part by increasing the per-gallon gas tax by 12 cents in phases over three years.
Gov. Jerry Brown once knew Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson as the most difficult sheriff in the state.
But the two shook hands Tuesday as Stanislaus County became the first in California to open a new detention center with state funding allocated under realignment — a 2011 criminal justice reform effort that Brown has aggressively pushed, and Christianson once fiercely opposed.
"This facility is getting it right," Brown said at the site's dedication ceremony in Modesto. "It is more than time behind bars. It is intervention with intelligence and humanity and force."