Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers announced a broad overhaul of the state’s main energy regulator on Monday, a response to a scandal involving the agency’s decommissioning of a Southern California nuclear facility and criticism in its handling of new technologies including Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies.
The broad reform package includes a number of efforts to boost transparency and oversight at the California Public Utilities Commission, including more frequent online disclosure of communications between commissioners and those affected by their decisions.
Lawmakers have added earmarks for helping veterans and youth who are on California's streets to a high-profile effort expected to become part of the new state budget by the end of the week.
Legislation quietly introduced Thursday would modify and expand an effort that began with a $2-billion bond package to help those who are homeless and suffer from mental illness.
The bond proposal, first introduced by Senate Democrats in January, was modified to include new requirements including online disclosure of how bond proceeds are spent and performance reviews of county agencies that administer the programs.
Industry leaders and environmental activists made their way to the California Air Resources Board on Thursday to advocate for money for programs to combat climate change.
The board agreed, signing off on a $500 million plan to fund clean-car subsidies and numerous other programs.
But the board's approval won't actually result in any cash getting spent. Advocates are waiting on Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers to reach a deal to send the money to the board, something they hope will happen by the end of the legislative session in August.
Citing her experience with gun laws, one of the largest gun safety advocacy groups in the nation has endorsed state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris in the Senate race in California.
"In Kamala Harris, Californians have found the only Senate candidate they can trust to stand up to the corporate gun lobby and disarm the hate that kills thousands of Americans every year," Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement. "We know she'll walk the walk, she's done it her entire career. As attorney general, Harris worked alongside the Brady Campaign's 27 California chapters to spearhead a record-setting program to get and keep guns out of dangerous hands, no doubt saving lives."
An effort to cap the salaries of hospital executives may be blocked from California's Nov. 8 ballot, after a Sacramento judge wrote Thursday that its labor union backers broke a political peace treaty with hospitals.
If upheld, Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Brown's ruling would force Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West to withdraw an initiative that would limit executive compensation at nonprofit hospitals to $450,000 a year.
The healthcare workers union that successfully placed a minimum wage increase on the November statewide ballot formally withdrew the proposal Thursday, two months after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a similar plan into law.
"We think the law that was passed is a really good law," said Steve Trossman, a spokesman for the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers and one of the initiative's official proponents.
Just days before the Legislature is scheduled to act on a package of gun control measures, state election officials announced Thursday that an initiative by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to restrict firearms has enough signatures to qualify for the November state ballot.
The Secretary of State's Office said a verification process using a random sample estimated that at least 402,468 of the 600,000 signatures turned in were valid and from registered voters, so the Safety for All Act has officially qualified to be on the ballot.
“Enough massacres, death, tears, and hate – it’s time to take action and save lives," Newsom said in a statement Thursday. "The Safety for All initiative gives California voters the opportunity to keep guns and ammo out of the hands of violent, dangerous, hateful people. America has too many guns and too much hate. The result is the massacre in Orlando, and dozens of other gun deaths every single day."