Civil Immigration Detention is Not an Appropriate Use of Local Jails

By Brian Goldstein

Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice

Should federal immigration enforcement consume finite local public safety resources and capacity? As California mulls this question, consider that Governor Brown is expanding the state’s reliance on private prison as a last minute solution to federal mandates, while some county sheriffs request jail construction funding to overhaul local facilities. Now is not the time for California’s local jails to unnecessarily hold those suspected of violating civil immigration laws.

More Humane Practices Needed for California's Toughest Prisons

By Tom Ammiano

California State Assemblymember

People in maximum security prisons are not warm and fuzzy types, but that doesn’t excuse the California prison system for abusing their rights.

Even if we don’t like prisoners, there are reasons we should care about the prisoner hunger strike that ended earlier this month. Human rights apply to everyone. Let me tell you about it:

Prisoners have been complaining about conditions the SHUs – Secure Housing Units – for years. In fact, there was another hunger strike two years ago. Shane Bauer, a freelance reporter who was once held prisoner by the Iranian government, visited the SHU at Pelican Bay State Prison and discovered it compared unfavorably with what he experienced under the Iranians.

Brown Appoints Big Water Lobbyist as DWR Chief Deputy Director

Dan BacherBy Dan Bacher

The revolving door between corporate interests, water contractors and state government swung open once again on Wednesday, September 18 when Governor Jerry Brown appointed Laura King Moon of Woodland, a lobbyist for the state’s water exporters, as chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

Moon has been a project manager for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan since 2011 while “on loan” from the State Water Contractors, a non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project.

Coastal Cleanup Day Coming to a Town Near You

Leila MonroeBy Leila Monroe

Natural Resources Defense Council

Every year since 1985, tens of thousands of Californians have joined Coastal Cleanup Day, the world’s largest volunteer effort to clean up waterways and the ocean. This year’s cleanup will take place on September 21, and you can find an event near you by going to the California Coastal Commission.

SEC Finally Moves Rule Requiring Disclosure Of "Pay Ratios"

Dave JohnsonBy Dave Johnson

The 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act included a provision requiring publicly traded companies to report the “pay ratio” — the ratio of CEO compensation to worker compensation in that company. Corporate lobbying groups have been fight this rule tooth-and-nail. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today (finally) proposed specific rules that will make this actually happen.

Narrow Networks, and the Real Issue of Timely Access

By Anthony Wright

Health Access

A front-page article in the Los Angeles Times is highly misleading about the health plans offered in Covered California, confusing several issues, ignoring existing issues and existing law, misdiagnosing the problem and the solution for consumers.

It ominously starts by suggesting “consumers could see long wait times, a scarcity of specialists and loss of a longtime doctor.”

Legislative Session Concludes with Environmental Progress and Hurdles

By Rebecca Saltzman

California League of Conservation Voters

The first year of the 2013-14 legislative session concluded in the wee hours last Friday morning. In the final days of the session the legislature considered a number of CLCV's and the environmental community's priority bills, many of which we had been working on since the early days of the year with the help of our members and allies.

Traffic Impact May Get Some Reform Under Smaller CEQA Bill

By Robert Cruickshank

One of the dramas at the end of the legislative session last week involved the fate of reform to the California Environmental Quality Act. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg substituted a new bill, SB 743, for his original CEQA reform bill, SB 731. SB 743 is designed to speed approval and construction of a new arena for the Sacramento Kings basketball team, but it does open the door to a badly-needed reform of one of the worst aspects of CEQA – the rules requiring projects to be evaluated for their impact on the “level of service” (LOS) of roads.

School Parcel Taxes: Usage Won't Really Expand With Easier Passage

By Public Policy Institute of California

Lowering the vote threshold for passage of local school parcel taxes would likely allow far more to pass. But there is no evidence that it would expand their use beyond the sort of wealthy Bay Area school districts that already have them. These are the key findings of a report released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

The report assesses the potential effect of reducing the vote required to pass these taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent—a proposal the state legislature has been discussing. Although a parcel tax is one of the only local revenue options available to school districts, these taxes are not widespread. Only about 10 percent of districts have passed one, and the money raised amounts to less than 1 percent of total K–12 revenue.

Industrial Hemp Bill On Its Way to Governor Brown

By Ali Bay

Legislation that allows California farmers to be prepared to grow industrial hemp upon federal approval has cleared both houses of the legislature. SB 566, authored by Senator Mark Leno, would permit growers in the Golden State to cultivate industrial hemp for the sale of seed, oil and fiber to manufacturers and businesses that currently rely on international imports for raw hemp products. The bill, which is co-authored by Assemblymember Allan Monsoor, R-Costa Mesa, and has received strong bipartisan support in both houses, would go into effect once the federal government lifts its ban on hemp cultivation.