By Donald Cohen
In the Public Interest
Across the nation, private companies are looking to take over public services. A legislative battle in Sacramento over a bill to privatize state trial courts epitomizes the promises and pitfalls of privatization.
Assembly Bill 566 (Wieckowski) would require that before contracting services out, courts must provide proof of cost savings, create employment standards, engage in a competitive bidding process, and undergo regular financial and performance audits bill sits on the governor's desk for signature or veto and the lobbying is intense.
By Isaiah J. Poole
David Sirota, the author of the Institute for America's Future report on "The Plot Against Pensions" that detailed the right-wing collaboration to dismantle public pension programs around the country, is now reporting in Salon that "the Enron billionaire whose former company wrecked the Golden State's economy appears to be using a shadowy Texas front group to now try to loot the Golden State's public pension system."
By Dan Bacher
A national environmental group on October 3 accused the federal government of violating a key national environmental law by allowing offshore fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in waters off California’s coast without analyzing the risks to human health and endangered marine species.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice letter with two federal agencies in charge of regulating offshore oil development, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The group plans legal action if the government fails to act.
By Amy DePaul
It seemed fitting that the federal government closure - staged in the name of defeating the unpopular reforms of the Affordable Care Act - began on the same day that the ACA's new insurance exchange drew an overwhelmingly eager response from the American public.
"A ton of people are excited to enroll," enthused Sarah Sol, information officer at Covered Cal. "Needless to say, we're thrilled with this strong consumer response."
As Stephen Colbert said in characteristic faux Republican, "Too many people signing up is always the surest sign that nobody wants it."
By Anthony Wright
Yesterday marked the begining of a six-month open enrollment in the new benefits and options of the Affordable Care Act, including with the launch of Covered California, our state’s marketplace for health care coverage.
Now millions of Californians are now able to shop, compare, and buy affordable, high quality health insurance through Covered California, a new insurance marketplace where individuals, families and small business can also get financial assistance to pay for health coverage. This brings us a major step close to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.
By Leo Gerard
Like "Git 'er done," Americans should be yelling at Republicans in Congress: "Do yer job!" That's because Republicans are shirking their sworn duty by both shutting down the government and threatening to default on its bills.
Before taking office, each member of Congress swears a simple, straightforward oath. It leaves little room for misinterpretation. They vow to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to "faithfully discharge the duties of the office."
By Assemblymember Phil Ting
Editors note: On September 28th, 2013 Governor Brown signed into law the bills mentioned in this post.
Green living is the future. But the power of our everyday actions to aid the environment can only be unleashed when green choices become a bigger part of our lives.
By Gary Cohn
In a move to slash the retirement benefits of public employees in California, a group of mostly conservative policy advocates has been working behind the scenes on a possible 2014 ballot initiative. A copy of the still-secret draft initiative, which could dramatically impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians and send a signal nationwide, has been obtained by Frying Pan News. (See the document’s text by clicking here.)
By Liana Molina and Kyra Kazantzis
Coalition Against Payday Predators
In the face of the state legislature’s inaction on payday reform and growing national visibility on the issue, cities across California are taking steps to rein in payday and other high cost lenders. Earlier this week, the City Council of Sunnyvale voted to restrict the growth of payday lenders by enacting a “cap” on the number of lenders, creating “buffer zones” between lenders, allowing payday lending only in designated areas, and establishing operational standards.
By Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown on Friday, September 20 signed Senator Fran Pavley’s Senate Bill 4 - a controversial fracking bill that the head of the oil industry lobby admitted will clear the path to expanding the environmentally destructive oil extraction process in California.
“While SB 4’s requirements went significantly farther than the petroleum industry felt was necessary, we now have an environmental platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA).