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.

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.”

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.

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.

Senator Pavley's Gutted Fracking Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

By Dan Bacher

Bill opponents disagree strongly with the Brown administration's assessment of the bill as "an important step forward. The bill "undermines existing environmental law and leaves Californians unprotected from fracking and other dangerous and extreme fossil fuel extraction techniques," according to a statement from Californians Against Fracking, a statewide coalition of over 100 organizations now calling for a moratorium on fracking.

Sacramento - Senate Bill 4, a controversial bill sponsored by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) that opponents say would clear a path to increased fracking, passed the California Legislature on Wednesday, September 11 and is now headed to Governor Jerry Brown's desk.

Trans-boundary Ozone's Impact on California Is More than Hot Air

By Alan Kandel

There is no question pollution is adrift in the air. The past couple of days, air quality in the Fresno region of California has been good. Connected to this have been lower temperatures. Daytime temps have been in the 90s. But this is going to change. Temperatures are already starting to warm and by the weekend, they will probably be in the triple digits in most, if not all parts, of the San Joaquin Valley.

California's War on Bugs Has Failed

By Myrto Ashe MD, MPH; Debbie Friedman; Michelle Perro, MD; Nan Wishner

New research by UC Davis scientists shows that several fruit flies, including the infamous medfly, are now permanent residents of California despite nearly 300 “eradication” projects spanning three decades and costing billions. This study adds to the growing scientific evidence that declaring war on bugs with the intent of eliminating them – a practice that exposes Californians to some of the most toxic pesticides – doesn’t work.