By David Dayen
Dianne Feinstein, author of the 1994 assault weapons ban that expired under President George W. Bush in 2004, told Meet the Press that she plans to reintroduce the law on the first day of the new Congress in 2013. The bill seeks to respond to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one of several this year.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D, said she intended to introduce a gun control bill on the first day of the next Congress. Paired with a twin version in the House, Feinstein's law would take aim at limiting the sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons, along with the capacity of high-capacity magazines.
"It can be done," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press." The senator, a proponent of gun control, said she expected Obama to offer his public support for the law.
By Robert Cruickshank
Central Valley Republicans Kevin McCarthy and Jeff Denham have been leading a renewed attack in Congress on the California high speed rail project in recent weeks. McCarthy's hometown paper, the Bakersfield Californian, has already editorialized that electeds should support HSR. Now they're joined by the Sacramento Bee:
No place in California stands to reap the rewards of high-speed rail more than the San Joaquin Valley.
That is why the opposition of U.S. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, is so puzzling.
By Steve Hochstadt
In May, Mitt Romney told an audience of big donors in Florida that 47 percent of Americans would vote for President Obama because they pay no income tax, are dependent on government, believe they are victims, and feel “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
Romney said these people are hopeless: “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
When a video of this speech was made public in September, Romney stood by his remarks. After he lost the election, he repeated this claim by attributing his defeat to the big “gifts” that Democrats had given and promised to “the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”
By Patrick M. Callan
Any Californian with a modicum of concern about the future of the state should be dismayed by the state's massive disinvestment in one of its major public assets. Since 2008, state and local support for public higher education has been reduced by $2.4 billion, a cut of nearly 20 percent. The passage of Proposition 30 creates a plateau on this downward path, but it will neither restore lost college opportunity to thousands of Californians nor assure the future availability of college access. It could, however, buy time and space for state and college leaders to undertake a long overdue reexamination of California higher education in the context of current and prospective state needs for a competitive workforce and for college opportunity.
By Christopher Allen
California Progress Report
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial on expanding the Medi-Cal program as a way to help California meet, or exceed, the requirements of the 2010 health care reform law now being phased into effect. Since part of the Affordable Care Act's primary purposes was to extend health coverage to the uninsured, the 2010 law requires states to find a way to add low-income individuals to the rolls of the insured. In most states, this would be done through the federal Mediaid program, with individuals earning less than 133% of the federal poverty line - or, effectively, 138% due to new methods of calculating eligibility - being covered under the new system.
By Carmen Balber
Reporters largely missed the point of a Commonwealth Fund study released last week, that looked at consumer savings under Obamacare's 80-20 rule, the rule making insurance companies spend at least 80% of your premiums on health care, not overhead.
The authors started with a fact we already knew - that health insurance companies had to pay $1.1 billion in rebates for missing the MLR requirement in 2011 - and that big shiny number distracted the news media. But the authors zeroed in on a much more important fact. Insurance companies successfully reduced administrative costs by $1.184 billion in 2011, but they used those savings to increase profits instead of passing them on to consumers.
By Robert Cruickshank
Last week I made the case for restoring democracy to transit funding decisions in California. A Democratic State Senator is proposing exactly that, offering a constitutional amendment that would reduce the requirement for passing a transit tax from 66.7% to 55%. But apparently some folks still seem to believe that a two-thirds requirement is somehow good for transit funding initiatives.
By Mike Males
Just-released 2011 arrest statistics from the state Criminal Justice Statistics Center show that pioneering legislation downgrading simple marijuana possession from a criminal offense into an infraction - an effort to deter passage of Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana outright - has detonated a revolution in California drug-law enforcement.
California's new arrest figures read like something out of a drug policy reformer's dream - but with unexpected twists (see graphics). Arrests for marijuana possession plummeted by 86%, from 54,900 in 2010 to 7,800 in 2011, abruptly reversing a two-decade trend of increasing marijuana misdemeanor arrests and returning numbers to levels not seen since before the Summer of Love.
By Dan Bacher
The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California will vote December 11 on a proposal including the raising of Shasta Dam as a "state legislative action priority."
The MWD staff recommends support for "administrative/legislative actions to remove existing prohibition for state funding to raise Shasta Dam."
I am not aware of any state legislation that has been already introduced to facilitate the raising of Shasta Dam.
By Jenesse Miller
With a dedication that may not immediately be associated with his job description as the state's chief fiscal officer, Controller John Chiang has been a leader in the fight to safeguard California’s environment.
Controller Chiang has worked to make California's finances more transparent and accountable to the public, and fought to weed out waste, fraud and abuse of public money. But what earned him the California League of Conservation Voter's Environmental Leadership Award at our annual gala event this week is his commitment to protecting the state's vast and precious natural resources for all Californians.