Allen, Christopher


Governor Proposes Pivotal 2013 Budget, Boosts to Medi-Cal, Schools

By Christopher Allen
California Progress Report

California Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his 2013-14 budget proposal yesterday, declaring that the state's lean years of budget deficits are over. In place of dramatic spending cuts, the governor's $97.6 billion dollar plan instead offers modest boosts to school funding, along with an expansion of the Medi-Cal program as the state transitions to its Covered California health benefit exchange in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act.

Tougher Gun Control Laws on the Horizon in California

By Christopher Allen
California Progress Report

Following the horrific mass-shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a number of California lawmakers are pressing forward with legislation to clamp down on the regulation of certain types of firearms, ammunition or gun magazine technology in the Golden State.

Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) has reintroduced legislation that would ban the use of "bullet button" or "mag magnet" magazines that allow the rapid replacement of empty gun magazines with full ones by the pressing of a button. The bill would also prohibit the sale and use of add-on kits that would enable the use of high-capacity magazines.

Democrats to Balance Supermajority Power and Budget Needs with Voter Scrutiny

By Christopher Allen
California Progress Report

A piece in the Sunday New York Times by Adam Nagourney highlighted the new supermajority status of California's Democratic Party, and the fact that lawmakers and the executive branch are wary of the potential voter backlash if Democrats flex their new political muscle too aggressively on issues of new taxation aimed at closing the state's still-considerable revenue gap. Despite a legislature long-dominated by the Democratic Party, this degree control by one party has not been seen in the state for over three-quarters of a century. As Nagourney notes:

This does not appear to be a passing advantage. Even Republicans say that changes in electoral demographics mean that, with the exception of a few brief lapses caused by vacancies, Democrats could hold a supermajority at least through the end of the decade.

Yet in the "be careful what you wish for" department, Democrats are beginning to confront the struggles and complications that come with being in charge of the store. This authority came at least two years earlier than most Democrats had projected. And it is unleashing years of pent-up Democratic desires - to roll back spending cuts, approve a bond issue to rebuild the state's water system, amend the state's tax code, revamp California's governance system - that had been largely checked by the Republican minority.

Medi-Cal Expansion Floated as New Policy Shift for California

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.