Ninth Circuit Decision Keeps the Focus on California

By Shannon Minter, Esq., and Christopher Stoll, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights

In a long-awaited decision, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in California, is unconstitutional. Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt authored the majority decision, which was joined by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins. The third judge, N. Randy Smith, dissented.

Brown Administration Will Implement Short-Term Delay In Medi-Cal Payments For Month of March

By Marty Omoto
California Disability Community Action Network

The Brown Administration announced yesterday that it will implement short-term payment delays of about 2 weeks to Medi-Cal institutional providers including long term care facilities, adult day health centers, and home health agencies, for reimbursements paid during the month of March, due to a temporary severe cash flow shortage that California is facing in the coming weeks. Some institutional providers are exempt from this delay and payments to Medi-Cal non-institutional providers, such as doctors, will not be held.

On Redistricting: The Court Gets It Half Right

By Peter Schrag

The California Supreme Court last Friday decisively rebuffed the Republican attack on the new state Senate maps drawn by California’s new independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. But the way it was done could invite as many future problems as it solved.

In so doing, Chief Justice Tani Cantil- Sakauye’s lengthy opinion in Vandermost v. Bowen was a perfect illustration of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter’s classic warning against courts wandering into the political thicket of the redistricting process.

In effect, while Friday’s unanimous decision kicked the Republicans out the door, at least for this year, it didn’t slam it against future attempts, even more frivolous ones, to manipulate a political process that the creation of the Commission was supposed to clean up.  

Federal Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction To Continue Blocking 20% Across-The-Board IHSS Cuts

By Marty Omoto
California Disability Community Action Network

A federal district court judge in Oakland, as expected, issued a court order that will continue blocking the Brown Administration and the federal government from taking any steps to implement the 20% across-the-board reduction in service hours for hundreds of thousands of children and adults with disabilities - including people with developmental disabilities - and seniors who receive In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS).

Investing in Clean Fuels Benefits Everyone

By David Pettit
Natural Resources Defense Council
The process to implement California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard has had an interesting month. In mid-December we achieved a great victory when California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously agreed to move forward with implementation of the low emission fuel standard. However, a couple weeks after the December 15th vote, a legal ruling was issued that might delay that progress. Following is an explanation of the LCFS and what the ruling means for the program’s future.
What is LCFS?

Federal District Court Judge Blocks 10% Medi-Cal Rate Cut For Pharmacies

By Marty Omoto
California Disability Community Action Network

US District Court Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles issued an order yesterday blocking any implementation of the 10% rate reduction to Medi-Cal pharmacies in a case brought by the Medicaid Defense Fund based in Novato on behalf of Medi-Cal recipients, Medi-Cal pharmacy providers and advocacy organizations. The 10% Medi-Cal rate reduction to most "fee for service" providers was proposed last January by the Brown Administration and passed by the Legislature on March 16th and signed into law on March 24th by the Governor as one of the early pieces of the 2011-2012 State Budget.

The preliminary injunction issued by the judge represents a major victory for persons with disabilities, mental health needs, the blind and low income seniors and families, and Medi-Cal pharmacy providers across the State and another legal setback for the Brown Administration.

Oral Argument in Proposition 8 Appeal Sets the Stage for Ninth Circuit Ruling

By Shannon Minter, Esq., and Christopher Stoll, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments on two issues in Perry v. Brown, the federal court challenge to Proposition 8. In that case, two same-sex couples are challenging Prop 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in California. Following a historic trial that took place in January 2010, now-retired Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. That ruling has been on hold while the proponents of Prop 8 appeal Judge Walker’s ruling.

The Grassroots Effort to Save Plummer Park

By Stephanie J. Harker
Protect Plummer Park

In the small City of West Hollywood, the council has seen fit, even in these difficult times, with California on the brink of bankruptcy, to push forward with a $41.3M renovation of historic Plummer Park. The plan includes gutting the park to install a $10Million underground parking structure, netting 69 extra spaces and necessitating the demolition of Great Hall/Long Hall, the only two WPA (President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration) structures in the city and decimation of Fiesta Hall designed by noted architect, Henry L. Gogerty.

Ammiano Calls Medical Marijuana Crackdown ‘Pure Thuggery,’ Asks Senators and Citizens To Speak Out

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Following yesterday’s press conference timed to coincide with the visit of President Barack Obama, San Francisco’s Democrat Assemblymember Tom Ammiano says he’s “pretty pissed off about this unwarranted attack,” referring to the multitude of federal raids orchestrated by the Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) on California’s medical marijuana dispensaries, their landlords and patients. 

The DOJ and federal prosecutors have said the raids are part of an effort to stop the proliferation of for-profit dispensaries and prescribe-for-pay doctor’s offices that have sprouted up in California communities with no local regulations for dispensaries of medical marijuana. 

US Supreme Court Hears Major California Medi-Cal Provider Rate Reduction Cases

By Marty Omoto
California Disability Community Action Network

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Monday in Washington DC on three cases dealing with 2008 and 2009 Medi-Cal provider rate reductions in California and whether or not Medi-Cal recipients, providers and advocates have a right to sue the State of California to stop those reductions as a violation of a federal Medicaid law.