CVIndependent

Sun10202019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Politics

06 Mar 2019
When California passed the nation’s first law to give consumers control over their personal data last year, legislators built in an unusual buffer—an extra year to change the law before it takes effect in 2020. Lawmakers and lobbyists are now making use of that time, submitting at least 20 bills in recent weeks that would adjust, tweak or perhaps ultimately gut California’s unique privacy protections. Privacy advocates are fighting to make the law even broader, while businesses and tech companies want to see it narrowed. The dynamic could force lawmakers to choose between constituents who overwhelmingly feel they have lost control of how their personal information is collected and used, and businesses (including many campaign donors) who argue that broad privacy protections could fundamentally damage…
28 Feb 2019
The turmoil in the for-profit college industry has affected California as much as any state, with the closures of major chains leaving thousands of students deeply in debt and their educations on hold. Meanwhile, the state agency in charge of regulating private colleges and vocational schools has struggled to enforce California law—and now lawmakers and agency officials are seeking to tighten oversight of the troubled sector. A package of seven bills unveiled by Democratic state legislators would make major changes to the standards for-profit colleges must meet to operate in California. One proposal, AB 1340, would bar schools from enrolling California students in programs designed to prepare them for careers if their students’ debt after graduation rises above a certain percentage of their incomes. It’s…
14 Feb 2019
A month after being inaugurated, Gov. Gavin Newsom used his State of the State speech on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to make his strongest showing yet that Jerry Brown is no longer in charge. He proposed scaling back two of Brown’s legacy projects—a high-speed train and a pair of tunnels to move water from north to south. He rescinded Brown’s deployment of California National Guard troops to the Mexican border. He voiced support for education and housing policies from which Brown stayed away. All leaders want to distinguish themselves, so it’s no shock that Newsom is carving his own path. California’s last several governors took office vowing to right the perceived wrongs of their predecessors. Brown himself, in his first term, was a change agent. But…
07 Feb 2019
In a little-noticed side impact of California’s 2018 law granting drivers the option of listing their gender as nonbinary, California’s Department of Insurance has decreed that auto insurance companies can no longer grant breaks in insurance rates to teen drivers who are female or charge young men more. Outgoing Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, in one of his final acts in office, issued a regulation last month prohibiting the use of gender in automobile-insurance ratings, similar to regulations in six other states. Jones’ replacement, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, supports that policy, saying in a statement: “Gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation are beyond your control, and it is not a fair or even an effective way to predict risk.” Jones’ regulatory action received coverage in The…
06 Feb 2019
California already has 109 laws on the books that regulate the use of firearms—more gun-control rules than any other state. More, it seems, are on the way. On Feb. 4, a Democratic contingent of lawmakers announced plans to send a raft of new gun-related bills to the governor before the end of the legislative session. The 16 lawmakers were joined by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a gun-control advocate and mass-shooting survivor, along with representatives of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. With Democrats now wielding unprecedented political power in Sacramento, including the recent election of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who embraces his role as public enemy of the National Rifle Association, the time seems ripe for a new legislative push. “We have expanded…
17 Jan 2019
What would you do with a $21.4 billion windfall? That’s essentially the question California is confronting amid record surplus projections during Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first year in office. On one hand, the former San Francisco mayor showcased his progressive agenda by setting ambitious goals for universal preschool, expanding health coverage for undocumented immigrants, and proposing the nation’s most-generous paid family leave program. On the other, Newsom made the case that he’s still being fiscally conservative by projecting a modest growth rate of 3.2 percent, socking billions more into the state’s rainy day fund, and paying down debt and public-employee retirement liabilities. “I think, arguably, it’s even more conservative in that respect than previous administrations,” Newsom said of his overall $209 billion state budget. The governor’s…
11 Jan 2019
In one of his first official actions, Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed state agencies, including the one that oversees Medi-Cal, to negotiate as a block to demand prescription drug-makers lower their prices. The move will make California the nation’s largest negotiator with pharmaceutical companies, and could become a model for other states—if it works. “Right now, with all the gridlock in Congress, we are seeing quite a bit of state action on prescription-drug pricing—and we hope that advances as much as it can until we can see some change in Congress,” said Peter Maybarduk, who specializes in medicine access at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. “California government has power,” he continued. “It is a large enough economy and large enough…
10 Jan 2019
You’d never know Eleni Kounalakis was taking an oath of office for an afterthought of a job that has been occupied by men who generally become answers to political trivia questions. As U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, four other members of Congress and numerous legislators looked on, Gov. Gavin Newsom swore Kounalakis in as California’s 50th lieutenant governor—the first woman to be elected as governor in waiting. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm served as master of ceremonies for the event at a packed Sacramento Public Library auditorium that bears the name of Kounalakis’ father, developer Angelo Tsakopoulos. No governor in recent memory had sworn in a lieutenant governor. In fact, most governors look upon lieutenant governors as upstarts to be kept at arm’s length. Governors…