A nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California’s policies and politics

Laurel covers California politics for CALmatters, with a focus on power and personalities in the statehouse. Her weekly news analyses explain political dynamics in the Capitol and examine how money, advocacy and relationships shape the decisions that affect Californians. She joined CALmatters after more than a dozen years as a reporter for the Sacramento Bee, where she covered the influence of lobbyists on state government. Previously, she covered education for the Sacramento Bee, winning awards for stories that exposed unintended consequences of standardized testing and revealed abuses in the teacher pension system. Laurel is a native Californian and holds a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.


One wants to end the death penalty. The other thinks capital punishment is just. One campaigned for tax increases that the other opposed. One tried to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. The other helped elect President George W. Bush. What both men believe, however, is that Latinos—California’s largest ethnic group—suffer disproportionate levels of poverty in part because they barely turn out to vote. That common ground helps form the basis of an unlikely political alliance that could shape the 2018 race to determine the next governor of California. Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa—a former mayor of Los Angeles and speaker of the Assembly—has hired a Republican political consultant to work on his campaign to become California governor.

It’s an example of how the The Legislature’s exemption from the Whistleblower Protection Act has garnered attention in recent weeks, as a groundswell of women complaining of pervasive sexual harassment in the state Capitol publicly call for such protections for legislative employees. But the whistleblower act isn’t the only area of the law in which the Legislature has demonstrated a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality.

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