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.


After an artistic career that propelled him from the south side of Chicago to poetry nights in the Obama White House, the 45-year-old rapper Common is now working to influence state policy. A resident of Los Angeles, Common is trying to change the criminal justice system in California.

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