Recent Articles


A political firestorm is about to hit the Capitol: Who will pay for wildfire damages?

By Laurel Rosenhall

In Sacramento, the biggest fights are over wildfire liability—who pays for billions of dollars of damages that result from the loss of so many homes, businesses and lives?—and how much utilities like PG&E can pass liability costs onto their customers.

Can Democrats shield Californians from new GOP tax law—despite IRS opposition?

By Antoinette Siu

California Democrats have either concocted a clever way to thwart the Trump administration’s tax plan by gaming the tax credit programs, or they’re engaging in magical thinking.

Power play: How California lawmakers are trying to navigate a changing energy landscape

By Julie Cart

Bills to manage California’s power supply await the Legislature when it returns from July recess. At issue is the state’s ability to provide electricity consistently, even when an unexpected demand or oversupply arises.

Native American tribes clash with UC over bones of their ancestors

By Felicia Mello

Some Native American tribes accuse the University of California of delaying the legally required return of bones, and are pushing state legislation to force UC to speed its efforts.

WhatMatters


Who’s going to pay for the fires

By Dan Morain

California legislators confront the question of how to pay for fire damage. Should PG&E be relieved of costs related to devastating 2017 wildfires, and should the law be changed for future fires?

Why greenhouse gas emissions fell

By Dan Morain

The Air Resources Board announced greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2016, even as fuel consumption increased. The main reasons: Greater use of solar, wind and hydropower.

Altering the balance of campaign power

By Dan Morain

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, not yet 28, urges ‘bold and tangible’ solutions to help get people to turn out to vote, including $500 universal basic income payments to working poor.

Why rich people leave California. Or don’t

By Dan Morain

New research shows California’s high income tax rate has not driven wealthy people to move to low-tax states, despite low-tax advocates’ claim to the contrary.

Be prepared to reduce water use. Here’s why

By Dan Morain

California Water Resources Control board is on the verge of ordering significant reductions in water use to save fish in what chairwoman Felicia Marcus calls a crisis.

Commentary


Legislature may erase embarrassing boondoggle

By Dan Walters

The North Coast Railroad Authority has consumed tens of millions of taxpayer dollars but never delivered on its promise to resurrect rail service north of San Francisco Bay. Finally, the Legislature is poised to abolish it.

A supermajority that hinges on one seat

By Dan Walters

Democrats are likely to regain their two-thirds “supermajority” in the state Assembly this year. Whether they also enjoy that dominance in the state Senate depends on the outcome of one contest in rural California.

Unintended consequences of new privacy law?

By Dan Walters

California legislators passed a hastily drafted bill purporting to protect Californians’ personal and financial data from exposure and exploitation. But it could run afoul of the law of unintended consequences.

Coy about taxes and pension costs

By Dan Walters

As local government officials ask voters for tax increases, they are reluctant to tell them that the extra revenue is needed to cover pension costs. But one city is not being coy about it.

Resistance State


California’s gone without higher ed affirmative action since 1996. Black enrollment at top UCs never recovered.

By Felicia Mello

While the Trump administration caused a stir when it reversed policies encouraging affirmative action in higher ed, California’s public universities have been banned from using race in admissions for more than a decade—with striking results.

CALmatters Blogs


WATCH: Governor candidates on how they would tackle California wildfires

By Byrhonda Lyons

Rivals for the governor’s office Gavin Newsom and John Cox agree that wildfires pose an alarming threat to California—but what would they do to prevent and combat them? Here’s what they told us.

Latest Capitol harassment case: Sexual talk by GOP Assemblyman Devon Mathis

By Laurel Rosenhall

A Republican from the Central Valley is the latest California lawmaker found to have violated the Capitol’s sexual harassment policy. An investigation found that Assemblyman Devon Mathis of Visalia made frequent sexual comments, but determined there is not enough evidence to prove more serious allegations of sexual assault.

Turnout climbed to 37% in California’s primary—here’s the who, where and why

By Ben Christopher

California turnout topped 37 percent in the June primary—but there were wide variations that help explain the oversized power of certain slices of the electorate.