Recent Articles

Deal: California poised to pass one of nation’s toughest police use-of-force standards

By Laurel Rosenhall

A historic deal to reduce police shootings will give California one of the nation’s highest lethal force standards. Key will be defining “necessary force.”

Industry aims to extinguish bills that would make California first state to ban flavored tobacco

By Elizabeth Aguilera

As legislation to outlaw the sale of flavored-tobacco products flounders in the California Legislature, health advocates blame the influence the tobacco industry has with key state lawmakers. Vaping has skyrocketed among middle and high schoolers, many of whom are attracted by the sweet flavors. E-cigarette manufacturers such as Juul Labs in San Francisco say their products are intended only for adults and help them quit traditional cigarettes.

“If you think the system works, you’re dead wrong”: a discussion on mental health in California

By Ben Christopher

A physician, an advocate, a public health specialist, a suicide-attempt survivor and a California state lawmaker gathered in downtown Sacramento to offer their diagnosis of the state’s mental health system. The consensus: “We need to start from scratch.”

With CA’s most closely watched housing bill on life support, what’s next?

By Matt Levin

On this emergency episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” CALmatters’  Matt Levin and the Los Angeles Times’ Liam Dillon discuss why SB 50 failed, and what it means for other housing legislation going forward this year.

Why California’s efforts to limit soda keep fizzling

By Laurel Rosenhall

After the beverage industry blocked local soda taxes, health advocates in California tried a statewide measure. Here’s why Big Soda is winning anyway.

Mischief managed? Push for 4 a.m. last call gets a fresh shot with winemaker Gavin Newsom

By Adria Watson

A bill that would allow 10 California cities to extend last call at bars from 2 to 4 a.m. has a fresh shot at making it to the governor’s desk. Will Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 58 get a friendlier reception from winemaker-turned-governor Gavin Newsom?

Cal Chamber-backed study says service tax would disadvantage California businesses

By Judy Lin

Some say California’s economy would be more stable if we taxed the services of lawyers, accountants and consultants. A study backed by the California Chamber of Commerce disputes that.

Democrats in California have all the power—and much of the turmoil

By Ben Christopher

You might think a political party racked by scandal, facing three lawsuits and riven with infighting would be in a bad spot politically. But, according to plenty of close observers, the California Democratic Party is doing just fine.

Should public pensions invest in Uber and Lyft? Sure, says the man who pushed to divest in guns

By Judy Lin

John Chiang says California’s public pensions should stay invested in Uber and Lyft to improve worker benefits.

Death Watch: The bill killer is in the house

By CALmatters

We’re tracking which bills lawmakers are rejecting as the Legislature hits the halfway point for making new laws this year.

Why California’s air board won’t ban gas-powered cars yet

By Rachel Becker

Mary Nichols, the powerful head of the California Air Resources Board, didn’t even need to explicitly threaten a ban on gas-powered cars last week to get the attention of carmakers.

Charter school curbs pass Assembly, but drama foretells compromise

By Ricardo Cano

A major bill to curb the growth of charter schools in California was narrowly approved in the Assembly on Tuesday, but compromise appeared likely as moderates who let it proceed to the Senate called for a less hard line.

Commentary

Service tax proposal is a veiled tax increase

By Loren Kaye

Some California legislators are considering a sales tax on services. A services tax won’t reduce California’s budget volatility and would worsen the state’s affordability crisis. With record budget surpluses, talk of new taxes should be political malpractice.

Legislation seeks to outsmart ‘smart’ speakers

By Jordan Cunningham

Smart speakers and tech companies have the capability of recording your conversations, even when you may think the device is turned off. Privacy in the home is at risk as this exciting technology proliferates.

A charter school moratorium won’t help California schools

By Nick Melvoin

Rather than focusing on a decades-old political fight between charter and district schools, the Legislature should work on reforms that would help traditional public school districts by removing barriers that prevent schools from innovating and improving.

Trump doing California a bullet train favor

By Dan Walters

President Donald Trump wants to claw back the federal money for California’s bullet train project and may be doing the state a favor.

Can California crack its housing nut?

By Dan Walters

California has a big shortage of housing, and a controversial proposal shows it’s a tough political nut to crack.

Blue-state California now harassing journalists

By Dan Walters

Now we have a second instance in which California law enforcement officials try to crack down on journalists who obtained information the officials didn’t want them to have.

California gets a hollow win in tax battle

By Dan Walters

As California prevails in its tax battle with inventor Gilbert Hyatt, the Supreme Court’s ruling for the state in his case could foretell a battle over abortion rights.