In summary

A collection of commentaries by Dan Walters over the past week.

Softer crime laws will loom large in Brown’s legacy

Jerry Brown’s second stint as governor of California has been marked by multiple legislative bills and ballot measures to soften the state’s penalties for those who commit crimes. Their effects, whether positive or negative, will be a big part of his political legacy.

Is maturity finally taking root in Capitol?

Legislative leaders decided to postpone action on legislation dealing with liability of utilities for wildfire damages, and that may be a signal that a more rational approach to policymaking is taking root in the Capitol.

Legislature’s sneaky procedures on display

California legislators routinely use two processes, the “suspense file” and “trailer bills,” to bypass full discussion and consideration of legislative proposals, and one big example, affecting the state’s criminal justice system, has backfired.

Legislative leaders want to milk more campaign money

The two leaders of the California legislators, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, want to re-establish centralized power in the Capitol and are sponsoring legislation that would give them vastly more power to raise and spend campaign funds.

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Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times...