In summary

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

War over bail bonds has only just begun

The Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown enacted landmark legislation that eliminates cash bail for criminal defendants and substitutes a system of evaluating pre-trial flight risk. However, the legislation is just the opening salvo of a multi-front legal and political war over the issue.

Congressional seats could hinge on voter turnout

Voter participation is the key to whether Democrats score big in California congressional races. Republicans hope a gas-tax repeal measure will lure GOP voters to save targeted seats.

Another conflict brewing over work disability costs

A 2012 “reform” overseen by Gov. Jerry Brown reduced employers’ costs of compensating workers for job-related disabilities, However, those costs are still very high relative to those in other states, and another round in the perpetual political war over the system will face Brown’;s successor, almost certainly Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Labor shortage could slow California’s economy

With a strong economy, California has a very tight labor market with many jobs going unfilled. A low “workforce participation rate” and high housing costs that discourage migration exacerbate the worker shortage and could slow the state’s economic growth.

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Dan Walters has been a journalist for more than 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...