In summary

Highlighting all of CALmatters’ work over the past week

Recent Articles

The governor goes to Central America

By CALmatters

Keep up with the latest news from California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s trip to El Salvador, his first international visit as the state’s chief executive.

A slew of firsts in Gov. Newsom’s weekend trip to El Salvador

By Ben Christopher and Elizabeth Aguilera

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s trip to El Salvador, which he embarks on this weekend, is full of firsts: The first time Newsom has left the United States in his official capacity as governor. The first time any California leader has taken an official trip to the Central American republic, or justified travel abroad as a fact-finding mission to learn more about a refugee crisis. And depending on whom you ask, it’s a gubernatorial study-abroad trip, a humanitarian and diplomatic mission or grandstanding on a global scale.

A year into Trump’s trade turmoil, an iconic California industry struggles to resist

By Martha Groves

So far, the worst-case scenario has not come to pass, and some products, such as pistachios, have dodged Trump’s trade-war bullet. But the damage has not been insignificant to California’s economy.

Beyond the tampon tax: How far will California go to end “menstrual inequity”?

By Elizabeth Aguilera

A closely watched bill to end the “tampon tax” is one of several efforts to get the state to remedy “period poverty” and “menstrual equity.” Advocates also want the state to ensure tampons and pads are provided as freely as toilet paper in public schools and universities, government buildings and prisons.

Are in-law units the secret solution to the state’s housing shortage?

By Matt Levin

California lawmakers have pitched dozens of bold, high-profile solutions to California’s affordable housing shortage. But for all the big-picture housing legislation that has actually become law over the past few years, so far the solution that’s proved most immediately effective at providing new housing has been rather small in size: Accessory Dwelling Units, colloquially known as in-law units or granny flats.

VIDEO: How to fireproof California, explained

By Byrhonda Lyons

After years of catastrophic wildfires, California lawmakers and taxpayers are eager to protect the state—but it won’t be easy. It’s expensive. It will take time. And Californians will have to think of fire not just as a destroyer, but also as a tool.

California’s worsening wildfires, explained

By Julie Cart and Judy Lin

In California, wildfire season is nearly year-round. CALmatters explores why, and what could help fireproof the state.

Kamala Harris backs idea to unionize child care workers

By Ben Christopher

It was a brief, unscripted moment for the presidential candidate in what was to be a fairly conventional campaign stop. But it was a notable one.

Private colleges wary as California legislator calls for crackdown on legacy admits

By Felicia Mello

A bill by Assemblyman Phil Ting would bar colleges and universities from receiving state financial aid if they give preference to applicants with ties to alumni or donors. It’s already raising alarm among the state’s private colleges.

Introducing Force of Law, a new podcast on the debate over police shootings in California

By Laurel Rosenhall

Force of Law, our new narrative podcast series, will follow the heated debate in the state Capitol this year over legislation that would give California the nation’s toughest statewide standard for justifying deadly force.

Episode One: Cycles

By Laurel Rosenhall

The first episode of Force of Law delves into how California got to this point, looking back at the decade since police shot and killed Oscar Grant in Oakland and the momentum created by last year’s death of Stephon Clark in Sacramento.


A crackdown on misuse of taxpayer money?

By Dan Walters

Using public funds for political campaigns is illegal, but it’s a widespread practice in California. New legislation would put teeth in the law by authorizing the Fair Political Practices Commission to enforce it.

Date rape isn’t a violent crime in California. Seriously

By Nina Salarno Besselman

Thousands of inmates with records of violent and serious crimes have already been released from California prisons, and thousands more are now eligible for early release, including child molesters and sex offenders. The “Keep California Safe” initiative on the 2020 ballot would change that.

California politicians disrespect our rights

By Dan Walters

California politicians often ignore constitutional rights as they make new laws, and federal judges have to remind them that Californians are also U.S. citizens who are protected by the Bill of Rights.

After 40 years, let’s finally reform Proposition 13

By Lenny Goldberg

Proposition 13 of 1978 brought about a seismic shift in governance in California.  In 2020, 42 years after Proposition 13’s passage, voters will have an opportunity to reform the 1978 initiative by requiring that commercial and industrial property owners pay their fair share.

Three months in, Newsom has only tepid approval

By Dan Walters

Three months into his governorship, Gavin Newsom enjoys only tepid support from the voters who elected him.

To deal with homelessness, California must make room for sobriety

By Dawn Davison, Scott Kernan & Michele Steeb and By Sandy Sengon

Under the “housing first” model, programs that require sobriety or engagement in life-improvement services are ineligible for government funding. This is a travesty for people seeking to escape the hold of drug addiction, and a threat to their children. Already traumatized children should not be placed in housing where drug use is permitted.

Cannabis companies are forced to deal in cash. Here’s how that could change

By Bob Hertzberg

Cannabis businesses make tens of thousands of dollars each week. They can’t put it in a bank account, so where do they turn? One business owner I’ve talked with stores over $1 million in a tractor trailer with 24-hour surveillance. Senate Bill 51 would help change this by allowing cannabis businesses to open bank accounts.

Gathering storm: What California must learn from the Midwest floods

By Jacob Katz

Sacramento is among the cities in the country with the greatest risk of catastrophic flooding. The destructive power of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, Super-storm Sandy and the bomb cyclone that hit Nebraska in March are yet more evidence climate change is upon us. We must adapt. We must prepare.

Election results fuel war on charter schools

By Dan Walters

The California Teachers Association and other elements of the education establishment want to block charter schools, and last year’s elections will make it easier.

California students can help renew our democratic spirit. Here’s how

By Michael Latner

Our democratic spirit desperately needs to be replenished. Empowered with the tools to develop civic virtue, our students can lead the next voting-rights revolution, bringing us out of the shadows of our current predicament and closer to the ideal of a more perfect Union.

California can’t save fish by diverting more water from rivers

By John McManus

Recent decades have brought the slow collapse of the Delta and salmon runs. A half-dozen species face extinction. Lacking natural flushing, the Delta now suffers outbreaks of toxic algae. Science points to a clear cause: inadequate flows caused by excessive diversions.

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