In summary

Highlighting all of CALmatters’ work over the past week

Recent Articles

Shouts, tears and 67 ‘yes’ votes push police use-of-force standard through state Assembly

By Ben Christopher

Some legislators shouted. Others choked back tears. But after an hour and a half of speeches, the California Assembly passed what would be the nation’s strictest use-of-force standards in the country by an overwhelming margin.

Commutes, jobs at stake in California’s clean-air battle with Trump

By Rachel Becker

California transportation officials warn that the fight over passenger-vehicle standards might affect air quality, construction jobs and the economy—and ensure that Californians stay stuck in traffic.

The soul-crushing cost of college in California, explained

By Felicia Mello

The cost of a college degree is soaring in California, where public universities were once free. What happened? And what can be done for students and families?

A Game of College: Can you get into college and finish a degree without taking on too much debt?

By Delece Smith-Barrow, Felicia Mello, Jon Marcus and John Osborn D’Agostino

It’s your junior year of high school, and you want to go to college. You’ve heard your salary can be a lot higher if you have a bachelor’s degree, but getting into a good school is difficult and finishing college is even harder. Plus, school can be pricey, so you want to ensure you’ll get a good education with little to no debt.

Californians can be nation’s first to cast 2020 primary ballots—and that’s shaking up presidential race

By Ben Christopher

In the first vital weeks of the primary season, candidates will be wooing a population that is more diverse, more urban and much bigger than in the past. That’s thanks to California.

A rare tenant win and a lingering question: Why don’t California’s renters have more political punch?

By Matt Levin

California tenants just scored a rare victory in the state Capitol—emphasis on the rare.


California has a huge surplus. So why are legislators still trying to raise taxes?

By Robert Gutierrez

Two tax-increase measures have reached the floors of the Senate and Assembly. Both threaten to delete Proposition 13’s important taxpayer protections from the California Constitution. Put simply, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 and Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 would be taxes on California affordability.

We now have results for key laws advocates promised would ‘protect’ teenagers. They don’t.

By Mike Males

In 2016, fewer than 6% of California adolescents reported trying cigarettes, down from 19% in 2003. Why on earth did legislators feel the need to intervene in such a hugely positive youth trend? For no apparent reason, they did. The results aren’t pretty.

Don’t dumb-down smart speakers

By Courtney Jensen

Voice-recognition systems have streamlined our daily activities, from turning on the lights to important reminders about taking medications. Assembly Bill 1395 by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, a Republican from San Luis Obispo, could halt this technology’s advancement.

Secrecy abounds on state budget, major bills

By Dan Walters

Welcome to Sacramento, where the state budget is written in secret and decisions on important bills are made behind closed doors.

Many reasons why Sanders is wrong choice for California Democrats

By Tom Epstein

Democrats should cast a particularly critical eye on Sen. Bernie Sanders. Support for Sanders’ policies will decline under more intense scrutiny, especially his signature Medicare for All plan.

Trump pardon closes book on ‘Shrimpgate’ scandal

By Dan Walters

Donald Trump closes the book on California’s “Shrimpgate” scandal by pardoning former Assemblyman Pat Nolan.

Women are about to achieve a milestone in the state Senate

By Steve Swatt and Susie Swatt

With an expected Senate special election victory in June, the ranks of female political role models will inch higher at the Capitol and an even broader array of issues may gain attention. Still, when combined with the 2018 electoral successes, women will be fewer than one third of the 120-member Legislature.

A new front in battle over gig workers

By Dan Walters

The battle over California’s “gig economy” is underway in the Legislature, and a new front has been opened in the California Public Employees Retirement System.

California Assembly’s new rules have led to legislative censorship

By Jay Obernolte and Sharon Quirk-Silva

New Assembly rules provide the chairs of committees with the discretion to arbitrarily decide whether to set a bill for hearing or not, without any justification. While most committee chairs are even-handed and set all the bills that have been referred to them, this is not always the case. The saying, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” applies.

We should not be forced to pay for costly electricity we don’t need

By Michael Webster

Senate Bill 772 by Sen. Steven Bradford, a Gardena Democrat, would force publicly owned utilities and their ratepayers to pay for pumped hydropower storage, even if the utilities and their ratepayers don’t need it and would receive no benefit from it.

‘Fungibility’ means there’s no free lunch

By Dan Walters

“Fungibility,” as applied to politics, means there’s no free lunch despite politicians’ efforts to persuade us otherwise.

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