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August 28, 2013 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - Improved government accountability and transparency were the focus of several bills that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Wednesday. One directs the Department of Finance to guide monitors of state agencies to ensure they are independent and objective in scrutinizing agency operations. State agencies have been required to have independent monitors keeping an eye on accounting and administrative practices since 2011. Assembly member Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) said his bill, AB 117, would help flesh out the role such monitors play.
August 10, 2013 | Steve Lopez
There is little in Andy's appearance or manner that offers a clue as to what he's been through. The arrests, the jailhouse beatings, the commitments. He's soft-spoken and unassuming, so much so that the story of his life doesn't seem to go with the man who tells it. I ask how many times he's been locked up, and now a hint of distress creeps into his eyes. "Maybe 20," he shrugs, adding that he's been in mental institutions nearly as many times. Andy emailed me after I wrote about a visit to L.A. County Jail, which houses about 3,200 inmates diagnosed with a mental illness.
June 20, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
On the drawing board, enterprise zones were a good idea. The state identified 40 economically distressed parts of the state where businesses would get tax breaks if they located there and hired local workers. They would be good for small companies: Tax credits for them could make the difference between staying in business or failing. They would be good for many workers: Employers who otherwise wouldn't give them a second look would instead give them training and job opportunities. They would be good for disadvantaged communities: Areas that were economically distressed would be able to demonstrate that they were good for business, could attract more employers and move more people from the unemployment rolls to the tax rolls.
May 28, 2013 | By Amy Kaufman
Thank goodness this thing is back, guys. Monday nights were getting really hard. I was biding my time watching “Newlyweds: The First Year” on Bravo, and let me tell you, that show does not inspire hope in everlasting love. Luckily, Desiree is here to restore my hope in fairy tales and rainbows and unicorns and love. That's right, this season's theme is Cinderella -- Des' journey from rags to riches. It's a little cliche, but hey, at least it's not “On the Wings of Love.” (Jake Pavelka: You still haunt my dreams.)
May 20, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Hoping to build on momentum for changing the country's immigration laws, busloads of immigrants from throughout California are descending on Sacramento on Monday to push for a half dozen bills at the state level. About 500 immigrants from as far away as San Diego are expected to participate in Monday's 17 th  annual Immigrant Day, meeting with lawmakers and their staffs to advocate for priority bills, according to Reshma Shamasunder, executive director of the California Immigrant Policy Center.
May 4, 2013 | Melinda Fulmer
Do you want rocking abs this spring? Try this popular CrossFit move to strengthen your entire core. Demonstrated by Cassey Ho of Blogilates, one of You Tube's most popular fitness channels, this Pilates-inspired move is challenging but also fun, once you get moving. -- What it does It recruits your abdominal muscles to pull your body up and rock it back and forth. -- What to do Lie flat on your back on a thick mat or carpeted floor with legs extended. Extend your arms long behind your head and clasp your hands.
April 29, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - California's $8-an-hour minimum wage needs to go up, says Watsonville Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo. And he may be getting the votes he needs to make it happen. But don't count on it; Alejo has tried this before. Alejo is the author of AB 10, which would give the Golden State its first minimum wage increase since 2008. The bill would raise it 25 cents an hour next year, 50 cents in 2015 and an additional 50 cents to $9.25 an hour in 2016. In 2017 and annually thereafter, hourly pay would be adjusted upward automatically, based on the state's inflation rate.
April 8, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
A California lawmaker and undergraduates concerned about record student-loan debt are rallying at the Capitol today for measures to protect those attending universities from going too deeply into hock. Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) is joining the students to seek support for a package of bills he has introduced. One bill, AB 233, would prevent wage garnishing on student loans not made or guaranteed by the government, while AB 534 would require universities to provide entrance and exit counseling to students regarding institutional or state-funded loans.
April 7, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Finally, there's legislation that proposes reasonable solutions to the tortuous procedure for firing the worst teachers in California. The teachers who routinely screen movies instead of giving instruction, who denigrate their students, ignore them, harass them or even physically abuse them - yet who can appeal the firing process for years, during which the schools still must pay their salaries. Several reform-oriented bills went overboard to fix this. Under one, teachers suspected of abusive behavior would have had no avenue to appeal their dismissal.
March 27, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores, Los Angeles Times
Proposed legislation to raise the state minimum wage could eliminate tens of thousands of jobs and harm the California economy, a small-business advocacy group said. The measure, AB 10, could wipe out more than 68,000 jobs over 10 years and cost $5.7 billion in lost production of goods and services, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business. More than 63% of the lost jobs would be in the small-business sector, NFIB researchers said.
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