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January 10, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- USC politics professor and former Republican strategist Dan Schnur announced Friday that he will run for California secretary of state on a platform of proposals that includes banning lawmakers from campaign fund-raising while the Legislature is in session. A former spokesman to Republicans including  Gov. Pete Wilson and 2000 presidential candidate John McCain, Schnur dropped his Republican Party affiliation in 2011 and plans to run as a "no party preference" candidate.
January 7, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- Democrats in the state Senate want to use an upcoming jump in education funding to make transitional kindergarten available to every 4-year-old in California. The proposed investment in early childhood education, which would total nearly $1 billion a year once the program is fully phased in by 2020, is another sign of the state's rebounding financial health. "The era of cutting education in California is over," said Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento)
December 19, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- John Cox, a San Diego County real estate mogul, hates the way the California Legislature operates, so he wants to make it bigger. Much bigger. Cox heads the Rescue California Foundation, which on Thursday was cleared by the state to circulate petitions for a proposed ballot measure that would expand the Legislature from 120 members to 12,000 members, each elected from neighborhood legislative districts of 5,000 (for Assembly) to 10,000 (for Senate) residents. Under his plan, 100 legislators would be elected in each of the current legislative districts and would send one representative from each district to Sacramento to participate in working groups to draft bills and hold hearings.
December 6, 2013 | By Anthony York
SACRAMENTO -- California's second-largest Indian tribe could soon have its first casino under a deal signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The new compact allows the Karuk tribe to build and operate a gambling hall with up to 1,500 slot machines on a 10-acre parcel the tribe owns in Yreka, near the Oregon border. The group is also planning an adjacent 80-room, 48,000-square-foot hotel. The deal, which must be ratified by the Legislature, is the latest gambling accord signed by Brown, whose recent pacts have come under fire from lawmakers, other tribes and anti-gambling activists.
November 28, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Big issues in the workplace - wages, overtime, time off, working conditions - are also major topics in the state Legislature. And this year, lawmakers delivered some tangible changes that will be felt in the pocketbook. At the top of the list, of course, is an increase in the minimum wage that swept through Democrat-dominated Sacramento, despite opposition from powerful business interests. But workers didn't get all of their agenda passed into law. "We were able to improve upon existing protections as well as support workers in a number of new ways, including increasing the minimum wage," said Steve Smith, a spokesman for the California Labor Federation.
November 20, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - California's finances are improving faster than expected and schools could receive billions in extra funds next year, according to the Legislature's budget advisors. "The state's budgetary condition is stronger than at any point in the past decade," a report released Wednesday says. Higher-than-expected revenue, driven by the economic recovery and stock market gains, could pump more than $4 billion in unanticipated funds into schools and community colleges starting next summer, the report says.
October 20, 2013 | By David Zucchino
RALEIGH, N.C. - Roy Cooper is in a very lonely place. He's a Democratic state attorney general surrounded by conservative Republicans who control North Carolina state government. Now those Republicans have put Cooper in an awkward spot. He has publicly condemned GOP-sponsored laws on voter identification and gay marriage, yet must defend those same laws in court. Further complicating matters, Cooper plans to run for governor in 2016. That has prompted Republican charges that he's more interested in being governor than upholding North Carolina's laws.
October 20, 2013 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - It seems pretty simple: If a student has male genitalia, the kid uses the boys' bathroom. If there are female organs, then it's the girls' room. Right? But what if the student wears a skirt, makeup and lipstick, and has a penis? Which restroom then? California voters may be asked to answer that question next year in the November election. And it's not really so simple after all. What if a kid with a penis is standing at the boys' urinal wearing a dress and a pretty hair bow?
October 10, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - Irwin Nowick enters the stately Capitol building wearing a frayed T-shirt and carpenter jeans, a flip phone hanging from a belt holster and a manila envelope stuffed with legislation and legal documents in his hands. His dark eyes are rimmed with creases, earned from long hours hunched over a computer keyboard. The Legislature is scheduled to vet hundreds of bills and resolutions before the session ends, and it's Nowick's job to catch mistakes before they become law. Nowick begins his rounds this quiet Friday by dropping off recommendations to ensure three different pieces of gun control legislation don't cancel each other out. Then he shuffles off to a state senator's office, where he proofreads a resolution calling on the federal government to help alleviate prison overcrowding.
September 26, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The three federal judges who have ordered California to dramatically reduce its prison population have now pushed back their deadline by 30 days. The delay is both less and more than it seems. It's less, because it's nothing close to the three extra years that Gov. Jerry Brown said he would need to reduce overcrowding and to keep the number of inmates capped. Instead of facing a Dec. 31 compliance date, the governor and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation now have until late January.
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