April 12, 2013 |
Should California judges be able to ask lawyers for help in lobbying Sacramento against cuts to the courts' budgets? Many judges and lawyers just assumed the answer was yes. Why wouldn't they be able to? Nobody is better acquainted with the trouble caused by court budget cuts than judges, who see firsthand the result of closing courthouses and restricting hours of access. But lawyers, especially litigators who do so much of their work in the courtroom, run a close second. Why shouldn't judges be able to ask influential attorneys at big firms (the same people who dole out a lot of political donations to political candidates)
April 11, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - With a new political advocacy group that plans to inject millions of dollars into shaping public policy coast to coast, Mark Zuckerberg is taking a significant step onto the political stage, expanding his influence far beyond his home turf in Silicon Valley. The billionaire founder and chief executive of Facebook made it official Thursday that he plans to take on a far more visible national role in launching Fwd.us, which will lobby for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform, investments in scientific research and higher educational standards.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 8, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - A new California judicial ethics committee has issued its first formal opinion, deciding that judges may solicit attorneys to lobby for funding for the courts. The Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions, responding to a request from an undisclosed person, said Friday that judges may ask lawyers to write op-ed pieces and lobby the community and the Legislature about court budget cuts as long as the request is not coercive. "In presenting information and requesting assistance, a judge may not hint of retribution or bias against an attorney or firm for not acquiescing in the request or otherwise place pressure on an attorney to assist," the written opinion said.
April 3, 2013 |
What's most impressive about our highly dysfunctional heathcare system is that we're always finding clever new ways to make it worse. The latest such move comes on the Medicare front, where lawmakers had been trying to rein in costs by modestly lowering the amount that large insurers would be paid for managing Medicare Advantage plans, which are a private-sector version of the government program. The Obama administration had proposed a 2.3% reduction in payment for the plans, arguing that insurers were making plenty of profit as it was. But after the insurance industry unleashed its lobbyists and started throwing its considerable political muscle around, it ended up not with a pay cut from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but a 3.3% increase . I have no idea what the correct reimbursement rate should be. But I do know that, as the baby boomers age, Medicare represents a cash cow for insurers with Medicare Advantage plans.
April 1, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - California businesses and other special interests quickly learn that playing politics in the ornate chambers of California's Capitol building is more like a barroom brawl than a civics lesson about how bills become laws. Here's a peek behind the everyday chaos in Sacramento as businesses dispatch hired-gun lobbyists to vie for lawmakers' attention and votes. The numbers are daunting: This year, 1,526 registered lobbyists are stalking the halls and hearing rooms in the service of 2,410 clients.
April 1, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- California businesses and other special interests quickly learn that playing politics in the ornate chambers of California's Capitol building is more like a barroom brawl than a civics lesson about how bills become laws. Most days, businesses large and small dispatch squads of hired-gun lobbyists to vie for lawmakers' attention and votes. And that lobbying doesn't come cheaply. Last year special interests reported spending $277.5 million on such advocacy, according to the Secretary of State's office.