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Loni Hancock

A quarter-century after he charmed Woodstock with the anti-Establishment "Fixin' to Die Rag," Country Joe McDonald may be changing his tune from notes to votes. McDonald, once the lead singer for Country Joe and the Fish, is considering a run for the Berkeley City Council. "One, two, three, who are we voting for? That definitely will be my campaign slogan," he said. He joked that he was partly motivated by "the idea of having my own parking space," but said he's taking a possible race seriously.
July 13, 2005 | Mike Boehm, Times Staff Writer
Vying for scraps of state revenue, the arts fought the environment in Sacramento and the environment won. A bill written by state Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough) had aimed to boost the cash-starved California Arts Council, the agency that makes state government grants to the arts, by an estimated $1.5 million a year. The idea: Give the arts council all the income from vanity license plates emblazoned with a special design that arts-loving motorists can purchase for an extra fee.
October 7, 2013 | By Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- California lawmakers have scheduled a hearing Wednesday into the state's use of solitary confinement in its prisons, legislative action that was promised to encourage inmates to end their 60-day inmate hunger strike this summer over those practices. "The hunger strike made us look at these conditions, but they have been problematic for years,” Assembly Public Safety Chairman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said in a statement accompanying announcement of the hearing date.
August 24, 2012 | By Patrick McGreevy and Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO — Acting on nearly 200 proposals, state lawmakers Thursday advanced measures that would increase fines for texting while driving, allow voter registration on election day and restrict the ability of law enforcement to track people through their cellphones. The Senate passed and sent Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would require law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant before searching for someone's location and movements based on data in the person's cellphone or other wireless device.
October 9, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - California lawmakers grilled state prison officials about controversial isolation units Wednesday, saying policies allowing long-term solitary confinement of inmates are "beyond the pale. " The hearing was an outgrowth of a two-month hunger strike that began in July and involved thousands of inmates protesting prison conditions. "The issues that were raised during the hunger strike are real," said Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley). " They cannot be ignored. " There are slightly more than 4,000 inmates in isolation units at four prisons, according to state Inspector General Robert Barton.
September 17, 2013 | By Anthony York
Just after 9 on Monday night, Gov. Jerry Brown's legislative secretary Gareth Elliot picked up the phone and called a Hollywood studio executive. Elliot wasn't pitching a new movie. He was calling to tell Scott Budnick, an executive producer of "The Hangover" film franchise, that the governor had signed a bill giving juvenile offenders serving long sentences the right to parole after 15 years -- a measure that Budnick had been pushing in the Capitol halls in the final week of the legislative session.
January 24, 2006 | Dan Morain, Times Staff Writer
After taking a major role in defeating Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot initiatives last year, California nurses Monday proposed one that would strictly limit spending on political campaigns. The measure would ban corporate donations to candidates and to ballot-measure fights, and create a system of public financing for those running for office. Candidates who rejected the financing could accept only relatively small contributions -- $500 for legislative races, $1,000 for statewide offices.
December 7, 2005
AS IF THE RESULTS OF LAST month's special election weren't convincing enough, there is new evidence that the public is fed up with Sacramento. The Public Policy Institute of California surveyed 2,002 voters in the 12 days after Nov. 8 and, in various ways on various issues, it's clear: They're not happy. More than three-quarters of them, or 76%, don't like the way the governor and Legislature are working together. Three-fifths thought the special election was a bad idea.
April 21, 2004 | Jenifer Warren, Times Staff Writer
Backers of a bill to provide public financing of election campaigns scored a rare victory Tuesday when the controversial legislation passed its first test before an Assembly committee. Supporters said passage of the bill on a 4-2 vote in the elections committee marked the first time in more than two decades that a proposal for full public financing of elections had advanced in the Legislature. It still faces major hurdles. If it clears both houses and is signed by Gov.
August 25, 2008
Full public financing of elections is the Questing Beast of campaign reformers, those good souls who seek a way to cut the link between politicians and the businesses, unions and other groups that fund campaigns and expect something in return. The reformers' hunt is a noble one. They are attempting to rescue democracy, as it is practiced in this country, from the corrupting taint of money. They are trying to ensure that the basic unit of an election is the citizen's vote, not the donor's dollar.
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