Bill Reduces Ballot Measure Transparency

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Given their druthers, many government officials would prefer to do their business – our business, actually – behind closed doors and provide sanitized, self-serving versions of their actions after the fact. Journalists and governmental watchdogs struggle constantly to overcome the tendency toward secrecy and obfuscation, sometimes winning and often losing. Two years ago, in a […]

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Most ‘job killer’ Bills Already Dead

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Going into this year’s legislative session, it appeared that the California Chamber of Commerce’s long string of wins on bills it labels “job killers” might end. Over the previous two decades, the chamber and its allies in the business community had killed or neutralized about 90 percent of the bills on the annual list. In […]

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Vaccination, abortion debates intertwined

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

When Georgia and other red states enacted very tight restrictions on abortions, their political leaders obviously hoped to push the issue back into the U.S. Supreme Court and into the hands of the court’s newly strengthened conservative majority. However, the reignited political and legal conflict over when and how abortions may be performed could have […]

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Blue-state California now harassing journalists

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Let’s assume, hypothetically, that an independent journalist working in Washington somehow obtained a confidential FBI report on the death of a prominent Trump administration official that described its lurid circumstances, including the presence of a woman not his wife and the use of illegal drugs that caused, or at least contributed to, his demise. Let’s […]

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Can California crack its housing nut?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

The state Department of Finance reported this month that California, which has a stubborn and growing shortage of housing, added just 77,000 houses, apartments and condos in 2018. Actually, private and public housing developers drew permits for well over 100,000 units, and about that many were constructed. But a whopping 23,700 existing homes were burned […]

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Some Bills are Silly, and Some are Just Dumb

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Every session of the California Legislature generates some bills that can only be labeled as silly – that is, they defy common sense. One example this year is a bill that would abolish paper receipts at retail businesses, thereby requiring customers to supply their email addresses so merchants can send them electronic records of their […]

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‘Job Killer’ Bills May be More Difficult to Kill

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

For two decades, the California Chamber of Commerce’s annual descriptions of certain legislative bills as “job killers” have framed the Capitol’s sharpest economic conflicts. The chamber, working in concert with other business and employer groups, has been remarkably successful in modifying or killing the two or three dozen measures that find their way onto the […]

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Are Big Tax Increases Coming to California?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Gavin Newsom’s election as governor and the expanded Democratic Party majorities in the Legislature have raised hopes in some quarters and fears in others that big tax increases may be on the horizon. During his campaign for governor last year, Newsom pledged support for a variety of expensive public services, including universal health insurance coverage […]

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Slowing Economy Could Hit State Budget

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal, unveiled two months ago, took a surprisingly conservative approach, given his promises of high-dollar spending during his campaign for the governorship. While he proposed token appropriations to expand health insurance for the poor and pre-kindergarten care and education, his 2019-20 budget would devote most of the state’s hefty surpluses […]

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A Crackdown on Misusing Public Funds for Campaigns?

Dan Walters
Columnist, CALmatters

When Yuba County’s Board of Supervisors asked its voters to hike sales taxes last year, it wasn’t alone. Hundreds of California’s local governments, cities and counties primarily, were doing so, promising voters that the new revenues would be used to enhance popular services, such as parks, police and fire protection. Yuba officials also were not […]

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