Billionaires vs Teachers Union: Charter School Fight Amps up Race for California Governor

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

They are Democrats and Republicans. They are residents of California, New York and Arkansas. They have made fortunes in technology, real estate, retail and media. What do these billionaires have in common? They aim to shake up public education by promoting charters—schools that receive taxpayer funds but are not required to follow all the rules […]

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Lead Paint Makers Balk at Huge Bill for Toxic Cleanup—Instead They Want You to Pick up the Tab

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Three companies found to have sold toxic lead paint for decades—despite knowing it posed health hazards for children—are waging a major battle to avoid paying the several hundred million dollars in liability that California courts have slapped on them. And they’re asking you, the California voter, to help them get their way. After losing an […]

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So Very Jerry: Can you decode the governor’s speeches?

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Speech, someone quasi-famously said, is the mirror of the soul. Wait—you don’t recognize that observation made by the ancient Roman scribe Publilius Syrus? Bet your governor would. This week Jerry Brown delivers his 16th annual State of the State address—a record unparalleled by any governor in California history. If true to form, his speech will […]

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Backlash ripples through California politics after women denounce sexual harassment

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

With sexual harassment and assault allegations ricocheting through the state Capitol, two female lobbyists say they soon faced the consequences of speaking out—a state senator who suddenly wanted to avoid meeting with them. A client of theirs relayed that the senator wanted women excluded from a meeting at a nearby watering hole. The reason: The […]

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Lawmakers to Californians: Do as we say, not as we do

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

With a declaration that “public servants best serve the citizenry when they can be candid and honest without reservation in conducting the people’s business,” lawmakers passed the California Whistleblower Protection Act in 1999. The idea was to protect workers who report misconduct, so that they can blow the whistle on bad actors without losing their […]

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Top 3 Surprises at Forum of Democratic Candidates for Governor

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Four Democrats vying to become the next governor of California faced off for the first time Sunday at a forum in Anaheim hosted by a union for health care workers. The discussion focused largely on health care and labor issues—but it also gave the public the first glimpse at the intra-party dynamic that may shape […]

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Oil Biz pulls Democratic Lawmakers through the revolving door

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Inside the California Assembly chamber on the night of June 1, the presiding officer urged lawmakers to recognize former members in their midst, “the honorable Henry Perea and Felipe Fuentes.” In a familiar Capitol ritual, the former assemblymen waved from the balcony as applause rang out from their one-time colleagues. But the two weren’t just […]

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What a difference three days makes: How voters shook up California’s Legislature

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Something was different this year. As lawmakers in Sacramento approached the last night of their session—the final opportunity to pass or kill bills for the year—they had had three days to figure out how to vote. Three days may not sound like much, given the magnitude of the decisions involved in shaping policy for 39 […]

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The Suspense Files: California bills vanish almost without a trace

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Shortly after last year’s presidential election, Democrats in the California Legislature drew headlines by introducing a flurry of bills attacking “fake news.” They called for more resources to teach media literacy, so public school students could better discern facts from the kind of bogus stories that proliferated online during the campaign. Yet in the months since, all […]

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After legalizing weed, California’s black market could remain huge

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Legalizing marijuana, California voters were told last year, would create a “safe, legal and comprehensive system” allowing adults to consume the drug while keeping it out of the hands of children. Marijuana would be sold in highly regulated stores, the Proposition 64 campaign promised, and California would gain new tax revenue by bringing the cannabis […]

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