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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Republicans Voting for Cap-n-Trade Say it’s Good for Business

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


Minutes after a bipartisan coalition of California lawmakers voted to extend the state’s landmark climate change policy for another decade, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown stood in front of a bank of television cameras and compared the plan to one championed 30 years ago by GOP icon Ronald Reagan. Back then, the Republican president helped negotiate […]

Read more

Trailer Bills Let California Lawmakers Slip New Policies into Budget

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


California senators were deep in heated debate about a small but politically explosive attachment to the state budget last week when a Riverside Democrat could be heard to suddenly channel Forrest Gump. “Trailer bills,” said Sen. Richard Roth—referring to pieces of legislation tied to the budget but sometimes bearing little connection to it—“are a box […]

Read more

Foam Fight: As California Balks at State Ban, Activists Target Local Level

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


Foam burger boxes and ice cream cups could eventually go the way of the flimsy plastic shopping bag—banned throughout California. It’s not likely to happen this year. Environmentalists who push for the bans lost a big fight last month when the Legislature voted down a bill that would have banned foam takeout containers statewide. But growing pressure […]

Read more