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

In California Battles over Product Labels, Industry Usually Wins

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Nail polish and hair dye. Cleaning products. Plants and flowers for the garden. All of these could get new labels under proposals being considered by California lawmakers, triggering an annual conflict in the state Capitol over how much to tell people about what they buy at the store or use at work. The bills reflect […]

Read more

California’s next election will be a tug-of-war on education

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

Sandra Lowe reminisced about the good old days as she addressed a roomful of Democratic activists at the California party’s annual convention last week in Sacramento. It used to be, the teachers union leader told the crowd, that it didn’t take much to win a school board race: a short statement in the election handbook, […]

Read more

Kevin McCarthy, Trump’s Man in Congress

Laurel Rosenhall
Reporter, CALmatters

In the early morning hours of Saturday, January 28, the day after Trump signed his executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, congressman Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania, put in a call to Kevin McCarthy, the six-term Republican from Bakersfield, California, and majority leader of the House of Representatives. Among the […]

Read more