Pension Reform Kicks Off Before California Supreme Court

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

For California Supreme Court watchers, this all may sound strangely familiar: A public agency is being sued by its unionized employees for fiddling with their pensions and the state’s highest court is now preparing to weigh in. At stake in the case is more than a single squabble over retirement benefits, but one of the […]

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Embrace the uncertainty: Waiting for results during California’s “election month”

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

As you read this article, Proposition 13, the $15 billion school construction bond either failed by a historically wide margin, or it didn’t. Likewise, Bernie Sanders bulldozed the competition, beating out California’s second place Democratic finisher, Joe Biden, by hundreds of thousands of votes. Or he didn’t. And turnout might have been historically high — […]

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Shenanigans? Under California’s primary rules, some campaigns boggle the mind

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Kathy Garcia is not your typical Republican candidate for the California Senate. For one, she only just joined the GOP. A lifelong Democrat, she won election to the Stockton school board member with the backing of the county Democratic party. She changed her affiliation to Republican in June 2019, six months before the deadline to […]

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Why California’s top court just struck down the state’s Trump tax return law

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Many constitutional law experts, former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Republican Party are now all officially entitled to say, “I told you so.” This morning the California Supreme Court unanimously struck down a new state law that would have required presidential candidates to publicly disclose their tax returns before appearing on the primary […]

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No-shows, endorsement spats and drag queens: What’s on tap at this weekend’s Democratic convention

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Like Comic-Con for progressive political nerds and consultants, the California Democratic Party’s biannual convention — one of the year’s largest gathering of like-minded partisans — will kick off in Long Beach this weekend with an estimated 5,000 attendees.  Some will be coming to snap selfies with presidential candidates, although for all the predictions of this […]

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Fact check: Do Californians really cool on ballot measures as the election approaches?

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

In 2020, California voters will be asked to weigh in on some of the most contentious and consequential issues facing the state — criminal justice reform, rent control, school construction funding and inequality. For those hoping to make sense of the deluge of political polls and they’re likely to see over the next year, consider […]

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Conservatives clap back against California in court — twice

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

It was a busy day for GOP-affiliated courtroom battles against the state of California. In the morning, conservatives sued the state claiming it was failing to “ensure that non-citizens are never placed on the voter rolls.” In the afternoon, they scored an early, anticipated victory to block a new state law that would require presidential […]

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Newsom cracks down on vaping — and asks the Legislature for help

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

California lawmakers ended the Legislative session without doing much on vaping. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is stepping in. This morning, the governor signed an executive order which he said would be “pushing the envelope” to regulate the burgeoning e-cigarette industry despite a lack of new legal authority from the state Assembly and Senate. “In the […]

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California’s political equivalent to Iowa’s corn ethanol? Democratic presidential wannabes haven’t found it yet

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

When presidential candidates spent time in Iowa (and they spend a lot of time in Iowa), they are expected to ingratiate themselves to the state’s 2.1 million registered voters by chowing down on deep fried foods and spending plenty of time talking about grain growing, trade policy and corn ethanol. With California Democrats now scheduled […]

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As Gun Control Efforts Advance in California Capitol, Opponents Bank on the Courts

Ben Christopher
Contributing Writer, CALmatters

Brian Jones may be a California state senator, but as a Republican with an expansive view of the Second Amendment, he’s all but given up hope of holding back the wave of gun-control bills advancing in the Democratic-dominated Legislature. Instead, like many like-minded advocates, he’s taking the fight to a more hospitable venue: the federal […]

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