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9.04.2012

Facebook Becomes a Bigger Drag on the State Budget

On September 4, Facebook shares closed at $17.73. After-hours trading did bring the share price back to $18.05, however. When the social media giant went public in May, the opening price was $38.00. Facebook’s steady erosion in share price has a direct impact on the state budget. Projections by Gov. Jerry Brown’s Department of Finance upon which the current budget is premised say in November Facebook stock will trade at $35. The Legislative Analyst’s estimate is $45. If those predictions are true then the state will pocket $1.2 billion, the Department of Finance says, and $2.1 billion by the analyst’s […]

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9.04.2012

The Assembly Plays Legislative Bingo

The last days of the Assembly session are filled with mischief and the passage of numerous bills with little or no debate. Listeners and viewers of the proceedings in the lower house during those final hours might have been struck by a largish number of seeming non sequiturs punctuating the speeches made by Assembly members. Not to worry. Their minds were not slipping — at least not any more than they already have.   Those zany, crazy Assembly cut-ups were just playing a little Legislative Bingo. Rules are so simple even a state lawmaker can follow them: Insert an assigned word […]

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8.31.2012

Brown Approves California’s First Off-Reservation Indian Casinos

In a major decision that could create far-reaching changes for Indian gaming in California, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed August 31 with federal authorities to allow two tribes to build large casinos on sites outside their reservations. “While I am reluctant to allow the expansion of gaming on land currently ineligible for it, I concur in your determination,” Brown wrote federal officials who had previously approved the tribes’ proposed gambling facilities. The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians in Mariposa County and the Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians in Butte County are the first California tribes allowed to operate casinos not […]

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8.31.2012

San Francisco Might Soon Have a “John Burton Highway”

Although as an Assembly member and senator he routinely opposed legislation naming parts of the state transportation system after lawmakers, dead peace officers or famous Californians, state Democratic Party Chair John Burton is likely to have a sliver of asphalt bearing his name. A unanimous vote by the Senate sent SCR 93 to Gov. Jerry Brown on August 30. The bill names a bridge over Interstate 905 in Southern California after Randy Sanchez, a Caltrans worker killed in a traffic accident in 2004, and designates Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco the “John Burton Highway.” Sloat runs east from the Great […]

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8.30.2012

Landmark Bill Banning Sexual Orientation Change Therapy for Minors On Governor’s Desk

Psychologists and psychiatrists would be banned from using therapies on minors to change their sexual orientation under legislation sent to Gov. Jerry Brown by lawmakers on August 30. The landmark measure would prohibit “reparative therapy” from being practiced on persons under the age of 18. “Few things are more offensive than child abuse and, frankly, that’s what these types of psychological treatments are,” said Sen. Ted Lieu, a Torrance Democrat, in a statement after the passage of his bill, SB 1172. “These attempts are quackery and this kind of psychological abuse of children must stop.” Reparative or conversion therapy is […]

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8.30.2012

Brown to Decide on Allowing Off-Reservation Tribal Casinos

Gov. Jerry Brown will decide August 31 whether two California Indian tribes can open two sprawling casinos not located on their lands. The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians in Mariposa County and the Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians in Butte County would be the first California tribes allowed to operate casinos not located on their tribal lands. Granting them that privilege could lead to future Indian casinos sited closer to urban areas. The U.S. Department of Interior has already approved the request of the 1,800-member North Fork Rancheria and the 800-member Enterprise Rancheria. North Fork wants to build a 2,500-slot, […]

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8.28.2012

A Statue of Ronald Reagan for California’s Capitol?

Among the measures lawmakers will be landing on Gov. Jerry Brown’s already well-piled desk is allowing a statue of President – and former California Governor – Ronald Reagan to be placed in the “new” section of the state Capitol. The statue’s design, placement and upkeep would be paid for by the Ronald Reagan Centennial Capitol Foundation, created last year to help celebrate the actor-turned-politician’s 100th birthday.  “A bronze statue of Jimmy Carter greets visitors in Atlanta, Georgia; John F. Kennedy in Boston, Dwight Eisenhower in Topeka and Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois,” said the bill’s author Assemblyman Curt Hagman, a […]

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8.23.2012

Space the Final Frontier — For Limited Civil Liability

A bill backed by the nascent commercial space industry would give those companies protection from lawsuits if they warn passengers that space flight is inherently dangerous. Supporters, like Virgin Galactic and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, say that reasonable liability protections will help grow their industry. “The human spaceflight industry and the jobs it creates require sensible regulation governing liability,” write Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company in support. Spaceflight companies would still be liable for injuries caused by gross negligence or ignoring a dangerous condition. The centerpiece of the measure – AB 2243 by Assemblyman Steve Knight, an Antelope Valley […]

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8.22.2012

State Releases 2012 High School Exit Exam Results

  California High School Exit Exam Results Show Continued Growth 95 percent of Students Meet Graduation Requirement LOS ANGELES—The percentage of students from the Class of 2012 meeting the California High School Exit Examination graduation requirement increased slightly over last year to 95 percent, marking the sixth straight year of improving performance, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.  “When 95 percent of California students are hitting the mark — despite the tremendous challenges we face and the work we still have to do — there’s an awful lot going right in our public schools,” Torlakson said. “I […]

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8.21.2012

California Seeks to Excise the “R-Word” — Sort Of

“Mentally retarded’ is supposed to be eliminated from all California laws and replaced with “intellectual disability” under a measure unanimously passed by the Senate August 21. That’s what supporters say the bill does. “Our state should not use outdated terms that spread negative stereotypes,” said Sen. Tony Strickland, a Thousand Oaks Republican who shepherded the measure through the Senate. But, because of state fiscal pressures, “mentally retarded’ will continue to appear in California’s code books, the phrase will just be “construed” to mean “intellectually disabled.” Known as the Shriver “R-Word” Act for the family’s decades of work with the intellectually […]

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