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Cesar Chavez’s Home Now Also A State Historic Landmark

United Farmer Workers leader César Chávez’s home and burial site — Nuestra Señora Reina de La Paz will become a state historic landmark under legislation signed October 8 by Gov. Jerry brown.

Located in Keene, about 30 miles southeast of Bakersfield, the 187-acre site was designated both a National Monument and a National Historic Landmark by President Obama exactly one year ago. 


The bill – AB 34 by Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, a West Covina Democrat – also requires the state Office of Historic Preservation to identify other historical sites associated with the labor and civil rights Read more »



Ten years Ago Today — California’s First Recall Election

On October 7, 2003, California voters removed Gov. Gray Davis from office and replaced him with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Davis, a Democrat, was the first California governor to be recalled although previous governors, including Jerry Brown and Ronald Reagan, were targeted.

It was the first time in 92 years enough signatures were gathered to call a special election under the state’s recall process, enacted by voters in 1911 ostensibly as a way to break the stranglehold of Southern Pacific Railroad and other business interests on the Capitol.

The historic significance of the election was masked behind an almost carnival- like atmosphere fueled by Read more »



California Kids Can Have More Than Two Parents

California courts can now recognize more than two legal apretns for a child, under legislation signed October 4 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The measure — SB 274 by Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat – is similar to a bill Leno carried in 2012 vetoed by the Democratic governor over “ambiguities.”  Leno characterized both measures as a way to fix a quirk in the law that prevents a previous custodial or biological parent from taking care of a child if the two current parents are incapable.

“The structure of today’s families is evolving, and courts need the ability to recognize these Read more »



New Round of Clawing in GOP Board of Equalization Cat Fight

Below is the latest campaign email from Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, a Dana Point Republican, vying with Sen. Mark Wyland, an Escondido Republican, for a seat on the state Board of Equalization. 

A key element of Wyland’s campaign has been the bankruptcy of Point Center Financial — a firm run by Harkey’s husband, Dan. Wyland’s choice of issues doesn’t sit well with the termed out Orange County Assemblywoman: 





Wyland was first to bare claws with this “Taxpayers for Wyland Board of Equalization” email blast in August:

State Legislator and candidate for Board of Equalization, Diane Harkey’s husband Read more »



New Law Tries to Decide When Homemade Duck Sausage Is Food or Game?

When does homemade duck sausage or venison steaks become food instead of game?

California’s Fish and Game Commission must be decide under legislation signed October 2 by Gov. Jerry Brown

Sponsored by the California Waterfowl Association, the bill – SB 392 by Sen. Tom Berryhill, a Twain Harte Republican – requires the commission to adopt regulations or recommend changes in federal law to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service establishing when game birds like wild turkey, pheasant and quail that are skinned-out for eating stop counting toward a hunter’s maximum possession limit.

“Providing this much-needed clarity will benefit those of us Read more »



The Governor Goes Three for Three on Tax Check-offs

Disaster efforts of  California’s chapters of the American Red Cross will have a check-off on state tax forms under legislation signed Oct. 1 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

It’s the third of three measures sent to the Democratic governor to add to the current 18 voluntary contribution categories that have been multiplying since the first was placed on state tax forms in 1983.

The check-off — AB 511 by Assemblyman Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat – will last a maximum of five years but loses its place on the tax form if $250,000 or more contributions aren’t received annually. 

Brown’s signature comes despite questions by both Read more »



State Voluntary Tax Check-Offs Grow — But Should They?

The California Arts Council gets a second chance at a tax check-off under legislation approved September 30 by Gov. Jerry Brown who created the council when he was previously governor in 1975.

It’s one of seven bills approved by lawmakers this year relating to the voluntary contribution funds, fixtures on state tax forms for 30 years. This is the third of the seven signed by the Democratic governor.

When Brown OK’d an earlier bill creating a new check-off for the “Protect Our Coast and Oceans” Fund, he bucked the advice of his own Department of Finance which said the measure was Read more »



How Twee Can It Be? Have a Look-See

Nineteen states have created health insurance marketplaces like California as part of the Affordable Care Act, which kicks in October 1.

Half the states are electing to use a federal marketplace where their residents can shop for insurance.

Not all state exchanges are like “Covered California,” the Golden State’s version. 

Consider “Cover Oregon.”

Like California, Cover Oregon is conducting an outreach campaign to encourage residents without coverage to buy some before March 31.

California’s media outreach, conducted in several languages and media, has an $80 million price tag, covered by a one-time federal grant.

Covered Oregon is spending $9.9 million.

In the Read more »



Not a Moment Too Soon

New car dealers will still be able to sell “pre-owned vehicles” without replacing their “brake friction materials,” under legislation signed September 27 by Gov. Jerry Brown.

In English: New car dealers won’t have to install new brake pads on used cars they buy and resell after 2014.

Dealers were afraid they might be required to do so under a 2010 bill requiring less copper content in brake pads sold in California.

The California New Car Dealers Association sponsored the bill signed by Brown — AB 501 by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, a Sherman Oaks Democrat — to clarify that they didn’t have to remove “legacy” Read more »



New Law Allows Artisan Distillers to Charge for Tastings

Small distilleries of artisan spirits such as bourbon, whiskey and fruit-based liqueurs like limoncello can offer up to six paid tastings under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry brown September 26.

Effective January 1, 2014, the bill — AB 933 by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, a Berkeley Democrat – lifts a current ban on distilleries charging for tastings as wineries and breweries do.  

“Now at least these small businesses can let more people know about their product in a way they can afford,” Skinner told California’s Capitol.

The “Taste California Act” limits tasting size to one-quarter ounce.

Some 32 distilleries in the state, including Alameda-based St. George Read more »