Tag Archives: california

Video Voter Series: Proposition 48

Video Voter Series 2014 Prop 48 from Claremont McKenna College on Vimeo. Background In 2013, the California State Legislature passed AB 277 authorizing two gaming compacts: one between the state and the North Fork Rancheria Mono Indians and one between the state and the Wiyot Tribe. The passage of Proposition 48, a referendum on AB… Continue Reading

Rose Award Recognizes Kirk West

The Rose Institute Award was created to recognize exceptional individuals or organizations that demonstrate an enduring commitment to exemplary public service. Honor, integrity, leadership, and a philanthropic spirit are among the characteristics defining this individual or organization. The recipient of the 2014 Rose Institute Award for Excellence in Public Service is Kirk West, a political… Continue Reading

California Raises Minimum Wage

On September 25, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill to raise California’s minimum wage to $10 per hour by 2016. Assembly Bill 10 raises the current minimum wage of $8/hour in two $1 increments, the first by July 2014 and the second by January 2016. It passed on September 12 in… Continue Reading

Rose Fellow Doug Johnson on Shifting Demographics

On March 18th, the Pasadena Star News published an article titled “State’s 49th Assembly District home to changing demographic and multi-ethnic coalition”. The article discusses the shifting demographics of the San Gabriel Valley, and the formation of a multi-ethnic coalition, and what these changes mean for the state and the nation. 

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What is Preclearance?

The Voting Rights Act was enacted to make “the promise of the right to vote under the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution a reality, ninety-five years after [its] passage”. Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, sixteen states are required to submit any redistricting plans to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance. Preclearance is defined as the process of seeking U.S. Department of Justice approval for all changes related to voting. Section 5 of the Act requires that the United States Department of Justice or a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for District of Columbia “preclear” any attempt to change “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting…” in any “covered jurisdiction”. Continue Reading

California Pension Reform proposes two ballot initiatives

California can no longer afford its current retirement system. Estimates for unfunded pension liabilities range from 256 billion dollars to almost a trillion dollars. As a result, on October 27, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown introduced his 12-point plan to change pension and retiree health benefits for California’s state and local government workers. These changes mainly affect future employees by shifting more of the financial risk for pensions from public employers to the workers.

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Debate about California high speed rail continues

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) started the California High-Speed Rail project after voters approved its funding in 2008. When complete, the project will consist of over 800 miles of track and up to 24 stations, in California cities such as San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, Bakersfield, Fresno, Palmdale, Anaheim, Riverside, and Irvine. Traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles would take 2 hours and 40 minutes, and from Los Angeles to San Diego would take 1 hour and 20 minutes. High-Speed Rail remains controversial, however. Proponents point to economic, environmental, and community benefits from the project, whereas opponents of the plan argue that it would be detrimental to all three. Despite initial excitement for this project, many cities claim that they cannot afford to build high-speed rail. Fresno officials stated that they cannot afford to help build rails in San Joaquin Valley. There is a growing movement to stop the high-speed rail project in California.

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Contra Costa implements plans to deal with prison reform

On May 23, 2011 the California Supreme Court ordered the state to dramatically reduce the number of detainees in prisons on the basis of cruel and unusual punishment. As a result, between 37,000 to 46,000 inmates will be released in the coming years. In order to manage the influx of prisoners, the California legislature passed Bill AB 109, the Public Safety Realignment Bill, which took effect October 1, 2011. AB109 shifts responsibility for non-serious, non-violent, non-sexual offenders to counties. The challenging transition from state to local oversight is highlighted in Contra Costa County, where county officials are already facing difficulties. Continue Reading