FROM Melanie Mason
Debate mounts over how to spend money from tobacco tax hike Last November, California voters said yes to raising taxes on cigarettes. The new tax is estimated to bring in more than $1 billion this year to help fund health care. Governor Jerry Brown wants to use the money to boost spending on Medi-Cal. Doctors’ groups want the money to increase reimbursements for taking Medi-Cal patients.
California approves most ambitious climate law in the US In 2006, California's Governor — Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger -- signed a comprehensive measure to reduce greenhouse gases. Today, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to extend and expand that law — maintaining California's national leadership against climate change. We hear more about the new bill from Melanie Mason, who reports from Sacramento for the Los Angeles Times .
Leader of Democrats' Moderate Bloc Is Quitting the Assembly Governor Brown concedes that the oil industry won a big victory in this year's legislative session. It was orchestrated by Assemblyman Henry Perea of Fresno. He's been talked about as the leader of moderate Democrats sympathetic to business interests — but today he announced that he's stepping down a year before his term in elected office runs out. Melanie Mason reports from Sacramento for the LA Times .
GOP Tech Dollars The second Republican debate takes place tonight in Simi Valley. But the GOP has Silicon Valley on its mind when it comes to fundraising. According to a new analysis by the LA Times, the Bay Area beats out both Los Angeles and Orange County when it comes to donations to Republican candidates.
Is California Doing Enough for the Poor? As the budget debate continues over how to deal with the least among us in California, there are calls from the extreme left for Governor Brown, and the Legislature, to devote more to those people and social programs that were hit hard in the state budget by the Great Recession, and that haven’t much recovered.
Doctors v Lawyers in Ballot Fight Election day is one week away, and doctors and lawyers in California are locked in an expensive fight over one ballot measure. Proposition 46 would raise the cap on certain damages in medical malpractice lawsuits from $250,000 to $1.1 million, and require random drug testing of doctors. What are opponents and advocates arguing?
Political Groups Fight to Shroud Super PAC Donors Conservatives used to argue that full disclosure of campaign contributions would prevent corruption. Now they're making a pitch for secrecy. If the names of high-profile political donors were made public, contributors could face bullying and harassment from liberals out to "muzzle" free speech. That's according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a recent speech . The Wall Street Journal has warned that corporations might face boycotts and picket lines if their names are revealed.
Political Groups Fight to Shroud Super PAC Donors Conservatives have waged a long battle against restrictions on campaign finance, claiming that there would be no corruption if voters knew where the money was coming from. Now that they've won their battle in the US Supreme Court, they've changed their tune. In a recent speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voiced concern that if the names of high-profile political donors were made public, contributors could face bullying and harassment from liberals out to "muzzle" free speech. The Wall Street Journal has warned that corporations might face boycotts and picket lines if their names are revealed.
Bachmann Declares Candidacy amid Reports Her Family Received Federal Subsidies Michele Bachmann is running for president on a campaign of cutting the federal government. But she's also responding to reports that she and her immediate family have benefited from government assistance. Minnesota's Republican Congresswoman announced her candidacy today in Iowa, where she was born and where party caucuses will be the first test of candidates next year. But yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that a counseling clinic run by Bachmann's husband received $30,000 in state and federal funds in the past five years, while a family farm in Wisconsin where she is a partner got $260,000 in federal subsidies. Melanie Mason reports from Washington for the Times and the Chicago Tribune.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.