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.
Trump's travel ban and the long-term agenda The Trump Administration's revised travel ban may be good news for some visa holders and others, but it's still being challenged as unconstitutional. Some reporters call it the beginning of a long-term effort to change the demographic make-up of the United States.
Is America turning its back on the world? President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the United Nations — and he's not alone. But, will proposed cuts in US contributions be counterproductive to America's role in the world and to national security?
East Asia: President Trump's first foreign policy test Starting with North Korea's latest test of nuclear missiles, a chain of events is causing instability in Asia. Could it turn into the first real foreign policy crisis of the Trump Administration?
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."