FROM Sam Blakeslee
More Budget Cuts and a Bid to Raise Taxes Governor Brown delivered his State of the State speech today to a joint session of the Assembly and Senate. He proposed more cuts he said nobody likes in the budget, but also asked voters to approve a tax increase or face still more reductions. While pushing for reductions in spending, he called for major investments, including a California High-Speed Rail project that's been called unaffordable by a task force created by voters at the same time they approved the project four years ago. The Governor named education as the biggest item in the state budget, and proposed giving local school boards more authority.
Freshman Legislators Meet Gridlock in Sacramento In Sacramento yesterday, California's top four finance officials — appointed and elected — addressed a special session of the Assembly and Senate. They were unanimous: act now or the state will run out of money. Legislators listened, but did they get the message? We hear from Sacramento Bee syndicated columnist Dan Walters and ask freshman legislators from both parties what they'll do to end the gridlock.
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.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
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."
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.