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The first poll since Governor Jerry Brown proposed a special election on taxes and fees shows that two-thirds of Californians think it's a good idea. A majority actually feels as if he and the legislature might get something done. Also, Santa Monica becomes the latest city to bans plastic bags. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, when Republicans won control of the Congress, they appeared to be on a role. Now it's unclear whether established leaders or Tea Party conservatives are in control.

Banner image: David McNew/Getty Images

Main Topic City of Santa Monica Bans Plastic Bags 8 MIN, 55 SEC

First, what does Santa Monica have in common with Brownsville, Texas? They've both banned plastic bags. Santa Monica did it two days ago. So has Los Angeles County in unincorporated areas, and several cities are. What's becoming a national movement is based in part on reports of an enormous garbage patch full of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. But the American Chemistry Council says that's not true. We hear from advocates on both sides of the issue.

Stephen L. Joseph, Attorney, Save the Plastic Bag coalition
Kirsten James, Water Quality Director, Heal the Bay

Main Topic PPIC on Governor Brown's Budget Ideas 5 MIN, 58 SEC

In the first few days of his latest term as Governor of California, Jerry Brown has proposed an enormous gamble. To help cover the $25 billion budget gap, he wants $12 billion in cuts and $12 billion in extensions of taxes and fees that former Governor Schwarzenegger said would be "temporary." Brown's gamble is a special election to approve extending the taxes and fees, with the possibility that voters might not go along.  Then, even more cuts would be needed. Mark Baldassare, president and polling director of the Public Policy Institute of California has the results of its first poll since Brown made his proposal.

Mark Baldassare, Public Policy Institute of California (@ppicnotes)

Main Topic Can Republicans Keep Their Party Together? 14 MIN, 48 SEC

House Speaker John Boehner has said that taking control of Congress was "the first big adult moment" in years for the Republican Party. Now the very same Tea Partiers and other movement conservatives that helped Republicans win control of the Congress are challenging the GOP establishment, starting with Michele Bachmann. Is the Party divided between pragmatists who want to work within the system and ideologues who want to blow it up?

Charles Babington, Associated Press (@cbabington)
Kathryn Pearson, Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota

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