White House Tries to Save Obamacare

From Politico:

President Barack Obama, confident that HealthCare.gov is finally working,  attempted Tuesday to shift the nation’s attention toward Affordable Care Act  benefits that he says were overshadowed by website problems at a critical time  for the law.

The president’s brief speech marked the start of the White House’s latest  messaging push, a three-week campaign that aims to boost anemic enrollment  figures and put Republicans on the defensive after Obamacare’s embarrassing  rollout.

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CA Lawmakers “Grill” Officials over Unemployment Check Delays

From The Sacramento Bee:

As officials in charge of a computer problem that delayed jobless benefits for nearly 150,000 Californians appeared for the first time before an Assembly committee Wednesday, front-line employees testified the department is still buckling under a backlog of calls.

Irene Livingston, an employment program representative for the Employment Development Department in San Jose, said it remains “nearly impossible” for out-of-work Californians to reach an employee at EDD. She told members of the Assembly Insurance Committee the department is overwhelmed with telephone calls and an email system that remains backlogged.

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

New Crimes Could Undermine California’s ‘Realignment’

From The Sacramento Bee:

So far, about 40,000 felons have been affected by California’s “realignment” program, which is aimed at reducing overcrowding in prisons in accordance with federal court orders without, it’s said, releasing dangerous criminals to prey upon the public.

Newly convicted offenders deemed to be nonthreatening have been diverted into local jails and probation, while parolees meeting similar criteria are being shifted into local supervision, financed by a stream of tax revenues.

california-prisons

Assembly Republicans to Vote on Leader After Session Ends

From The Sacramento Bee:

For the second time this year, Assemblywoman Connie Conway faces the possibility of surrendering her leadership of the Assembly Republican Caucus.

Assembly Republicans will hold a leadership vote after the current legislative session ends on Sept. 13. Conway, a Tulare Republican who weathered a quickly quashed challenge in February, will seek re-election, spokeswoman Sabrina Lockhart said.

“Historically, this has happened at the end of session and after elections, so she wanted to gauge her caucus after we work through the last final weeks of session,” Lockhart said.

CalPERS Sued Over Long-Term Care Insurance Rate Hikes

From The Sacramento Bee:

CalPERS was sued Tuesday over the big rate hikes it imposed on its long-term care insurance program, which covers stays in nursing homes.

The class-action suit was filed by a Los Angeles law firm on behalf of more than 100,000 CalPERS members who have purchased the coverage and now face big rate increases.

Sales Tax Fades as Fuel for California Government

From The LA Times:

More than three decades ago, 53 cents of every dollar Californians spent generated sales tax revenue for the state.

It’s been a long slide since then, dropping to only 33 cents last year.

Even though the sales tax remains Sacramento’s second-biggest source of revenue, it’s grown much more slowly over the years.

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Is California’s New Health Plan Really Ready?

From Sac Bee:

California is more heavily invested in the federal Affordable Care Act than any other state because it has, by far, the nation’s largest number of medically uninsured residents and has embraced the law more fully than any other state.

We are, in brief, the test subjects to determine whether the sweeping act can work nationally or is fatally flawed.

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Businesses Call for Action on Immigration

From SJ Mercury News:

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of leading business groups and GOP donors called for action on immigration legislation Tuesday, seeking to increase pressure on the House GOP as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington for a five-week summer recess.

Two letters were released separately, one signed by more than 400 leading businesses, chambers of commerce and others, and the second by about 100 GOP donors, including boldface names such as former Vice President Dan Quayle and GOP strategist Karl Rove.

 (Read Full Article)

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Reality Check: Sacramento arena campaign dirty tricks?

From News 10:

There’s no better quip for those outraged over campaign chicanery than the one uttered by Captain Renault in the 1942 classic, Casablanca.

“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here,” Renault tells Rick, just before he pockets his own gambling winnings.

It’s a fair reaction to those expressing outrage about political sneakiness in the brewing campaign to force a public vote on a new downtown sports arena in Sacramento.

(Read Full Article)

Photo courtesy of Wendy McCormac, Flickr

Photo courtesy of Wendy McCormac, Flickr

California will spend $232.9 billion in new state budget

From Sac Bee:

California will spend $232.9 billion during the 2013-14 fiscal year if the recently enacted state budget is precisely followed.

But the total, outlined in a followup report by the Legislature’s budget analyst, Mac Taylor, is only an educated guess, and if past patterns hold true the real levels of income and outgo will be billions of dollars different.

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