California bill would require double pay on Thanksgiving

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

As Californians start brining birds and mashing potatoes, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, is again hoping to dish out meatier wages for Thanksgiving workers.

She plans to amend and revive stalled legislation guaranteeing double Thanksgiving pay so it would only apply to workers at large retail businesses that have more than 500 employees in California.

Earlier this year the Assembly rejected a version that would have covered more workers. Gonzalez said she hoped the amended version would fare better by focusing on big retailers.

California State University faculty protest, threaten to strike

As reported by the The Sun:

Faculty from throughout the state protested Tuesday at the Cal State University chancellor’s office in Long Beach, threatening to strike after locking horns with administrators over pay.

The California Faculty Association voted in October to authorize a strike should an agreement not be reached. The union is demanding a 5 percent salary increase for 2015-16, while management for the 23-campus system has offered a 2 percent pay raise — the same increase authorized for all other CSU employee groups.

Tuesday’s protest was timed to coincide with the Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach. …

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McCarthy: Use high-speed rail funds to quench California’s drought

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a persistent critic of California’s high-speed rail program, said that the funds for the project should be diverted to quench the state’s severe drought.

The California Republican made the proposal Wednesday after the Los Angeles Times reported that the system’s contractor pegged the cost of building the initial segment at 31 percent above the original estimate, but the California High Speed Rail Authority did not use that figure in its 2014 business plan.

The authority took issue with the newspaper’s report, saying that some costs in the $68 billion project have actually come down as bids have gone out.

That didn’t stop McCarthy from pitching a proposal that isn’t likely to happen.

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Meg Whitman: Carly Fiorina needs more than CEO experience

As reported by CNN Money:

Hewlitt-Packard CEO Meg Whitman — who is taking over HP Enterprise in the company’s split — said Carly Fiorina’s experience working in corporate America doesn’t by itself make her the most qualified Republican presidential candidate.

“While I think business strengths are important, I also think having worked in government is an important part of the criteria,” Whitman said in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow. “I think it’s very difficult for your first role in politics to be President of the United States and so I think having experience in either the Senate or as the governor of a state is really important.”

Fiorina, a former HP CEO, has cited her business experience as one of her biggest strengths in her run for president. …

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California test scores in the cellar

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

California students continue to perform near the bottom of states in reading and math, 2015 test results released Wednesday show. And even when taking into account factors like the predominance of English learners and poor children, a new analysis indicates that the state would still end up in the academic cellar.

What’s sometimes called the Nation’s Report Card, a sampling of fourth- and eighth-graders in reading and math, painted a dismal picture of a state that insists it is prioritizing K-12 education, on which it is spending $53 billion this fiscal year. Average fourth-grade math scores place California among the worst, just one point on a zero-to-500 scale above New Mexico, Alabama and Washington, D.C. Eighth-graders performed a bit better, nearly the same as students in nine states, and above those in five states and the nation’s capital.

Just 27 to 29 percent of California students were rated proficient in the two subjects. …

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Cal State faculty begins strike vote

As reported by the Press-Enterprise:

California State University faculty members began voting Monday, Oct. 19, on whether to authorize their union to call a strike.

The faculty association, which represents about 25,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches, and the CSU — the nation’s largest university system with 460,000 students — have been negotiating since May.

If the strike action is authorized, a walkout could take place as soon as January, union officials said.

CSU officials and the faculty organization have already declared …

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Brown Linked Climate Change to CA’s Wildfires. Scientists Disagree.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

The ash of the Rocky fire was still hot when Gov. Jerry Brown strode to a bank of television cameras beside a blackened ridge and, flanked by firefighters, delivered a battle cry against climate change.

The wilderness fire was “a real wake-up call” to reduce the carbon pollution “that is in many respects driving all of this,” he said.

“The fires are changing…. The way this fire performed, it’s not the way it usually has been. Going in lots of directions, moving fast, even without hot winds.”

“It’s a new normal,” he said in August. “California is burning.” …

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Gov. Brown signs hard-won right-to-die legislation

As reported by the Ventura County Star:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will become the fifth state in the nation to allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives using doctor-prescribed drugs after Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday he signed one of the most emotionally charged bills of the year.

Brown, a lifelong Catholic and former Jesuit seminarian, announced that he signed the legislation approved by state lawmakers after an emotional and deeply personal debate. Until now, he had refused to comment on the issue.

The bill passed Sept. 11 after a previous version failed this year despite the highly publicized case of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman with brain cancer moved to Oregon to end her life.

Opponents said the bill legalizes premature suicide, but …

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UC system minimum wage increases to $13 per hour

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

The University of California’s plan to raise the minimum wage for all workers systemwide took effect Thursday, the first of three incremental raises expected to bring wages to at least $15 an hour by 2017.

The minimum wage rose to $13 an hour for all university employees hired to work 20 hours or more a week. It will be increased to $14 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016, and to $15 an hour on the same day in 2017.

UC president Janet Napolitano announced the voluntary minimum wage increase in July, the first of its kind to be established by a public university.

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Traffic deaths climbing in California – Is there a fix?

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

It’s an unfortunate downside to the recession’s end: As more people return to work and more cars hit the road, fatal accidents are on the climb.

Nationally, road deaths jumped nearly 10 percent in the first three months of this year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. California officials say they saw a 13 percent uptick over three recent years through 2013 and expect that trend to continue when 2014 numbers are finalized.

It’s no surprise, safety officials say.

“Realistically, when the economy started getting better, all indications …

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