California ranked as least business-friendly state

As reported by the San Jose Mercury News:

If you think California is a tough place to do business, you’re not alone.

A new report from CNBC confirms what scores of companies have long suspected — California is the least business-friendly state in the nation.

CNBC’s 10th annual America’s Top States for Business study places the Golden State at the bottom of the list for 2016. California was also found to be one of the costliest places to do business, with a favorability ranking of 49 out of 50.

Those figures don’t surprise Clay Harrison, co-owner of Vidcam, a Burbank business that rents cameras, lighting and audio equipment to the TV industry. …

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UC regents approve new limits on moonlighting by administrators

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

University of California regents voted Thursday to limit top administrators to two outside paid jobs and add another layer of approval to ensure moonlighting doesn’t pose a conflict of interest or a “reputational risk” to the university system.

The regents approved the changes without opposition during their full board meeting in San Francisco. The new restrictions come after UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi drew criticism this year for accepting past board positions with a textbook publisher and for-profit DeVry Education Group.

The new policy, initially proposed by UC President Janet Napolitano, would require administrators to explain the benefits an outside job or paid board seat would bring their campus and UC, as well as a statement that spells out how much time the job would require. The new policy adds a mid-year review of outside jobs, as well as a review panel for questionable applications.

“The changes we are recommending today would be among the most careful and restrictive in the nation,” said UC regent Bonnie Reiss, who chairs the board’s Compensation Committee. …

Covered CA projects large hike in 2017 health premiums

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Covered California announced projected average rate increases of 13.2 percent for health insurance bought next year through the state-run system, as consumers were urged to “shop around” to avoid large premium hikes.

Covered California executive director Peter Lee said there are multiple reasons for the increase: hikes in specialty drug costs, an expected loss of federal aid to insurance companies and “sicker people” enrolling in two of the state’s biggest providers during the off-season special enrollment period.

Lee said the premium hikes are not due to health insurer profits. “We kicked the tires hard. … This isn’t about health plans making big buckets of money. It’s about rising costs of health care.”

Rate hikes for Covered California policies in the last two years came to about 4 percent, putting the three-year average at 7 percent. Lee noted that 90 percent of Californians will still be eligible for federal subsidies to help cover their Covered California premium costs.

Lee noted that the average increase varies widely by …

Should felons be allowed to vote from behind jail bars?

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

Thousands of felons serving time in county jails would be allowed to vote in California elections from behind bars under a bill moving swiftly through the state Legislature despite widespread opposition from law enforcement officials.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) introduced the measure with an aim that providing convicts the right to vote will give them a better sense of belonging to society and possibly reduce their chances of committing new crimes when released.

“Civic participation can be a critical component of re-entry and has been linked to reduced recidivism,” Weber told her colleagues during a recent heated floor debate on the bill.

But police chiefs and sheriffs throughout California say the proposal that passed narrowly in the state Assembly undermines a longstanding social compact: those who commit a serious crime lose not only their freedom to live in society for a time but also their right to participate in democracy. …

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State Sen. Sharon Runner has died

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

California Sen. Sharon Runner, who returned to the Legislature last year following a double lung transplant, died Tuesday. The Lancaster Republican was 62.

Runner’s family said in a statements that she died peacefully at home, surrounded by family and friends, following respiratory complications.

“Through her life Sharon held tight to her favorite Bible verse, Proverbs 3:5-6, trusting in the Lord through all obstacles,” the Runner family said. “We take comfort in the fact that the Lord truly directed her path, and she is now home in the arms of her savior.”

Runner, who is married to Board of Equalization member George Runner, announced in March that she would not seek re-election when her term ends this year, citing “medical challenges during the cold and flu season.”

She spent six years in the state Assembly before winning a 2011 special election to advance to the Senate, filling the seat of …

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Cellphone use among drivers is rising, but fewer citations are being issued

As reported by the Orange County Register:

On an October day last year, 18-year-old Alexis Patlan stood at a busy intersection just west of Garden Grove’s Santiago High School at morning rush hour with one task – log distracted drivers.

The hourlong survey, part a larger awareness campaign with schools, yielded troubling results. The majority of motorists observed were fumbling with their cellphones, downing breakfast, or both. One standout offender was “eating a doughnut with one hand and on the cellphone with the other hand,” recalled Patlan, who graduated from the school last month.

Despite years of warnings about the potentially fatal consequences of using mobile devices behind the wheel, distracted driving jumped significantly in the past year, according to a newly released state traffic safety study.

The increase comes as law enforcement agencies face added challenges in catching violators, and experts say the upward trend is being exacerbated, in part, by quickly evolving mobile devices as well as a growing obsession with texting and social media. …

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CA Lottery posts highest sales on record

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

The California Lottery reported a boom year on Monday with sales of $6.3 billion, shattering last year’s record of $5.5 billion.

California schools will receive $1.5 billion this year, up from $1.39 billion in the last fiscal year. To put that in perspective, the most recent state budget apportions $65.8 billion from the general fund for K-12 and higher education.

According to last year’s financial report, 63.4 percent of lottery sales went out in prizes and 24.7 percent went to education for a total of 88.1 percent returned to the public. The remaining 11.9 percent is split between retail costs, operating expenses and game costs at 6.9 percent, 3.2 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

Alex Traverso, a lottery spokesman, attributed part of the increase in this year’s revenue to the massive $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot in January. California began offering Powerball tickets in 2013, and Traverso said Powerball sales added almost $700 million this year. …

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CA Senate Votes 28-8 to Exempt Itself from California Gun Laws

The California state senate agrees with Charlie Rangel that they “deserve” to own guns but the citizens do not.

They voted 28-8 to exempt themselves from the gun-control laws that apply to the rest of the California.

You think maybe this will cause Californians to rise up? NOPE! It happened 5 years ago and since California has passed a plethora of other gun laws…that only apply to citizens.

Yes, you heard me right! The exemption was created in 2011 and the California legislature has passed a number of gun laws since. Pretty easy when you are passing bills that do not apply to you!

It is not the only special privileges California legislators provide themselves!

They do not pay red light camera bills or for gasoline!

How does it all happen so easily in California? The …

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It’s official: California grows to 6th-largest world economy

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

California jumped ahead of Brazil and France to become the world’s sixth largest economy in 2015, according to a report released Friday by the Center For Continuing Study of the California Economy.

California’s gross state product rose to $2.5 trillion in 2015, up 4.1 percent from the previous year when adjusted for inflation. This outpaced the national growth rate of 2.4 percent, which bumped the United States’ gross domestic product to $17.8 trillion.

Meanwhile, a recession and government turmoil caused Brazil’s GDP to fall to $1.8 trillion.

Behind the United States, China’s economy came in second with $10.9 trillion; Japan followed with $4.1 trillion; Germany came in fourth with $3.6 trillion, followed by the United Kingdom at $2.9 trillion. …

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Lawsuit challenges California’s new vaccine requirements

As reported by the Associated Press:

A lawsuit has been filed seeking to overturn California’s strict new law requiring mandatory vaccines for school children.

The suit filed by a group of parents and the nonprofit Education 4 All was filed in San Diego federal court on Friday, the same day the new law took effect.

It says that the law violates the children’s right to an education as guaranteed under California’s constitution, and asks for a judge to suspend the law while the suit plays out.

The law “has made second class citizens out of children who for very compelling reasons are not vaccinated” according to federal regulations, plaintiff’s attorney Robert T. Moxley said in a statement. “We are hoping the court will grant us an injunction while the judicial process takes place to see if this law is constitutional, which it most certainly does not seem to be.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the vaccine measure, SB277, into law last year amid fierce opposition from …

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