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Chevron CEO Blasts California Environmental Laws Governor Touts

As Governor Jerry Brown is in Paris urging other political leaders to follow his lead in curbing global warming, the chief executive of California’s largest oil company said the state’s policies “unambiguously raise energy costs and do nothing about greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Dec 11, 2015 James Nash
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California Debt Foe Campaigns to Block Billion-Dollar Bond Deals

Dino Cortopassi, who lives near Stockton, watched as the California city loaded up on debt for amenities like a waterfront ballpark, only to slash services after the community went bankrupt. So he’s spending $4 million in an effort to give the state’s voters more power to curb bond sales.

Dec 4, 2015 Romy Varghese
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I’m Exempt — What Does That Mean?

If you feel you're owed flexibility, you're wrong

I just started a new job where I am an exempt employee. When I started, I was asked to provide a “regular work schedule” that I selected as 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. When I inquired about coming in at 8:30 on Monday and Friday mornings, my employer said they didn’t favor that and as a new employee,  I didn’t feel comfortable pushing back. As an exempt employee, what are the rules about standard hours?

Dec 3, 2015 Suzanne Lucas

The Helping Hand

Senator Holly Mitchell says a level playing field is the mission behind most of her measures

California State Senator Holly Mitchell can be an imposing figure. While most people presume that term evokes physicality, it is Mitchell’s intellect and passion for defending those she believes have little or no voice in the political process that make her such a formidable figure around the Capitol. We talked with her about her effort to turn that passion into policy.

Nov 12, 2015 Rich Ehisen
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A Breakdown of Marijuana Laws

What patients and dispensaries need to know at the federal, state, county and city levels

Sacramento City Council has outlawed outdoor cultivation by legal cannabis patients, citing public safety and smell concerns. Now, added to this ban is the classification of cannabis cultivation as wasted water: Patients are no longer allowed to water legal, indoor plants, yet there is no penalty on those growing equally-legal crops hydroponically indoors, like tomatoes or herbs. What legal right does the council have to single out this particular crop when cultivated in accordance with local and state laws?

Nov 11, 2015 Coral Henning
Alexandria Goff opened her own practice right out of law school. She specializes in estate planning, probate and equine law.

The Contemporary Counselor

Law schools are responding to the gap in entrepreneurial education that up-and-coming lawyers need

Traditionally, the path from law student to full-fledged lawyer has been fairly straight-forward: A student starts out with a summer internship at a law firm, graduates and passes the bar exam, then gets hired at a law firm. In a secure and supportive work environment, law graduates can make good money, meet professional mentors and learn the skills required to be a real lawyer. This is the standard route, the one most students embark on every year. But more graduates like Alexandria Goff are choosing to buck tradition in the name of independence.

Nov 10, 2015 Russell Nichols
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Exempt Versus NonExempt: Why You Need to Know the Difference

Misclassifying could cost your business megabucks

You have 10 seconds to name the key differences that determine if an employee is exempt or nonexempt. Ready, set, go.​ Oh, you couldn’t do it? Color me surprised. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, not knowing the difference between the two is doing yourself a huge disservice, and, as an employer, can land you in some hot – scalding hot – water.

Nov 6, 2015 Frank  Radoslovich
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It’s Still About the Economy, Stupid

Sen. Holly Mitchell on race, law and legislating change

Most people look at the civil unrest recently seen in places like Ferguson and Baltimore as strictly a matter of law and order. But to California state Sen. Holly Mitchell, those events are the inevitable result of a long-simmering frustration within much of the African-American community — not only at what they see as heavy-handed treatment of young black men by police, but of a general shortage of economic opportunities available to communities of color.

Nov 5, 2015 Rich Ehisen
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Age Discrimination Is Widespread in U.S. Job Market, Study Finds

Discrimination, rather than lack of skills, may help to explain why older workers have longer periods of unemployment duration. Long periods of unemployment — six months or longer — have been one of the lasting problems in the wake of the 2007-2009 recession, the biggest downturn since the 1930s. What’s more, the bias worsens when gender is considered.”

Oct 27, 2015 Steve Matthews
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California Shows How Paid Leave Law Affects Businesses: Not Much

As presidential candidates debate government-mandated paid family leave, the U.S. has a 39 million-person test lab. California enacted the nation’s first such program in 2004 and it hasn’t been the death blow to businesses that opponents warned of, according to studies over the past decade.

Oct 23, 2015 Esmé E. Deprez

Legal English as a Second Language

Why can’t lawyers communicate like other humans?

Richard Wydick has spent much of his professional life trying to change how lawyers write. In 1978, he led an article for the California Law Review with this broadside: “We lawyers cannot write plain English.” That piece created such a positive response that he turned it into a foundational book on legal writing that’s now in its fifth edition.

Oct 6, 2015 Steven Yoder
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Pushed to the Limit

California’s inflated correctional system puts pressure on civic construction projects

Last year’s state corrections budget included $500 million to fund the expansion of county jails (in addition to the jail expansion funds of $1.2 billion from years prior). But how that money should be allocated is debatable (Will adding more jails ease overcrowding? Should funds go toward community-based programs created to help people stay out of jail?), and counties are developing proposals to claim a piece of that multi-million-dollar pie.

Sep 29, 2015 Russell Nichols
Gov. Jerry Brown announcing the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget proposal at the State Capitol last May

(Photo: Ken James for Bloomberg News)

Super-Earners Targeted in California Tax Push as Revenue Surges

Governor Jerry Brown convinced voters in 2012 they had to raise taxes if they wanted to avoid Draconian cuts to schools. It was temporary, he said. Now, as state coffers are heavy with surplus revenue, advocacy groups and organized labor want to keep the levies in place.

Sep 24, 2015 Alison Vekshin
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Full-Court Press

A roundup of the key, in-progress courthouse construction projects

In a few years, a brand new criminal courthouse is expected to open on the edge of the Sacramento railyards. Located on the corner of H and 6th streets, this second Sacramento County court building will be 405,500 square feet with 44 courtrooms. And it’s not the only new courthouse on the horizon. Right now, there are about 100 courthouses identified for development in California.

Sep 24, 2015 Russell Nichols
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The Many Shades of Structure

What legal structure is best for my business?

For many years, I have been making furniture that I sell to friends and family, and at local fairs and boutiques. It has become so successful that I’d like to work toward officially starting my own business. I know there are many ways I could set up my company; how do I know what will be best for me?

Sep 9, 2015 Coral Henning
Photo: Ken James/Bloomberg news

Road Rage

Brown’s $3.6 billion California transit plan angers Republicans

“The administration’s ideas call for more than doubling the vehicle-registration fees and raising the price of fuel on all Californians,” Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen said in a statement. “We disagree and think Californians have paid enough. Funds exist to fix our roads.”  

Sep 8, 2015 Alison Vekshin