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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
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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
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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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

Side Effects

Right-to-try laws could give patients access to experimental drugs, but the risks are extreme

Many of us are familiar with Woodroof’s plight — it was the subject of the critically acclaimed movie “The Dallas Buyers Club.” But while Hollywood took many liberties in telling his story, Woodroof’s real-life dilemma is one still being shared by many terminally ill people today. That struggle is also at the heart of a movement to allow those patients access to drugs the FDA has not authorized.

Sep 8, 2015 Rich Ehisen

Poll: Are yearly performance reviews helpful?

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Minimum Wage Increase: Bad Medicine for a Recovering Economy

Increases in large metropolitan cities are not comparable to the regional economy that is growing in Sacramento

Trends in politics take hold as quickly as those in fashion, and minimum wage increases are definitely “in” this political season. But unlike in the past when Capitol Hill and state legislatures served as battlegrounds for minimum wage debates, cities are now the epicenter. Buoyed by increases enacted in a handful of megacities, American municipalities of all sizes have started asking whether they should follow suit, and if so, to what degree.

Sep 2, 2015 Peter Tateishi
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A Tall Order

Tree maintenance is a must for property owners

The sickening, wooden crack of a falling tree can strike fear into the hearts of property owners. Maybe that’s true for anyone within a certain radius of the falling tree, but property owners have a more specific concern: They could be liable for thousands of dollars in damage to cars, or even lives. 

Aug 19, 2015 Robin Epley

To Tip or Not To Tip?

Will an increased hourly wage decrease tips?

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Sick Leave Switches

How does the new law impact household employees?

I am a working single mom, and about six months ago I hired a nanny to help around the house on days I work late or the occasional weekend. Until now I’ve paid an hourly wage for hours worked, and I’m wondering how California’s new sick leave act will impact how I pay my nanny?

Aug 14, 2015 Coral Henning