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The State of California—2016 in Review

by admin on 5th-January-2017

Following is a list of some of the key legislative and other highlights that impacted Californians during 2016: 

• Governor Jerry Brown signed the most comprehensive digital privacy law in the nation. It mandates police go to a judge and get a warrant before they can gain access to electronic information as it relates to who a suspect is, where he goes, who he knows and/or what he does—it requires a probable cause warrant for all digital content, location information, metadata and access to devices like cell phones 

• Under the stewardship of Governor Jerry Brown, California continued to lead the nation with its aggressive approach to combating climate change 

• California’s revenues fell short of projections several months in a row during 2016 

• California Transportation Commission was forced to make of $754 million dollars in cuts to several transportation projects due to significant budget shortfalls 

• Passed legislation to provide tuition waivers to the children and spouses of the fourteen people killed in the December 2, 2015 terror attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino 

• VoteCal was implemented to improve service to California voters. It provides a publicly available website which will allow voters to register online; check the status of their ballot; and find their polling place. It will connect all the state’s 58 county elections offices to the Secretary of State’s database to improve the voter registration process, etc. 

• Successful implementation of California’s Earned Income Tax Credit. In 2016, for the first time, California’s low and moderate income workers were able to file for a state Earned Income Tax Credit and/or the federal Earned Income Tax Credit 

• California lifted its mandatory water conservation order (issued in April 2015) that had called for a twenty-five percent reduction in water use statewide 

• Passed legislation that changed the sentencing guidelines for non-violent felony offenders and mitigated the potential for minors to be tried as adults 

• Governor Brown signed legislation that expanded the state’s family-leave law in a way that helps more of the state’s low-income workers. Scheduled to take effect in 2018, it will allow people who earn near minimum wage to be paid 70 percent of their salary while on leave. Workers who earn higher rates of pay, up to $108,000 annually, will receive 60 percent of their salary during their leave 

• Several wildfires swept across the California landscape in 2016. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, during 2016, California wildfires burned 565,070 acres and resulted in the deaths of at least six civilians and one firefighter 

• California bids farewell to longtime U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer 

• State Attorney General Kamala Harris becomes California’s first Black U. S. Senator 

• U.S. Congressman Xavier Becerra appointed California’s first Hispanic Attorney General to replace Kamala Harris who was elected to the U.S. Senate 

• A study by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area revealed dramatic racial and socioeconomic disparities in driver’s license suspensions and arrests related to unpaid traffic fines and fees in California. 

• California raised its smoking age raised from 18 to 21 and e cigarettes were banned for those under 18 years of age 

• California Supreme Court handed the state’s teachers a major victory when it let a lower court ruling stand on teacher tenure 

• Federal judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction against the state’s recently enacted immunization law 

• New legislation provided additional flexibility and requirements to public agencies for the posting of public meeting information; responding to public records requests; and established added requirements for notification to non-resident property owners regarding new parcel taxes 

• A federal jury has awarded California truckers 54 million dollars for Wal-Mart’s intentional failure to pay at least minimum wage for several different job duties 

• Governor Brown signed landmark ethnic studies bill to ensure all California high school students have an opportunity to learn about their own and other cultures, including their history; the importance it had in shaping California’s past; and their role in shaping the present and future

Category: Feature Stories.
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