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Riggs Report: California’s health care hit

​March 24, 2017

Gov. Brown gets heated over cost of GOP’s new health care bill

During his trip to Washington this week, Gov. Jerry Brown initially didn’t engage in the fiery rhetoric of resistance that’s become a favorite theme of Democratic leaders at the state Capitol.

Instead, he met with House Republicans, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, as well as House Democrats and President Trump’s transportation secretary.

As Brown noted to reporters, he was in D.C. not to throw bombs but to “make friends and advance the cause of California”—at least until Wednesday.

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The Riggs Report: Health care repeal spells budget trouble for CA

Medi-Cal funding faces big cuts

California was a notably enthusiastic early supporter of the Affordable Care Act after it was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama in 2010. The state pursued newly available federal dollars in an effort to reduce the number of uninsured.

Given current efforts to repeal and replace the law, that early embrace may cost the state dearly.

The ACA included substantial federal funds to expand Medi-Cal, the state’s safety net for children, seniors, and low- to moderate-income workers. According to state records, about 3.6 million more Californians have gained health care coverage…

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The Riggs Report: How political heroes are made

​March 2, 2017

Last week’s ejection of Sen. Janet Nguyen gives her new status

Sometimes, rules are made to be broken.

Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Orange County, knew that she was in violation of Senate policy last Thursday when she attempted to offer remarks critical of the late Sen. Tom Hayden and his storied opposition to the Vietnam War—that was no surprise.

It should have also come as no surprise to Senate Democrats that Nguyen’s forcible removal from the floor by security officers would be a PR disaster for them, and a PR bonanza for…

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Riggs Report: Jerry Brown’s defiant turn

January 26, 2017

State of the State speech foreshadows political warfare

Gov. Jerry Brown was as fired up and animated this week as I’ve seen him in recent years. He used his State of the State address, not to outline a broad agenda of policy goals as he and other governors, have done in the past. But instead, he delivered a passionate pledge before a joint session of the Legislature to defy the Trump Administration’s moves to roll back protections related to health care, immigration and the environment.

“The future is uncertain and dangers abound,”…

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The Riggs Report: California’s political defiance

January 5, 2017

Democratic leaders put former Attorney General Eric Holder on payroll

The Democrats who run things at California’s Capitol issued a call to arms this week with the announcement that they havehired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to oversee potential legal warfare with the incoming Trump administration.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, said the Legislature’s hiring of Holder’s law firm, Covington and Burling, reflects a desire to be prepared.

“The Covington team will be an important resource as we work with the governor and the attorney general to protect California…

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The Riggs Report: Oil drilling angst

​December 15, 2016

Gov. Jerry Brown seeks offshore ban on new wells

President Obama could do California Gov. Jerry Brown a final favor before turning over the keys to the Oval Office to Donald Trump in January. But will he?

With the clock running out, Brown dispatched a letter to the White House this week, asking the president to use his authority under existing law to permanently ban the drilling of new oil and gas wells in federal waters off the California coast.

“Clearly, large new oil and gas reserves would be inconsistent with…

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The Riggs Report: Sac mayor-elect fights for civil rights

December 8, 2016

Darrell Steinberg gears up to oppose Trump deportation policies

Darrell Steinberg no longer wields the statewide political leverage he had during six years as president pro tem of the State Senate. But as he prepares to take the oath of office next week to become Sacramento’s mayor, Steinberg is not leaving behind conflict on another high-level stage with the incoming Trump administration in Washington.

“You work with him where you can, you fight where you must,” Steinberg told me this week in response to a question about Donald Trump.

In the…

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Riggs Report: One party rule in Sacramento

​December 1, 2016

Democrats now hold supermajority in California

California woke up to a new political reality this week: the Democratic Party now wields complete dominance in Sacramento, with word that Republican Ling Ling Chang lost her bid for a Senate seat in the Southern California-based 29th District.

That was the final piece to fall into place for the Democrats, who now hold a two-thirds supermajority in not just the Assembly, but in the Senate, as well.

It underscores just how different a political outpost California represents when compared to much of the nation.

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The Riggs Report: Death and taxes on the ballot

​November 17, 2016

CA voters surprise some with proposition approvals, rejections

Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted as saying, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”

California voters underscored that saying in last week’s election, turning down another effort to repeal the death penalty while also approving a higher tobacco tax and an extension of higher income taxes for the state’s wealthiest residents.

But with the dust settling on the outcome of a ballot crammed with the most propositions in 16 years, the overall results defy an easy explanation or road map of where the state…

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The Riggs Report: Trump trauma on the ballot?

October 27, 2016

GOP candidate’s polling slide spells trouble for other California candidates

Donald Trump’s polling deficit is no surprise in Democrat-dominated California. After all, no Republican has carried the presidential vote here for 28 years.

But how big is the current gap? The latest UPI-CVoter poll gives Hillary Clinton a 20 point lead in the Golden State. However, Trump, who once pledged to run competitively in California, is now threatening to become an election liability for other Republicans in close races on the ballot.

There has been longstanding concern within Republican circles about…

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