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The Riggs Report: A genderless pay scale

Measure advances to reduce workplace discrimination

Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, is not a natural ally of the California Chamber of Commerce. Last year, the Chamber opposed a bill she carried to prohibit sale or lease of a vehicle subject to recall. The measure failed a key committee vote. The year before, the Chamber also opposed another bill she authored to increase legal rights of domestic violence victims. Business owners were opposed because of warnings that it would increase litigation costs. It passed and was signed by the governor.

Both measures had this in common: they were placed…

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The Riggs Report: How not to run for office

Loretta Sanchez’s stumbling start in the race for U.S. Senate

If it’s not an axiom of campaigning, it should be. Political candidates should concentrate on running for office, not running away from reporters.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who is running for U.S. Senate, displayed an admirable sprinting style last weekend while attempting to avoid a KCRA reporter’s questions about her use of a “war cry” hand gesture while making reference to a pending meeting with Native Americans.

Sanchez had apparently just learned that her use of the gesture had been recorded on a smartphone by a political activist…

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The Riggs Report: Education’s budget bonus

Schools sweep up on extra state revenues

Gov. Jerry Brown will preside over the release of a revised state budget that is swimming in extra revenues. Good news? Yes, but primarily, only if you work in public education.

Under terms of Proposition 98, approved by voters a quarter century ago, almost all of that windfall will end up in the coffers of K-12 public schools and community colleges. Part of that has to do with built-in formulas that require schools to be reimbursed for recent recession-era cuts, in addition to guaranteed increases.

It’s a big windfall. Tax…

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The Riggs Report: Peeling back the dome

New Digital Democracy website offers Capitol transparency

Sam Blakeslee spent eight years as a member of the Legislature; six years in the Assembly, including a stint as Republican Leader, and two years in the Senate. Now he wants to promote greater transparency when it comes to how the Capitol and his former colleagues operate. And he’s doing it with the help of some whiz kids from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Blakeslee, along with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, was in Sacramento this week to launch a new website called Digital Democracy with sophisticated software that allows users to…

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The Riggs Report: Brown’s new green

Governor unveils aggressive new global warming target

Gov. Jerry Brown signaled Wednesday that he intends to stake his political reputation on new greenhouse gas reduction targets that his office called, “the most aggressive benchmark enacted by any government in North America.”

How aggressive? Brown’s surprise announcement came in the form of an executive order that calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels, and to do it by 2030, just 15 years from now.

In a prepared statement, Brown spoke of the ambitious nature of the order.

“California sets a very high…

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The Riggs Report: Earth Day’s California origins

1969 Santa Barbara oil spill galvanized environmental movement

President Obama marked the occasion of Earth Day this week with a visit to the Florida Everglades and a speech about the environmental and economic consequences of climate change. Among those consequences, he warned, are rising seawater levels which threaten fresh water supplies and the prosperity of the state’s lucrative tourism business.

The Earth Day address marks the White House’s renewed efforts to draw public attention to the impacts on jobs, property values, and health. It’s also a proactive move that acknowledges a political reality; opposition to the President’s policies…

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The Riggs Report: The candidate rollout continues

The 2016 presidential contest appears closer than ever

Campaign season is here. Hillary Clinton’s and Marco Rubio’s launch of their presidential campaigns this week marks just the beginning of a campaign marathon that will test the candidates’ skills, their consultants’ tactics and the voters’ patience.

Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, joins Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on what will eventually be a long list of Republican hopefuls.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is raising big bucks for his planned announcement. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is still pondering whether he wants to…

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The Riggs Report: No drought of news about the drought

Water crisis promises to dominate 2015 at the Capitol

Gov. Jerry Brown’s meeting this week with agricultural and urban water officials and environmental leaders is just the latest sign that California’s Capitol has traded, for now, a fiscal crisis for a water crisis.

For many years, balancing the budget and trying to stem rivers of red ink has been the dominant conflict playing out in Sacramento. That conflict hasn’t faded entirely, of course—there are upcoming tough talks about whether California should hold the line on spending cuts, or restore funding to social services and health care.

That…

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The Riggs Report: A Texan for Sacramento State

New campus president named to replace Alexander Gonzalez

Wednesday’s announcement that the California State University trustees had picked a Texas educator as the top administrator for Sacramento State set off all kinds of jokes and winks on social media.

“Take that, Rick Perry,” tweeted West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

“The moving trucks are fleeing Texas and coming to California!” read another tweet from a Democratic Senate staffer.

Not that Dr. Robert Nelsen , formerly president of the University of Texas-Pan American, isn’t qualified for the Sac State job. It’s just that his Lone Star State credentials…

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The Riggs Report: Senate slugfest ahead

Runoff for vacant seat should be lively

Steve Glazer is the Democratic candidate that labor unions despise. But he ended up the top vote-getter Tuesday in a raucous special election called to fill the Senate District 7 seat left vacant when Mark DeSaulnier was elected to Congress.

Glazer, the mayor of Orinda and a former adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, didn’t win the race. He and fellow Democrat Susan Bonilla, a member of the Assembly, now move on to a runoff election May 19. That means another two months of hardball campaigning in Contra Costa and Alameda counties…

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