Gov. Brown has been keeping details of his state of the state address closely held, but one thing he's going to do is call for less testing and a broader focus for California school students.
From the Bee's Kevin Yamamura: "Sue Burr, executive director of the State Board of Education, told hundreds of school finance officials today that Brown will seek to reduce student testing and push districts to focus on a broader array of subject areas. She spoke at an annual workshop produced by School Services of California, which advises districts on how to budget for the next school year."
Brown's speech, scheduled to be delivered this morning, is likely to reflect Brown's balancing act between cheapskate and visionary, notes the LAT's Anthony York.
"Brown has continued to demand that lawmakers cut deeply into the state's social safety net. He has simultaneously embraced an ambitious high-speed rail program whose price tag has ballooned since 2006, when voters agreed to pay for it. He has said Californians will have to choose between billions in new taxes next fall and cuts in public school funds — but he also has advocated for a new multibillion-dollar water bond."
Meanwhile, the courts and legal officials are weighing in on California political issues.
U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, who put the state prison system's health care operation into receivership to deal with an array of medical problems, says the end of the receivership is in sight.
From the AP's Don Thompson: "The ruling marks an important milestone in a process that began nearly six years ago when the judge appointed a receiver to run California's prison medical system after finding that an average of one inmate a week was dying of neglect or malpractice. He cited inmate overcrowding as the leading cause, but said in Tuesday's order that conditions have improved. He praised the better conditions throughout the system, particularly noted during inspections of medical facilities by the prison system's independent inspector general."
The Justice Department has issued a statement on redistricting that was hailed by the head of the voter-approved commission that drew California's new political boiundaries for this year's elections. Bottom line: The new maps did not violate the Voting Rights Act.
From the Times' Jean Merl: "Assistant U.S. Atty. Gen. Thomas E. Perez delivered the news to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s attorney and to California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris in a two-paragraph letter. “The Attorney General does not interpose any objection to the” new maps, Perez wrote."
"Stan Forbes, chairman of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, said in a statement that the group was “pleased that the Department of Justice has found [the commission] complied with the Voting Rights Act in drawing the districts” for the four counties."
The problems for :PG&E stemming from the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion are continuing unabated. The latest: The utility says it lost track of development around some 300 miles of gas transmission lines -- more than double its earlier estimates.
From the Chronicle's Jaxon Van Derbeken: "The state commission has already opened regulatory proceedings as a result of PG&E's flawed record keeping as well as its acknowledged misclassification of pipelines, a process that could lead to fines against the company. PG&E is also facing the possibility of hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for causing the San Bruno explosion itself, along with possible lawsuit payouts to dozens of victims of the blast and their survivors.
Getting in and out of San Francisco always is an adventure, and its about to get worse -- at least temporarily. The upper deck of the Bay Bridge will be closed as part of the huge construction project, forcing drivers to find new ways in.
From the Mercury-News' Gary Richards: "Crews will use the closing to work between the existing and new bridges to complete the new eastbound lanes, which Caltrans says is not possible without the traffic realignment. The westbound lanes are in the path of the new bridge's eastbound lanes. Without the detours, eastbound traffic would have stayed on the original bridge for about six months after westbound traffic traveled on the new bridge."
Habitat for Humanity, the group that builds homes for low-income people, says the end of California's redevelopment agencies could affect their operations.
From the Press-Enterprise's Jeff Horseman: "Representatives of local Habitat affiliates are in Sacramento today to talk with state lawmakers about affordable housing issues. At least 39 of California’s 49 Habitat affiliates have used redevelopment dollars, according to Habitat figures. State legislation last year abolished redevelopment agencies as part of a plan to solve California’s budget shortfall. A state Supreme Court decision last month upheld the legislation and struck down another law that allowed California’s roughly 400 agencies to continue as long as they sent hundreds of millions of dollars to Sacramento."