News Stories

By Dana Bartholomew

September 28, 2015

When voters across Los Angeles County approved a half-cent sales tax seven years ago to ease traffic gridlock, the San Fernando Valley lost out to a lion’s share of new rail stops.

Score: Greater Los Angeles south and east of the Santa Monica Mountains, 78. The San Fernando Valley, 2.

By David Brunori,

September 24, 2015

We know the story very well. Most services aren’t subject to sales tax in most states. From a tax policy perspective, that’s no good. The sales tax should fall on all final consumption — preferably at a very low rate. So everything we buy should be subject to tax.

There are several reasons for this. First, there is no economic or tax policy reason to tax the purchase of a toaster oven but exempt the purchase of a haircut or accounting service. They’re both consumption.

SB 405 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg is cited

September 23, 2015

SB 405 (Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles): Localities would not be able to require that traffic fines be paid before a driver is able to schedule a court appearance to contest the citation. Analysis: SB 405 originally created an amnesty program for Californians who had lost their driver’s licenses for failing to pay a traffic ticket. When Brown incorporated that proposal into the budget, Hertzberg switched gears with legislation aimed at preventing the types of failure-to-appear fees that can increase the cost of a fine by hundreds of dollars.

SB 405 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg is cited.

September 23, 2015

Fighting a traffic ticket in California might soon be less of a pain.

Senate Bill 405, a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, would prohibit courts from charging drivers a fine or fee before they contest their citation.

In some counties, people must pay the full citation, which can be several hundred dollars, before they can schedule a hearing to contest the ticket.

By Bob Hertzberg

September 23, 2015

Andrew, a 22-year-old single father, was working as a mechanic and making regular installment payments to the court on a couple of traffic tickets.

A few months into the payments, his 2-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia. As his son's sole caretaker, Andrew had to leave his job to care for his son. His sudden loss of income meant that he could not meet the terms of his payment plan, and the court suspended his driver's license. His fines were handed off to a collections agency, with an extra $300 "civil assessment" tacked on for his "failure to pay" as planned.


September 21, 2015

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute hosted Andrä Rupprechter, the Austrian Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, on Monday evening at the University Club for a roundtable discussion among 31 other guests on the subject of climate change and environmentally sustainable practices.  Guests in attendance included the former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and the executive director of R20. Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and his predecessor, former Gov. Gray Davis were also in attendance.

September 14, 2015

A bill headed to Governor Brown’s desk looks to reform the way traffic tickets are challenged and paid in California.

Guilty until proven innocent, that’s how many feel about California’s traffic ticket challenge process.  All fines and fees had to be paid up front before you could make your case.

SB-405 Author Van Nuys Democrat Robert Hertzberg says law allows low-income workers to make payments of fines and not have their drivers licenses suspended.  Tom Perumean, KABC NEWS.

By Allen Young

September 10, 2015

An ambitious proposal to fundamentally change California’s tax code by taxing most professional services is done for the year, Sen. Bob Hertzberg’s office confirmed Wednesday. The bill sought to reduce taxes on income and corporations in return for imposing a tax on nearly all professional services — from accounting to legal services and construction.

Businesses and others took the proposal seriously because it was backed by an influential state senator as well as a think tank made up of wealthy political donors.

Senate Bill 405 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg is cited.

September 10, 2015

The state Assembly on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that allows people to schedule a court appearance even if they haven't paid fines and traffic penalties.

SB405 by Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Los Angeles would require courts to schedule proceedings regardless of a person's ability to pay.

The bill comes after Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers approved an amnesty program in the budget for residents who can't afford to pay off court fines and traffic penalties. The problem has resulted in 4.8 million driver's license suspensions since 2006.

By Patrick McGreevy

September 9, 2015

With California in the fourth year of a drought, a state lawmaker has introduced a last-minute bill that would require half of treated wastewater to be used for beneficial purposes, including landscape watering, by 2026 and 100% usage by 2036.

Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) gutted another bill to insert the language of his new proposal but said he would not have it taken up by the Legislature until next year.

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