News Stories

Drivers' chance to get back licenses (SB 405)

June 20, 2015

By Bob Egelko

The new state budget that the Legislature approved Friday offers a break to some of the millions of Californians whose driver's licenses have been suspended for failing to pay traffic tickets - a chance to get their licenses back by signing up for a cut-rate repayment program, with further discounts for the poor.

he action follows a report in April by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights in San Francisco that said 4.2 million Californians had their licenses suspended between 2006 and 2013 for failing to pay traffic fines and court-added fees.

By Jim Firth

June 20, 2015

The November 2014 election produced one of the lowest voter turnouts in recent memory. Yes, it was an “off-year” election, and yes, in California many of the candidates seemed predetermined, and yes, the ‘Top-Two’ system now in place in California reduces the number of qualified choices. But we can do better.

The recently elected Secretary of State, Alex Padilla has some ideas to improve voter turnout and ease the registration process so more qualified voters may participate in their government.

June 20, 2015

In an effort to help prevent mentally ill inmates from returning to prison, the state spending plan approved by lawmakers today includes $3 million in additional program funding pushed by Sen. Bob Hertzberg.

“This money will go toward paying for programs to help jailed persons living with mental illness,” Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said after senators approved the 2015-16 budget agreement. “It can be used to provide treatment and training for people suffering from mental illness.”

June 18, 2015
The era of the neighborhood polling place with its paper voter rolls and rickety booths isn't quite over, but it is well on its way out in California. No tears will be shed here: It's high time the state entered the 21st century.

A new bill, Senate Bill 405, was recently proposed for stories like his.

June 18, 2015

Daniel Zapien was 20 years old when he first lost his drivers license. After two tickets, it took him more than six years and $5,000 dollars to be able to hold this card once again. He was in what California Governor Brown calls a "hellhole of desperation." A new bill, Senate Bill 405, was recently proposed for stories like his.

By Farida Jhabvala Romero

June 17, 2015

Rene Macedo Nolasco, a night shift worker, was driving home late at night on May 2 from his job at the Tesla Motors plant in Fremont when he noticed flashing lights in his rearview mirror. Twenty minutes later, a Menlo Park Police officer had cited him for driving with a revoked license, a misdemeanor. His blue 2006 Audi, which he had just purchased a few days before for $6,000, was towed to an impound lot.

Macedo Nolasco could have reclaimed his car in 30 days — if he had the money to pay for the $60 to $80 daily tow yard storage charges, plus other fees.

By Nick Salazar - Peninusla Press

June 12, 2015

Christina is one of the estimated 4 million California drivers struggling to manage the mounting financial burden of a suspended driver’s license, the result of costly driving fines.

By Chris Nichols

June 11, 2015
Driven by record-low voter turnout, California Democrats on Wednesday proposed a system that would deliver vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters, eliminate many neighborhood polling places and replace them with larger voting centers that allow early voting.

Bill seeks to expand options for voters

June 11, 2015

By Melody Gutierrez

SACRAMENTO - Lawmakers are calling for revamping the state's voting system, which they say doesn't take into account the busy lives of Californians, whose ability to vote on election day can be thrown off by an extra meeting at work or a sick child.

June 11, 2015

California drivers can now appear in court to challenge their traffic tickets without paying a fine first, under a new rule adopted unanimously by the state’s Judicial Council on Monday.

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