Politics

Reports focusing on the latest political news and trends along California's Central Coast.

Randol White, KCBX News

A bill in congress, HR 1157, may decide how the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians will move forward with a planned housing development. The issue revolves land purchased by the tribe back in 2010, known as Camp 4.

Jessica Paterson

Hear our interview with local state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. We spoke with Jackson in April, after the California Fair Pay Act passed out the Senate Committee for Labor and Industrial Relations.

If passed, it would be the strongest equal pay law in America. The bill continues to move through the Legislature, and will be heard in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee next week.

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A new Santa Maria DMV office aimed at relieving the pressures of a growing population will likely be built in the coming years.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved Tuesday morning the county's budget for the coming 2015/2016 fiscal year, totaling $562.1 million.

Health and human services and public education make up about 60 percent of the total budget, according to Whitney Szentesi with the county's Administrative Office.

About $2.1 million of the budget will go to a variety of community programs, including homeless services and programs to drive economic development and foster the arts.

Jessica Paterson

Several state legislators have formed a new committee that plans to take action against future oil spills.

The coastal legislators made the announcement Tuesday morning at the state Capitol. The Senate Select Committee on the Refugio Oil Spill will be chaired by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and vice chaired by Senator Bill Monning.

Jackson says they plan to take further action on May's spill.

Flickr member: Kai Hendry

An ordinance that would ban polystyrene in San Luis Obispo will go before the city council Tuesday night.

City of San Luis Obispo

The City of San Luis Obispo and former Police Chief Steve Gesell reached an agreement Thursday regarding his exit earlier this month from the department, according to an official city press release. 

"The agreement ensures that no legal action will result from the separation, and is compliant with the severance clause in his offer of employment," its states. 

Another candidate is adding her name to the 2016 race for San Luis Obispo County's District 3 Supervisor Seat, which includes portions of San Luis Obispo, Edna Valley, Avila Beach and the Five Cities.

Pismo Beach Mayor Shelly Higginbotham, who just won re-election back in November by a very close margin, announced Monday her decision to run. She now joins San Luis Obispo City Council Member Dan Carpenter and former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson in their efforts to unseat Adam Hill.

Hill has served the district since 2009.

Jessica Paterson

    

Central Coast Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R- San luis Obispo) will represent California on three committees-- one national, and two regional. 

He was appointed Friday by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D- San Diego) to help formulate policies on economic development, transportation, energy  and the environment.

Achadjian said he believes he was selected to serve on these committees because of his commitment to the issues represented.

He said his role will be to address the needs of our state while working with those representing others.

Brittany Graham

Scientists at Cal Poly will launch a free system Wednesday that could revolutionize the way Californians keep track of politicians in Sacramento. It's called Digital Democracy and it's something lawmakers haven't had to contend with—until now.

Flickr member Sharon Hahn Darlin

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a free speech case brought by longtime Vandenberg Air Force Base protester Dennis Apel.

The Court issued a short statement this week, simply saying:

Dear Mr. Chemerinsky:

The Court today entered the following order in the above-entitled case:

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC Irvine School of Law and Apel's attorney for several years, says the denial to take the case now leaves legal questions regarding free speech rights.

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Laura Burton Capps, the daughter of Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) says she does not plan to run for her mother's seat next year.

"It would be the ultimate honor for me to represent this incredible district in Congress," said Burton Capps in a written statement. "After giving a campaign serious consideration, however, I’ve decided that now is not the right time for me, Bill and our four year-old-son, and I will not be seeking election to Congress in 2016." 

Jessica Paterson

A bill aimed at closing the wage gap between men and women in California passed out of a major committee today. If signed, SB 358 would become the strongest equal pay law in the U.S. according to Jackson.

The California Fair Pay Act would ensure women are paid the same as their male colleagues for comparable work.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D- Santa Barbara) authored the bill and said it would be the toughest equal pay legislation in the nation because it protects women from being retaliated against should they ask and object to what their male colleges make.

Flickr member: Charles Williams

A bill aimed at reducing the frequency at which foster children are prescribed psychotropic drugs is one step closer to becoming law. 

Nearly one in four children in foster care are prescribed psychotropic drugs. These include anti-depressants, sedatives, and anti-psychotics.

Central Coast Senator Bill Monning (D- Carmel) is the bill's author and said that too often children are prescribed these drugs without proper oversight and that psychotropic drugs can having negative lasting effects.

Katcho Achadjian Facebook Page

The office of Central Coast Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) said Thursday that the politician plans to announce his bid on Friday for the 24th Congression District seat being vacated by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) next fall.

Achadjian's announcement is scheduled to take place at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, Sunken Gardents at 11:00 a.m., with the Assemblymember flanked by numerous local Republican leaders.

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