CAP·impact

A Resource for Understanding and Shaping California Law and Policy

Today I’ll be taking an in-depth look at California’s Constitution, and also do a brief comparison of California’s Constitution to the U.S. Constitution. California’s Constitution was adopted in 1849, just prior to California becoming a state in 1850. It is the governing document for the state of California. By most accounts, our state’s constitution is one of the longest in the world. It has been amended or revised some five hundred times. The main reason…
On this week’s episode of The CAP⋅impact Podcast, I talk with former Chair of the IRS Advisory Council and Professor of Law at the University of California, Davis School of Law, Dennis Ventry. Professor Ventry is a long-time advocate for tax reform, specifically reforming the federal free file program. The intent of the federal free file tax program is to allow low-income taxpayers to file their tax returns for free. His critique of the…
Like the federal government, California laws are found in three places: the state constitution, the codes or the statutes, and regulations. The hierarchy of laws in California is the same as under federal law, with the Constitution on top, statutes in the middle, and regulations on the bottom. The following is a brief overview of these three sources of California laws. The California Constitution is one of the longest in the nation. It’s about 110…
Lobbying is advocating on behalf of a client or cause – generally for payment but also sometimes on a volunteer basis – to attempt to influence official action of either legislative or executive branch officials, and their staff. Individuals, or groups of individuals, lobby elected and appointed officials and their staff in an attempt to influence those officials’ decisions. Lobbying at a professional level is done primarily by paid advocates who are employed by companies,…
During the legislative session there are more than 2,500 bills usually introduced and hundreds of these are spot bills or intent bills. So what are they are why are they used? According to California’s Legislative Counsel, a spot bill is one that does not make any substantive change to the law and would not otherwise affect the ongoing operations of a state or local government. Generally, spot bills are not referred to policy committees unless…
When you think of scams to exploit the elderly, what comes to mind? Are you thinking of those dubious, at best, emails from a Nigerian prince too? Yeah, here’s the thing. The ways that older adults – and in some cases younger adults with certain mental impairments – can be financially exploited are far more nuanced than that. Katherine Pearson, a Professor of Law at Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law, was the only…
              Today’s podcast covers a list of resources that my colleague, Ray LeBov, and I have put together. You can find a full list of these on Ray’s website. What are some of the resources we cover on Ray’s site? For one, The Institute of Governmental Advocates is a voluntary non-profit professional membership association for California lobbyists and lobbying firms. IGA maintains a professional code of conduct for…
You would think you own your DNA, right? That seems intuitive enough. As I learned in my conversation with Jessica Roberts – Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law & Policy Institute at the University of Houston Law Center – intuition has nothing to do with the law on this. In fact, who owns your DNA and the data in it is far more complicated. While legal thinking and public policy are evolving…
There are some firms that work to support lobbyists through managing coalitions, directing grassroots campaigns, conducting public outreach, or other indirect efforts to enhance or promote the efforts of lobbyists. There are a handful of public affairs firms in Sacramento that do this type of work. There are firms that specialize in social media lobbying that create websites and digital media campaigns to influence lawmakers’ decision making. There are also strategic communications firms that focus…
The state of California has three forms of direct democracy and they are found in Article II of the state constitution. Those three forms are the initiative, referendum, and recall processes. Initiative The initiative begins with presenting a petition to the California Secretary of State that includes the text of the proposed statute or constitutional amendment before the circulation of an initiative petition for signatures by the voters. A copy is submitted to the Attorney…