California

California is poised to protect workers from extreme heat—indoors

Only two other states have adopted heat rules for indoor workers. Nationally, legislation has stalled in Congress, and a process initiated by the Biden administration to establish national heat standards for outdoor and indoor work could take years to finalize.

In new year, all immigrants in California may qualify for Medicaid regardless of legal status

New enrollees will join more than 655,000 children, young adults through age 25, and adults 50 or over who have already signed up for Medi-Cal through previous expansions to residents lacking legal authorization.

The latest youth climate lawsuit tries a novel argument: The unique environmental vulnerability of children

Eighteen California children say the EPA fails to recognize the unique physical and mental impacts climate change has on kids.

Mental health funding is fast becoming “the bipartisan issue of our time”

States from California to Texas are increasingly investing in mental health as a recognition takes hold that the status quo isn’t working.

California’s budget troubles are unique—at least for now

The Golden State could face a $68 billion deficit through mid-2025. But other states appear to remain fiscally strong, with many still spending surpluses. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

California wins big as Biden administration doubles down on high-speed rail

The Golden State will benefit from $6 billion in new grants to provide connections in the Central Valley and between the Los Angeles suburbs and Las Vegas. An East Coast route is getting big money too.

Cloud a ‘game-changer’ for health insurance marketplace

When California’s health insurance marketplace migrated to the cloud, it cut costs, improved consumer experience and gained the ability to scale to demand.

Generative AI has ‘significant, beneficial’ uses for state government

A report from California on the technology found that it could improve performance and make services more accessible to residents, but risks must be mitigated.

DELETE Act closes ‘big loophole’ and tightens regulations on data brokers

California is the first state to allow residents to request that data brokers delete their personal data, but some worry it will be difficult to implement and enforce.

New California law offers fresh protection from steep ambulance bills

The law prohibits ambulance companies from balance billing patients, or charging them for any unpaid costs after insurance. Patients can expect to save an average of nearly $1,100 per emergency ambulance ride, experts say.

How one city is streamlining housing construction

San Francisco is required by state law to build 82,000 housing units by 2031, but it won’t even come close if the city maintains its current pace. Mayor London Breed hopes that reducing fees and red tape will spur more development.

Communities boost climate resilience by protecting pollinators

More cities are planting native plant-based gardens to slow loss of pollinators, which play a critical role in achieving climate adaptation goals.

Exxon, Apple and other corporate giants will have to disclose all their emissions under California’s new climate laws that will have a global impact

COMMENTARY | California is the world’s fifth-largest economy. Laws tested there often spread across the U.S. and around the world.

In scrapping its LGBTQ-related travel ban, California pivots to ‘hearts and minds’

Lawmakers nixed a seven-year ban on state-funded travel to states that enact discriminatory laws.

Should public officials be allowed to block constituents on social media?

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to answer that question as a new term gets underway. The justices will hear two cases on the issue out of California and Michigan in which lower courts ruled differently.

California enters the ring of drug manufacturing. Could others follow?

As insulin prices have skyrocketed, states have intervened to lower them with price caps. Now, California’s decision to manufacture its own is leading other states to consider similar steps in an effort to ensure essential medicines are affordable to the public.

California officials seek ‘care’ without coercion as new mental health courts launch this fall

Under the new system, family members and first responders can ask county judges to order people with psychotic illness into treatment, even if they are not unhoused or haven’t committed a crime.

Are tax incentives boons or boondoggles?

Though there’s lots of evidence that the economic development tool may not be effective, it is still in wide use. Fortunately, there are ways to control the potential waste of taxpayer dollars.

California looks to preserve its role as ‘global hub’ for generative AI

An executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom looks to create replicable guidelines for the ethical and responsible use of generative AI in state government.

To solve the affordable housing crisis, some communities are turning to hotels

The pandemic presented communities with a unique opportunity to convert hotels into residential spaces, creating everything from temporary transitional housing to long-term supportive homes. But is the model sustainable today?