California pays meth users to get sober

Substance use experts say incentive programs that reward participants, even in a small way, can have a powerful effect with meth users in particular, and a growing body of evidence indicates they can lead to long-term abstinence.

California is about to tax guns more like alcohol and tobacco—and that could put a dent in gun violence

COMMENTARY | Gun deaths and injuries aren’t just tragic—they’re expensive, too.

One city takes to the streets to address extreme heat

A Los Angeles neighborhood tested the impact of an innovative cool pavement coating, and research shows it holds potential to supplement climate mitigation efforts.

How states can help formerly incarcerated individuals stay sober

A Medicaid waiver can help state corrections facilities finance reentry services aimed at keeping previously incarcerated individuals in recovery and curbing the opioid crisis.

Powering down: To prevent wildfires, states try turning off the grid

COMMENTARY | The trend started in California, but now more states are opting to shut off power to parts of the grid in extreme conditions.

California’s new rules allow solar and batteries to help out the grid

Utilities tend to treat solar and batteries as threats to their power grids. California’s policy will now tap their flexible power to benefit the grid instead.

Is the US privacy policy good enough?

COMMENTARY | A disjointed approach plagued by compromises is making American data privacy policy more complicated and less effective in delivering the protections people desperately want and need to see.

California prison drug overdoses surge again after early treatment success

Drug overdose deaths in California state prisons rebounded to near record levels last year, a big setback for corrections officials who thought they were on the right track with medication-assisted treatment efforts. Officials blame fentanyl.

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.

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