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A County-by-County Look at CalFresh Use in California

Five years after the Great Recession officially ended, more than one in 10 Californians now rely on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — called CalFresh in California — for food assistance. This rate has risen slowly but steadily since 2011.

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Twitter Chat With the CBP on Corrections Spending: July 22

California’s new state budget continues the persistent trend of higher state spending on corrections, despite a declining crime rate and an anticipated drop in the state prison population in the coming years. New funding has been made available for jail construction, even though various alternatives to incarceration could promote public safety and would be more cost-effective.

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How Did Child Care and Preschool Really Fare in the State Budget?

The 2014-15 budget agreement (read our initial analysis here) made changes to California’s subsidized child care and state preschool program that one legislator described as “the largest investment in those two areas in a decade.” This reinvestment is a positive step forward in restoring funding for the state’s child care and development system, but it […]

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Policymakers Take Steps to Improve Food Security, but Opportunities to Address Hunger Remain

State policymakers have recently taken several important steps to expand access to CalFresh food assistance for California families, but opportunities to address high levels of poverty and hunger in the Golden State remain. More than 15 percent of California households struggle to afford enough food, even several years after the Great Recession officially ended.

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The State Budget Is Done — Time to Start Thinking About … the State Budget

In the wake of another on-time state budget, and with the Legislature on a month-long summer break, it would be natural to conclude that Californians won’t hear about — and don’t need to think about — the state budget again until sometime in 2015.

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An Opportunity to Improve Transparency in the New K-12 School Funding Formula?

Tomorrow’s State Board of Education (SBE) meeting in Sacramento will focus on California’s new funding formula for K-12 schools — the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

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2014 Immigration Session Roundup

President Barack Obama kicked off 2014 with a strong statement of support for immigration reform, declaring, “It is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system.” In the months since the State of the Union Address, the frustrating stagnation in Congress has led many to become disheartened with the prospect of federal reform. Though a great deal of focus on immigration reform has been at the federal level, states have continued to make progress while the matter is considered by Congress

Good Workplace Practices Lead to a Vibrant Economy

As state legislatures across the country wrap up their deliberative sessions it’s a good time to review what they accomplished on behalf of working families and small businesses. From Minnesota to Hawaii, states considered and passed minimum wage increases. States also looked at providing seniors with a more secure retirement and low-income workers with the safety of paid leave for illness or family care. These policies represent our vision for the economy, one that is pro-worker and pro-business and makes our workplaces healthier, drives more customers to local businesses, secures a future of prosperity for workers of all ages, and grows our country’s economy.

Low-Wage Worker Strikes Spread West as States Wrestle With Minimum Wage

This week, Seattle became the latest city to see strikes by fast-food workers calling for higher wages, following similar actions in New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Detroit this year. Echoing the calls of workers in other cities, Seattle workers were demanding the right to organize without employer retaliation as well as higher wages. Washington state currently has the nation's highest minimum wage, at $9.19 an hour.

Connecticut the Latest State to Allow Driver's Licenses for Immigrants

With comprehensive immigration reform continuing its arduous path through Congress, states continue to work on their own tracks, passing reasonable, humane, and economically beneficial immigration policies. In addition to measures like tuition equity, this includes bills that allow undocumented immigrants access to driver's licenses. This week, Connecticut became the latest state to pass such a bill, while California saw bipartisan support emerge for theirs -- yet more evidence of how the politics around immigration reform may be shifting: