The California Legislature is in session. California Assembly and State Senate Floor Sessions will begin at noon. Today’s schedule is here.
On to today’s California headlines:
Lawmakers should push forward with the long-troubled overhaul of the state’s computer system, the Legislative Analyst’s Office recommended in a report Monday.
As conceived, the new computer network — known as the Financial Information System for California, or FI$Cal — would allow the state to manage its money more efficiently.
Still, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, which provides policy and budget advice to lawmakers, said the project shouldn’t be abandoned.
“We believe the benefits of proceeding with FI$Cal development at this time outweigh the costs of the project,” the report said, calling it “one of the most ambitious and complex IT systems in the history of the state.”
With a July 1 deadline looming, a coalition of California chefs has filed a petition with the state Legislature hoping to get a ban on foie gras overturned.
Lawmakers in 2004 gave chefs and the state’s sole producer of the fatty duck liver seven years to comply with a law outlawing the sale and manufacturing of foie gras, arguing that the force-feeding required to produce the delicacy is inhumane.
One hundred chefs joined forces on Monday to keep the dish on their menus. Coalition spokesman Nathan Ballard says their petition argues that this is not the time to impose on restaurants already hurting from the economic downturn.
City workers whose positions could be cut under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposed $7.2 billion budget pleaded for their jobs Monday, as union representatives delivered their own financial plan to avoid layoffs.
Under Villaraigosa’s proposal, employees like Artilla Watts and Joy Kawthorn, veterans of the Los Angeles Police Department, could lose their jobs.
The two women – who train police officers on the technology system used in LAPD vehicles – are representative of the 159 civilians slated for layoffs. They are both minorities and women, typical of the makeup of the LAPD’s civilian workforce.
They’re also the brain trust of the department, they argued.
“What you see is what you get,” Watts told members of the Budget and Finance Committee Monday. “We’re the only ones trained to help recruits learn this equipment.”
Villaraigosa’s 231 proposed layoffs would touch many city departments, but primarily affect the civilian side of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The plan to close a $238 million deficit follows years of cutbacks by Villaraigosa, who has eliminated more than 4,500 positions during his tenure.
Roughly three million poor and disabled Californians had their coverage for dental services cut three years ago, and community dental clinics have struggled to cover preventative services ever since.
“It was not something we wanted to do,” says Robert Isman, a consultant with the Dental Program for California Department of Health Services. “We knew that there would be repercussions and there have been.
Dental services aren’t mandated under the federal Medicaid program and California, with a program called Denti-Cal, was one once of the few states to cover non-emergency services for adults. But with the state budget crisis, legislators cut the non-mandatory services.
Community clinics are quick to offer painful examples of clients who need help with their teeth since their benefits were slashed.
For instance, an elderly patient at Asian Health Services in Oakland’s Chinatown had all his teeth pulled so he could get dentures. Then the Denti-Cal cuts went into effect, and dentures were no longer covered. He was left with no replacement teeth.
His daughter called Huong Le, AHS’s Dental Director to ask for help. “He was losing weight. He couldn’t eat because he didn’t have his teeth – the physicians were really concerned about his health condition,” Le said.
Le applied to Asian Health Service’s Community Care Fund and was able to get the money for his dentures. But the fund, made up mostly of donations from AHS staff, covers medical procedures as well oral health. There isn’t enough to pay for dental care for everyone. “We still have to be able to keep the doors open,” Le said.
Enjoy your morning and here is Dan Walters Daily Video: The cradle of advanced technology?