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Our running list of CA Fwd news coverage, alongside selected items on reform in California.

California Senate announces committee chairmanships

Sen. Ricardo Lara has landed one of the most powerful committee chair assignments in the California Legislature, overseeing the Senate Appropriations Committee that decides the fate of hundreds of bills each year. Read more

How government can unlock economic benefits from Open Data: Part 1

Zillow, the fast-growing online real estate marketplace, couldn’t exist without public data. More specifically, it probably couldn’t exist without online public data relating to real estate sales information. Read more

A smart California tax bill points the way to needed reform

He's a freshman state senator showing no fear, no hesitation and seemingly no political sense. His first bill is a huge, historic tax hike. Sen. Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), of course, is no ordinary babe-in-the-woods, backbench freshman. Read more

U.S. board: Federal law on high-speed rail trumps state environmental lawsuits

A three-member panel of presidential appointees has potentially derailed seven lawsuits challenging the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s approval of its Fresno-Bakersfield bullet-train route and raised questions about how California environmental law will apply to other planned rail sections across the state. Read more

Activists seek reforms in ethics and transparency in Sacramento

Two groups active in city of Sacramento politics said they will push for ethics and transparency reforms similar to those that were part of the failed strong-mayor ballot measure. Eye on Sacramento and the League of Women Voters – which both had criticized the strong-mayor initiative – said they will likely seek to put a measure on the June 2016 ballot to create an independent commission to draw City Council district boundaries and a commission to enforce a new ethics code. Read more

Report: Hispanics earn one-fifth of California’s disposable income

Hispanics in California are thought to have become an ethnic majority this year. The population's spending power is climbing and was a little more than 20 percent of the state's entire after-tax income in 2013, according to a new report by Partnership for a New American Economy, a group that advocates for immigration reform. Read more

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