California is changing quickly and in ways that touch the lives of all of its residents. The state has enrolled millions of people in health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act. It is moving ahead to expand the cap-and-trade program that is a cornerstone of AB 32, the landmark law mandating a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
In K–12 education, California is implementing two sweeping policy changes at the same time. New English and math standards, called the Common Core, require big changes in what is taught in the classroom. A new school funding formula, the Local Control Funding Formula, gives districts increased flexibility over spending and provides extra money for disadvantaged students.
Historic changes are playing out in the corrections system as well. Realignment, which shifted responsibilities for many offenders from the state to the local level, has had a significant impact on the state, counties, and communities.
Amid these policy shifts, California is coping with a major drought that has focused attention on the state’s need to improve its water management.
These changes are also taking place in an election year—and California’s elections have also undergone major changes. This is the first election in which state constitutional officers, such as governor and controller, will be elected under the top-two primary system.
At PPIC we are focused on monitoring and analyzing the impact of these changes—both short and long term—and examining other steps the state can take to meet its critical challenges. In recent months, we have delivered objective, nonpartisan research on all of these topics. We plan to release many more publications in the months ahead. Our PPIC Statewide Survey will continue to give California residents a voice in the policy changes that affect them, as it has since 1998. The PPIC blog provides regular updates on the impact of the drought, as well as news and analysis on a range of policy topics from our experts.
Through our extensive outreach, we have hosted discussions on these important topics and more. We invited California’s two top legislative leaders to share their priorities for the upcoming session. At another recent event, the two secretary of state candidates talked about how they would improve elections and increase voter participation, if elected. Both of these events were webcast live to engage Californians from all over the state.
We encourage you to sign up for our announcements to learn about future events. We hope you’ll stay up to date with our publications and videos by signing up for our monthly e-bulletin, following us on social media, and subscribing to the PPIC blog.
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.