California Official Says Agency May Extend Fracking Notification Period

The head of the California agency that is drafting first-time regulations for oil and gas hydraulic fracturing says the agency is willing to consider extending its proposed public notification requirement for fracking operations beyond 10 days, in response to requests from lawmakers. The agency is also open to working with lawmakers to craft legislation establishing a process by which the public can seek the names and amounts of chemicals used in fracking that operators have claimed are confidential under trade-secret statutes, according to the official.

However, some leading state lawmakers continue to question whether the agency's proposed fracking regulations will be strong enough to ensure the safety of public health and the environment. They also appear skeptical that the agency needs to take more than a year to develop the regulations.

Assemblymember Levine to Require Evolution of "Cal State Online"

Legislation will direct coordination between all CSU campuses allowing students greater access to online courses

Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) today announced a plan to overhaul "Cal State Online" an online education program within the California State University (CSU).

This legislation will direct the CSU Board of Trustees to provide students system-wide access to online courses offered throughout each of the system's campuses. Currently, CSU students are limited in their ability to take online courses at CSU campuses other than their own.

Levine Comments on White House Gun Violence Prevention Plan

Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) made the following statement after President Obama announced a comprehensive plan to protect American children and communities by reducing gun violence:

"I applaud the White House's leadership in taking on this critically important issue," said Levine. "Americans love our liberties and we take them seriously. But as a peace loving nation we also know that there is no place in our communities and neighborhoods for weapons of war. California has some of the strongest assault weapon laws in the nation. I am happy to see that federal law may also include some of those laws."

Marin residents offer mixed reactions to Obama gun proposals

Marin residents reacted Wednesday to President Obama's proposal for new gun control legislation with a mixture of praise and criticism.

"It's a thoughtful proposal," said U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael. "Members of Congress should get to work right way on the parts of it that require legislation, and we ought to try to get it passed in the next few weeks."

Jerry Brown touts online education pilot at San Jose State

SAN JOSE -- Amid a push by Gov. Jerry Brown to expand online course offerings at public colleges and universities, San Jose State University and an online education startup today announced a deal to provide three entry-level courses for credit online.

The pilot program, if successful, could eventually be expanded statewide, officials said. It is unique because of the low price -- $150 a course -- and because it makes courses available to students who are not enrolled at the university.

Levine to Introduce Legislation Establishing Strict Fracking Safety Standard

Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) announced today he will introduce legislation to ensure hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" poses no threat to public health and safety.

"The oil companies promise that fracking is perfectly safe. This bill simply makes them keep that promise. Public health and safety is the state's highest priority," Levine said. "We need to end the rubberstamping of oil and gas drilling permits and put in place a process that reflects this priority. Safeguards in the fracking permit process are necessary to ensure Californians continue to have a safe water supply."

Governor Proposes Pivotal 2013 Budget, Boosts to Medi-Cal, Schools

California Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his 2013-14 budget proposal yesterday, declaring that the state's lean years of budget deficits are over. In place of dramatic spending cuts, the governor's $97.6 billion dollar plan instead offers modest boosts to school funding, along with an expansion of the Medi-Cal program as the state transitions to its Covered California health benefit exchange in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act.

Jerry Brown's next goals depend on new legislative bonds

On the eve of their swearing in last month, newly elected Assembly members gathered for a reception at the Stanford Mansion, where they were introduced one by one to Gov. Jerry Brown.

"Success," said the host of the reception, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, "is built on relationships," and the introductions Pérez facilitated were meant to forge ties with Brown.