All posts by Hanna Basler

In California, the state insurance industry is run by commissar’s edict.

December 22, 2016

Critics of California’s business climate routinely complain about the state’s high tax rates, its large and costly government, its coddled and overpaid class of government workers, and its excessively burdensome level of regulation. It’s an old story — and you can even buy a People’s Republic of CaliforniaT-shirt (or move to Texas) if you want to express your displeasure at the continuing loss of entrepreneurial freedoms here.

The People’s Republic jibes are tongue-in-cheek, of course, but there is a large area of commercial life where this isn’t that much of an exaggeration. An ongoing court case over a regulatory edict illustrates how unfree parts of our economic life in this
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California threatens legal action against Uber unless it halts self-driving cars

California’s attorney general Kamala Harris on Friday threatened legal action against the ride-sharing tech company Uber unless it “immediately” removed its self-driving vehicles from the roads in San Francisco.

The threat from the office of the outgoing attorney general was contained in a letter released to the public Friday shortly after Uber declared it would defy state regulations, a move the company said was “an important issue of principle”.

Twenty companies have been approved to test self-driving cars in California, according to the department of motor vehicles (DMV). Uber is not one of them, and the company is refusing to abide by the same
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‘Mod squad’ growth offsets Democratic supermajorities

Dan Walters: November 29, 2016

It became official this week when one state Senate race in Southern California was called: Democrats recaptured two-thirds legislative “supermajorities” in the Nov. 8 election.

Although it underscores California’s status as a political outlier as Republicans take full command of the federal government, it will probably mean little in practical terms.

Gov. Jerry Brown holds up four bills he signed related to climate change on Sept. 14, 2016, in downtown Fresno. One of the bills, AB 1613, directs $900 million in “cap-and-trade” auction funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs that benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems. However, Brown failed to persuade the
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NICB Says Car Thieves Stay Busy Around the Holidays

News Release: November 22, 2016

ForeCASTSM Report: 2015 National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Holiday Vehicle Theft

DES PLAINES, Ill., Nov. 22, 2016 — When you’re making the rounds at the stores this holiday season, make sure your car isn’t on someone’s gift list. Unattended vehicles, especially those loaded with valuables, make attractive targets for thieves.

New data released today by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows a total of 9,600 vehicles were reported stolen in 2015 on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Holiday vehicle thieves had their busiest day in 2015 on Halloween, stealing 2,238 vehicles according to NICB’s 2015 Annual Holiday Vehicle Theft Report. Theft
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Political Road Map: This is why it takes so long to count votes in California

By John Myers: November 20, 2016

In an era when there’s almost nothing that can’t be found out quickly, the long wait for final results from an election in California feels interminable. And yet, there’s a pretty simple reason why it takes so long to count all the votes.

California is not just home to more voters than any other state in the U.S. But it also has more election laws designed to maximize a voter’s chances of casting a ballot.

“We don’t put up any of the barriers that you see in other states,” said Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation.

Full California election results »

Lawmakers through the years have taken a decidedly pro-voter
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AB 60 driver licenses believed to cause 2015 bump in insured vehicles

News: 2016 Press Release

Department of Insurance sees unexplained increase of 200,000 insured vehicles in 2015.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that AB 60 (Alejo 2013), which provided California driver licenses to those who could not submit proof of legal presence in the United States, might have led to a modest decrease in the number of uninsured motorists in California.

According to a preliminary analysis by the California Department of Insurance, in 2015, the first year since the passage of AB 60, the number of insured vehicles increased by 200,000 more vehicles than would have been expected. In the previous three years, the percentage of insured vehicles increased at
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Teachers union frets about rise of education change advocates: ‘It will have an impact’

BY JIM MILLER AND CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO

The Torlakson name has been a near-constant on the ballots of voters in the San Francisco East Bay, where state schools chief Tom Torlakson got his political start more than three decades ago. Last week, though, the remarkable string of Torlakson victories ended resoundingly.

Mae Cendaña Torlakson, his wife, was trounced by fellow Democrat Tim Grayson after a campaign that attracted more than $3.3 million in outside spending since March by EdVoice, a nonprofit that seeks changes to teacher tenure and other rules.

Grayson’s success was among several legislative victories by candidates who received heavy support from EdVoice and the California Charter Schools Association.

The organizations’ campaign arms,
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NICB: MORE DRIVERS LOSING THEIR CARS BY LEAVING THEIR KEYS

Thefts with keys up 31 percent since 2013

DES PLAINES, Ill. – Last year, a vehicle was reported stolen once every 45 seconds in the United States.  And one out of every eight thefts was a freebie for the thief.  There was a theft every six and one-half minutes where the driver left the keys or FOB inside.

It’s a growing problem according to the latest report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).  The 57,096 thefts in 2015 amounted to a 22 percent increase over the previous year. Over the past three years, this kind of theft grew by 31 percent.

Since many people do not admit to leaving their car
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Sacramento could be among first to test fleet of self-driving vehicles

By Tony Bizjak – October 26, 2016

Self-driving robot cars will be coming soon to the streets of American cities. Exactly when is uncertain. But Sacramento city transportation officials are taking steps now to be ready when the revolution rolls in.

Sacramento will be among 16 select cites meeting next month to discuss ways to harness new technologies, including autonomous vehicles, as part of a new national study effort called the Smart Cities Collaborative.

“We definitely see the future of autonomous vehicles and want to wrap our arms around it and make sure it is safe and equitable for the city of Sacramento,” city planner Fedolia Harris said. “We want to
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Uber-owned driverless truck delivers 50,000 cans of beer

By Melanie Zanona – 10/25/16 02:07 PM EDT

A self-driving truck loaded with 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer has made its first delivery without a driver behind the wheel.

Uber teamed up with Anheuser-Busch InBev for the delivery, which the companies say is the first-ever commercial shipment made by a driverless truck, according to Bloomberg News.

The tractor-trailer drove 120 miles down a preprogrammed route on Colorado’s I-25 highway with a police vehicle traveling behind it. The truck’s human driver remained in the sleeper cab during the journey.

Uber acquired Otto, an autonomous trucking company, this summer as part of the ride-hailing firm’s aggressive push to expand its business.

Although self-driving trucking is still
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