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Stories by Jenny O'Mara

More Seniors Suffering in Foreclosure Crisis

A statewide legal aid organization that helps senior citizens says more older Californians are being hurt by home foreclosures.

Prison Health Care Becoming Controversial Amid Budget Crisis

State officials say it's time to get rid of the court appointed Federal Receiver who's in charge of improving prison health care in California. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Obama's Actions Please Environmentalists and Governor

Governor Schwarzenegger and environmental groups are hailing a move by President Obama Monday. Mister Obama wants the US Environmental Protection Agency to re-consider California's request to uphold tougher restrictions on auto emissions. Jenny O'Mara reports.

UC President Has New Proposal to Help Low Income Students

The head of the University of California system is hoping to convince more low income students that they can afford the schools. He's proposing some additional financial aid to help with fees. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Lawmaker Wants to Pull the Plug on Electronic Billboards

A Democratic state lawmaker is saying "enough" to attention-grabbing electronic billboards. Jenny O'Mara reports.

State Controller Warns Calif. Could Soon Run Out of Cash

The State Controller is warning California could run out of cash in less than 70 days if the legislature doesn't act quickly to resolve the state's budget crisis.

Another Legal Action to Governor's Plan for Furloughs

It's another day and another legal action against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The challenges continue to his decision to furlough state employees and cut their pay ten percent to preserve cash. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

With the Clock Ticking Governor Rejects Democratic Budget

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is soundly rejecting a sweeping package of tax increases and spending cuts put forth by Democratic lawmakers. They approved measures Thursday by simple majority votes to address part of the state's nearly $42-billion budget shortfall. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Californians Worried About Gift Cards

If you're worried about giving gift cards with so many stores going under, you're not alone. The California Department of Consumer Affairs says gift cards are the top source of questions right now for the agency. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Dem. Lawmakers Promise Budget Vote Before Christmas

A budget vote before Christmas…. That's what state Democratic legislative leaders promised Thursday as they emerged from a meeting with Governor Schwarzenegger. The Governor's office has confirmed that the state's budget deficit now tops 41-billion dollars over the next year-and-a-half. It's nearly fifteen billion in the current fiscal year alone. Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass says she's not ruling out the possibility of a lockdown in the Assembly chamber to get the Republican votes necessary for a plan.

Calif. Treasurer: Public Works Projects Could Come to Halt

Local government officials are bracing for more economic troubles following the state treasurer's word public works projects around California could come to a halt in a matter of days. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Record Number of California Students Turn to Meal Programs

A record number of California children are now getting free and reduced priced breakfasts and lunches at public schools. That's according to State Schools Chief Jack O'Connell. He says more than three-point-one million school children are receiving the meals. That's just over half the students enrolled. O'Connell says the increase is a direct result of the poor economy-and families turning to school meal programs.

New Lawmakers Get Adjusted in Capitol

The state's $28 billion budget deficit didn't dampen lawmakers' enthusiasm for their first day on the job. More than three dozen new legislators were sworn in to office yesterday and most of them are brand new to the Capitol. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Services Will Be Affected By Sales Tax

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to extend the sales tax to many services as a way to generate revenue for cash strapped California. Schwarzenegger unveiled his proposals earlier this month to help fill an $11-billion shortfall this year.

Governor's Budget Fixes Cause Concern

Both labor and business groups are voicing concerns over the Governor's plan to fix the state Unemployment Insurance Fund. He's called on lawmakers to address the issue in this month's special legislative session. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Prop 8 Gains Nationwide Attention with Big Spending on Both Sides

Proposition Eight on California's November ballot is one of the wilder political battles being fought this campaign season. The measure would ban same sex marriage in the state. Prop. Eight is attracting nationwide attention and big money to both sides, as well as an unusual mix of celebrities and churches. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Judge Orders State to Pay $250 Million to Improve Prison Medical Care

A federal judge is ordering the state to pay $250-million for improving medical care in prisons by next week. If California doesn't pay by November 5th the Governor and State Controller John Chiang could face contempt of court charges.

Legislators Want to Make it Easier to Pass Budget

As the California state budget impasse dragged on for months, several Democratic legislators called for an end to the two-thirds vote requirement for a spending plan. They want to take the idea to the ballot. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Governor May Not Sign Budget Compromise

California state lawmakers worked through the night to finally approve a budget. It's been two-and-a-half months overdue. But, whether the governor will sign it is still up in the air. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Budget Deal In Sight

Legislative leaders say they finally have a deal on a California state budget that's two-and-a-half months overdue. Democrats say they'll put the spending plan up for a vote today. But, the Governor has expressed concerns. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Lawmakers Giving Themselves Overtime Pay for Late Budget

Lawmakers say they've come to a tentative agreement on a California state budget. But the lengthy impasse has meant some extra cash in their pockets -- in the form of "per diem" pay. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Poll Shows Californians Not Happy with State Government

As the state budget impasse drags on, the public opinion of California lawmakers has plunged to a new low. Jenny O'Mara reports. The new Field Poll says only 15-percent of voters in the state approve of the legislature's job performance. That's compared to 27-percent who felt that way-just back in July. It's the lowest approval rating ever recorded for the state legislature by the Field Poll over the past 25 years.

Budget Issues Keep Governor in the State, Away from the Campaign Trail

There's a lengthy list of people being hurt by the record-long California budget stalemate. And if it continues much longer, there could be another name to add to that list -- Republican presidential nominee, John McCain. From Sacramento Jenny O'Mara reports.

State Republicans Must Decide Between Convention and Budget

Despite the record breaking late budget, some state GOP lawmakers are attending their national convention. Jenny O'Mara reports.

Governor Proposes Increasing Taxes to Reach Budget Compromise

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to raise the sales tax as a way to end the budget stalemate and bring in more money. The governor outlined his plan Wednesday saying everyone must compromise.

Governor Schwarzenegger Considering Order to Lower State Workers Pay

Schwarzenegger Administration officials have said the governor could sign an executive order as soon as Monday to lower state workers' pay. Jenny O'Mara has more.

California Firefighting Costs Adding Up

We're just a few weeks into the new fiscal year, and the firefighting costs are adding up quickly. From Sacramento Jenny O'Mara reports.

California Legislators Try to Find Common Ground on Budget

The California state budget is now almost two weeks late and still $15 billion short. So, what are lawmakers doing to come to some agreement? From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara checks in.

Foreclosure Assistance Moves Forward for Californians

A measure aimed at easing the foreclosure crisis in California is on its way to the Governor's desk. From Sacramento Jenny O'Mara reports.

Lack of Budget Hurts Some CA Businesses

July can be pretty tough for people whose businesses rely on California state funds. Jenny O'Mara has more from Sacramento.

CA Air Resources Board Wants to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 30%

The California State Air Resources Board has released its initial plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions 30% by the year 2020. There is praise for the effort, but critics say the devil's in the details. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Safety Review Ordered Over Firefighter Injuries

A rash of firefighter injuries has prompted California fire officials to order a safety review. That's because the drought has created some rough fire conditions. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

County Clerks Gear Up for Same Sex Marriages This Week

From changing the paperwork to planning security, county clerks across California have been gearing up for same sex marriages that will get underway early this week, Tuesday in most counties. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Last Minute Attempt to Stop Same Sex Marriage in California

There's a last minute attempt to stop same sex marriages in California, scheduled to begin next week. A group that calls itself a pro-family organization is leading the charge. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Winds Fuel Northern California Fires

Unusually windy conditions in Northern California are keeping state firefighters busy this week. From Sacramento, here's Jenny O'Mara.

Expensive Campaign Season Ahead

A high turnout of voters is expected in the November general election, when people will be casting ballots to decide who's President. That means an expensive campaign season ahead for proponents of ballot measures. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Voter Registration Hits a New High

Voter registration has hit a milestone in California. Now 70% of those eligible have signed up. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

New Fee Proposed to Maintain State Parks

Pay $10 with your car registration and get free access for the year to California state parks. That's the proposal by one Democratic Assemblyman who says his plan would raise much needed funds for state park maintenance. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Latest Field Poll Shows Californians Approve of Same Sex Marriage

Field Poll researchers say it's a first for them in three decades. Their survey on the issue of same sex marriage shows a majority of people think the idea is OK. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Officials Caution Californians About 'Drinking and Boating'

The Memorial Day weekend is not only big for road warriors: it was also a kick off to the boating season. And after seeing some disturbing trends in accident statistics, state officials are urging extra caution on the water. From Sacramento Jenny O'Mara reports.

State Senator Proposes Redistributing First Five Money

A Republican California State Senator says he has a way to save some of the state's low income health programs from the budget axe. He says the answer is legislation to get rid of a statewide program promoting early childhood development. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Monday Deadline to Register to Vote

The June primary is right around the corner. And Monday is the deadline to register to vote in that election. Non-partisan voters should listen up for some changes this time around. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

California's New Assembly Speaker Sworn In

California's new Assembly Speaker was sworn in Tuesday. Karen Bass is a Los Angeles area Democrat who started in the Assembly in 2004 and quickly became the Majority Floor Leader. In an interview with reporter Jenny O'Mara she talks about coping with the loss of her daughter and son-in-law in a 2006 car crash. She starts by talking about her role as the first African American woman in the country with such a position.

Democrat Karen Bass Becomes California's State Assembly Speaker

Democrat Karen Bass is taking over as California State Assembly Speaker on Tuesday. She is the first African American woman in the country to hold such a position. From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara reports.

Laid Off California Teachers Courted By Other States

Other states are trying to capitalize on the teacher layoffs here in California.

State Senator Jeff Denham Discusses Recall Campaign

Republican State Senator Jeff Denham says it's a big weight off his shoulders that the Senate Democratic Leader is dropping the campaign to recall him from office.

State Republicans Seek to Streamline Government

As state lawmakers head into budget season, Republicans are pushing a few ideas they say will streamline government processes.

State's Prison Expansion Plan Faces Another Lawsuit

The state's plan to expand prisons is facing another lawsuit. The group called "Californians United for a Responsible Budget" is challenging the state's authority to finance prison projects using "lease revenue bonds". Those do not have to be approved by voters.

Efforts to Recall State Senator Denham Halted

Republican State Senator Jeff Denham says it's a big weight off his shoulders that the Senate Democratic Leader is dropping the campaign to recall him from office. Senate President Pro-Tem Don Perata made the announcement Wednesday that he was backing off to encourage goodwill during the upcoming budget talks. Denham says the recall has been a distraction.

Group Opposes Using Bond Funds for Prison Expansion

A group that opposes prison expansion is suing to block California's plans to add thousands of prison and jail beds. Jenny O'Mara reports from Sacramento.

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