Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

August 16, 2013
Californians rated as being nation's 11th least obese

Obesity_Rates_States.jpgA quarter of Californians are overweight, but the state has the nation's 11th lowest rate of obesity, according to a new report from the Washington-based Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Generally, the report found that obesity rates are highest in Southern and Midwestern states, with Louisiana having the highest at 34.7 percent, and markedly lower in Northeastern and Western states, with Colorado having the lowest at 20.5 percent.

The years of data collection on obesity discovered a trend toward equalization of the genders. A decade ago, American women had obesity rates six points higher than men - 33.4 percent to 27.5 percent - but the latest data indicate that rates are very similar, albeit much higher for both genders. They are 35.8 percent for men and 35.5 percent for women.

Both numbers are lower in California, but men are higher in this state as well - 26.2 percent for men and 23.8 percent for women. The study also found that California's baby boomers, overall, have an obesity rate of 31 percent, while for older Californians it's 21.1 percent. For young adults aged 18 to 25 years old, it's 13.7 percent.

The details on California are available here.

PHOTO: Two women speak to each other in New York on June 26, 2012. The Associated Press/ Mark Lennihan

August 16, 2013
Rumor at California Capitol shows how 'telephone game' works

RogerHernandez4.JPGThe cellphones of California Capitol insiders were buzzing early Thursday with the words "Hernandez" and "police," making for an enticing rumor.

Witnesses said they saw police entering loft apartments near the state Capitol and that one of them belonged to someone with the last name of Hernandez.

That sparked speculation -- and what some described as a texting frenzy -- about an incident involving Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, who lives in the building where police were seen.

Hernandez has been the subject of several accusations of criminal or ethical misconduct in the past few years.

But Thursday?

August 16, 2013
AM Alert: Opponents of cap on medical damages make case

MICRA.JPGThe doctors and lawyers are at it again. We've been keeping tabs on formidable foes clashing over the $250,000 cap on pain and suffering damage awards in medical lawsuits, imposed by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, also called MICRA. Today, supporters of raising the cap take their case to legislative staff.

In the good cop/bad cop, fix-it-through-legislation vs. expensive-ballot-battle split, Consumer Attorneys of California is playing the reasonable party advocating the legislative route. (Consumer Watchdog drafted the language for the looming ballot measure.) The group is hosting a legislative briefing in the state Capitol today on the cap and, presumably, why it should be raised.

Speakers will include Jay Angoff, former Director of the U.S. Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, lobbyist Barry Broad and Bob Pack, who lost two children to a driver with a prescription drug abuse problem and has filed the ballot measure under the auspices of Consumer Watchdog. From 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in room 437.

VIDEO: The long delays in repairing the Bay Bridge, whose new span is finally poised to open, remind Dan Walters of California's struggles with executing big projects.

BILL CLOCK: Technically, today is the last day for Assembly policy committees to meet and pass bills. But since the Daily File is blank today, and lawmakers have already headed for their districts, the deadline has for all intents of purposes passed. We find ourselves now in the home stretch of Appropriations meetings, urgency bills, hearings and floor votes.

PHOTO: This West Sacramento billboard launched this year's fight to overturn a state law capping pain-and-suffering damages in medical negligence cases. Photo by Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy group.

August 16, 2013
Dan Walters Daily: California bucks big projects

With the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge span finally set to open, years behind schedule, Dan wonders what took so long.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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