Just who is an independent contractor?

A sweeping new California Supreme Court ruling restricting who is an independent contractor is shaking up an exceptionally diverse range of industries. The ruling, issued in April, affects an estimated 2 million independent contractors working in healthcare, beauty salons, gig economy jobs like Uber and Lyft, journalism, music, real estate, education, financial planning, agriculture, construction, technology, insurance, transportation and more

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Opinion

All dialysis patients should have access to care

A nurse in a hospital renal unit starts dialysis treatment on a patient. (Photo: Tyler Olson)

OPINION: I first started having problems with my kidneys when I was 11-years-old.  By the time I was 20, I was on dialysis. I was able to keep my kidneys for a while, but as often happens with kidney disease, the illness eventually took over. Almost 40 years and three kidney transplants later, I have beaten the odds by staying alive, but only because of the dialysis treatment I receive every day.

Opinion

Climate investments support jobs across California

Windmills at the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm in Southern California, generating clean renewable electrical energy. (Photo: Patrick Poendl, via Shutterstock)

OPINION:At this week’s Global Climate Action Summit, the focus is not on countries’ efforts to curb climate change, but on how cities, states, businesses, nonprofits and other non-national actors are building a low-carbon future from the bottom up. As the host state, California is in the spotlight. And do we have a story to tell.

Analysis

Fire, water and Trump’s tweets

A firefighting helicopter takes water from a golf course pond in Stevenson Ranch near Santa Clarita. (Photo: Krista Kennell, 2007)

On Aug. 6, President Donald Trump made his first Twitter statement on California’s summer fire season, which started on June 1. Unlike his statement on last year’s Wine Country fires, when the president tweeted condolences to victims of the fires and support for the firefighters, Trump used these latest natural disasters to troll California with nonsense.

Opinion

State Water Project: Our most important infrastructure

A portion of the California Aqueduct in the Central Valley. (Photo: Hank Shiffman, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Ask me what tops the list of California’s most critical infrastructure, and I’ll tell you it’s the State Water Project. It’s hard to argue with the fact that water is a prerequisite for all life and a healthy economy. That’s why financing the operation and maintenance of the State Water Project in a responsible, cost-effective manner should be common sense — not a political volley that puts California’s lifeline at risk and threatens ratepayers with a surge in water rates that is easily avoidable.

News

Fires: Choked data remains an issue

Anthony Bowden, chief of the Santa Clara County Fire Department, testifies before the Assembly's Select Committee on Natural Disaster,Response, Recovery and Rebuilding. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

As California’s largest wildfire moved swiftly, the internet speed in the area slowed to a crawl: Verizon choked it down to the first responders battling the Mendocino Complex blaze. Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, says a new law is necessary to protect first responders’ access to high-speed internet, although Verizon acknowledged the move and quickly apologized.

Opinion

Fair ‘exit fee’ critical to renewable energy future

A concentrated solar energy thermal plant in the Mojave Desert. (Photo: Piotr Zajda, via Shutterstock)

While utility responsibility related to California’s devastating wildfires is dominating headlines and the agendas of policymakers, flying below the radar is a pending decision from the California Public Utilities Commission to change the formula for a fee charged to energy consumers who leave the power supply of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) like PG&E and instead get power from local community choice aggregation programs, also known as CCAs.

News

California’s valley fever on the rise

Lab supervisor Marilyn Mitchell pulls samples during tests for Valley Fever at the Community Medical Center lab in Fresno. (Photo: Fresno Bee/Craig Kohlruss, 2014, via AP)

The first sign that Rob Purdie had valley fever was when he woke up one day with what felt like a hangover but he hadn’t taken a drink. He had a splitting headache that was so bad that he had to stay in dark room with the blinds drawn and his sunglasses on. He was eventually diagnosed with coccidioidomycosis meningitis, the most severe form of valley fever.

Opinion

‘Company unions’ deepen post-Janus threat to labor

A union supporter carries the California flag at a rally in Capitol Park. (Photo: Karin Hildebrand Lau, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: You’d be hard pressed to find a more challenging threat to America’s labor movement than the Supreme Court’s recent Janus decision—which overturned 40 years of established legal precedent and the laws of 23 states in forcing public sector unions to represent non-members for free.

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