We take a closer look at what's in the finalized California budget in terms of funding for early childhood education and atmospheric river research. Plus, how computers can help offset human bias.
California and the healthcare budget
We've probably all heard the saying, "As California goes, so goes the nation." Other national heavyweights such as Texas and New York may disagree....but when the economy of a single state is the 5th largest in the world, ANYTHING it decides to spend a lot of money on, will get a lot of attention. That brings us to California's budget, which was approved last week. And one of the places the state plans to spend its money is the Affordable Care Act. California will spend nearly a hundred million dollars on Medicaid for young undocumented adults. While that could be interpreted as laying the groundwork for universal health coverage, with the Democratic presidential debates set to kick off the middle of next week. California's health care plans could help mold the political party as it tries to define itself heading into the 2020 election.
- Victoria Colliver, wrote about this for Politico
Nearly HALF of all college students in this country fear they won't be able to afford food. That's according to the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, a non-profit research organization focused on higher education and social policies. Now UC-Irvine’s student government has declared food insecurity a “campus emergency" and is allocating $400,000 to something called the FRESH Basic Needs Hub.
- Andrea Gutierrez, director of the FRESH Basic Needs Hub at UC Irvine, an on-campus resource center and food pantry
Early Childhood Education Funding
California lawmakers just approved a massive budget deal that includes a sizable amount of funding for early childhood education in the state, a state priority for Governor Gavin Newsom.
- Priska Neely, KPCC early childhood education reporter
Atmospheric River Research
Money from Gavin Newsom's budget - $9.5 million - was allocated to the study of atmospheric rivers. These long, narrow regions in the atmosphere are like rivers in the sky and transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics. The climate phenomenon brought a lot of rain to Southern California this past winter.
- Daniel Swain, Climate Scientist with UCLA's Institute of the environment and sustainability
The San Francisco District Attorney is launching a new computer program aimed at reducing implicit bias in criminal prosecutions. It works by removing certain pieces of information from police reports -- such as the race of a suspect or victim -- before prosecutors review them to make decisions about a case. We look at how technology could help us understand human bias, and maybe get rid of it.
- Sharad Goel, Stanford University
Immigrants take big risks coming to California. And once here...many take another risk….starting a business. California immigrants are actually more likely to become entrepreneurs than people born here. As part of our California Dream collaboration, KPCC's David Wagner went to the heart of L.A.'s Thai community to see how immigrant entrepreneurs shape our economy.
Organist Roller Rink
Let's go back in time a bit...to a place that's brought people together for decades, and survived all kinds of fads. It's the Moonlight Rollerway, which sits along an industrial stretch of San Fernando Rd. in Glendale. There you can skate to your heart's content, rolling to tunes new and old. But on Tuesday nights, the soundtrack is special as the sound of a Hammond Organ filters throughout the rink and into the parking lot. It's courtesy of a guy who calls himself the "Fabulous Dominic." He's 85 and is recognized as last roller skating rink organist in California. He also happens to own the place. Peter Gilstrap brings us this story, which first appeared on KQED's The California Report.