California News Round – August 18, 2008

Assembly Democrats’ budget bill fails — A revised budget proposal by Assembly Democrats failed Sunday night in the lower house of the state Legislature during an unusual weekend session that quickly morphed into nearly five hours of finger-pointing that didn’t end the 48-day budget stalemate. The 45-30 vote fell well short of the 54 “yes” votes needed to satisfy the two-thirds majority required.

Some question if computer is to blame in California minimum wage standoff — State Controller John Chiang says configuring the state’s antiquated computer system to pay workers minimum wage would take six months.

George Skelton: Let go of the past and allow offshore oil drilling — Admittedly I’m biased on offshore drilling. I was born in Santa Barbara, grew up in Ojai and spent many a weekend on the beach. But that didn’t make me an anti-drilling fanatic.

Free digital texts begin to challenge costly college textbooks in California — The annual college textbook rush starts this month, a time of reckoning for many students who will struggle to cover eye-popping costs of $128, $156, even $198 a volume. Caltech economics professor R. Preston McAfee finds it annoying that students and faculty haven’t looked harder for alternatives to the exorbitant prices.

School boards are prodded to take a stance in gay marriage debate — Some trustees want their panels to take a public stand on Proposition 8, the initiative that would ban same-sex unions in California.

California State Fair: Muslim booth offers answers on Islam — Cindy Cassidy is the first to admit she knows little about Islam. She has questions, but she’s never had the opportunity to ask Muslims about their faith.