Lessons from Research

The Little Hoover Commission – America’s only permanent, independent citizens commission working to improve state government – is charged with recommending policy reforms that promote “economy, efficiency, and improved service” for Californians. Since its founding in 1962, the Commission has issued almost 250 reports on various policy areas designed to accomplish these goals. Recently, we released a series of short essays that highlighted the ways in which past Commission research and recommendations can help guide policymakers as they struggle to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We continue that work below, covering a range of issues confronting California lawmakers. We intend to publish similar pieces in the future, summarizing the rigorous, fact-based research that is the hallmark of Commission reports, and tying that work to events in the news. In this way, we hope to provide valuable, real-time assistance to policymakers. We hope you will check back in this space often as we connect the work of our Commission to the challenges of our state.

Pedro Nava
Chair
Little Hoover Commission
 

 

Wildfire Preparedness and Forest Management
May 20, 2020
 

Governor Newsom updated Californians last week on the state’s wildfire preparedness amid the Covid-19 pandemic and expected revenue shortfalls. Newsom announced that – conditions permitting – the state would soon complete the last of 35 priority forest management projects ordered in the governor’s March 2019 emergency proclamation for wildfire.

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Voting During the Coronavirus Pandemic
May 13, 2020
 

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged America’s electoral system in many ways. By mid-March, leaders in 16 states and Puerto Rico had decided to push back or cancel Primary Elections to limit spread of the virus through in-person voting.

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COVID-19: Preparing for Catastrophic Events
April 16, 2020
 

More than a decade ago, the Little Hoover Commission issued two reports offering recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on how California can better prepare for a catastrophic event and how the state’s public health system can operate more robustly. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that the Commission’s recommendations on disaster preparedness are still vital to ensure that California’s government is prepared to serve its residents effectively during catastrophes.

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COVID-19: Serving the Vulnerable
April 16, 2020
 

From individuals experiencing homelessness or living in poverty to those suffering from mental illnesses, California’s most vulnerable residents are disproportionately affected by the COVID- 19 pandemic. More than 150,000 Californians are currently homeless, while nearly 7 million live in poverty

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COVID-19: The New Role of Tech
April 16, 2020
 

Beyond testing California’s capacity to respond to a massive public health emergency, the coronavirus pandemic has forced state agencies and departments to rapidly ramp-up digital government capacity and deploy technology tools in highly visible ways, with serious ramifications for individuals and communities alike. The coronavirus, though obviously a tragedy, has given digital government a unique opportunity to prove itself.

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COVID-19: Managing Government
April 16, 2020
 

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a dramatic impact on government operations. Large parts of California’s state government workforce have transitioned to remote work, the state is responding to an unprecedented increase in requests for public assistance, and state officials have sought to create an inventory of locations that could be used for hospital beds, shelter for  homeless people, and other forms of pandemic response. These are extraordinary management challenges for state government.

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COVID-19: Rebuilding a Strong Workforce
April 16, 2020
 

California is facing a workforce and educational shortage that is likely only to worsen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the crisis, the Public Policy Institute of California estimated that by 2030 California will have a shortage of 1.1 million workers holding a bachelor’s degree.

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