Current Studies List

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Organic Waste Recycling

Recycling organic waste is California’s ambitious new effort to combat climate change. Residents and businesses are now required by law to separate food scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials from the rest of their garbage. For decades, organic waste has been dumped in landfills, where it releases harmful methane gas as it decomposes. This gas traps heat in the atmosphere, exacerbating already rising temperatures and undermining California’s actions to mitigate the effects of climate change. According to CalRecycle, reducing organic waste in landfills will have the fastest impact on the climate crisis. By 2025, the state aims to reduce organic waste by 75 percent and rescue at least 20 percent of edible food that is thrown out. Yet in Fall 2020, CalRecycle reported that the state does not have the organics recycling infrastructure necessary to fully support compliance with the new law.  The Little Hoover Commission’s upcoming study on this issue will assess how California’s organics recycling law is implemented, examine what impact it has on the state’s environmental goals, and provide recommendations to the Governor and Legislature for any changes. If you would like more information about this study, please contact Ethan Rarick at Ethan. Rarick@lhc. ca. gov. To be notified electronically of meetings, events, or when the review is complete, please subscribe to Little Hoover Commission updates: https://bit. ly/LittleHooverNews.  In the News Rural County Representatives of California, August 26, 2022, "Little Hoover Commission Hears RCRC/ESJPA Testimony on Organics Recycling. "California State Association of Counties, August 25, 2022, "Billions Available to Support Regional Economic Development. "Orange County Register, July 11, 2022, "Successes, challenges mount as California launches organic waste recycling program. "Newsmakers with Jerry Roberts, January 6, 2022, "Why California's New Law Reducing Organic Waste Is Crucial to Combatting Climate Change. "
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Equitable Economic Development across California

California is a center of innovation and home to world-leading enterprises. By some measures, California possess the world’s fifth largest economy. California’s economy is also, however, characterized by significant inequality and sizeable regional disparities. In recent years, California has begun to take notable steps toward supporting regional approaches to economic development. New initiatives and emerging programs may provide a pathway toward addressing regional disparities and supporting inclusive development within regions. Yet it is important to note that the record for regional economic development efforts is mixed, with previous initiatives in California and elsewhere often failing to achieve their goals or provide inclusive growth. The Little Hoover Commission’s study on equitable economic development across California will assess the nature and extent of current regional disparities within the state. It will also examine state efforts to foster inclusive and sustainable regional growth, and how state government can best encourage and support more equitable development. If you would like more information about this study, please contact Tristan Stein at Tristan. Stein@lhc. ca. gov. To be notified electronically of meetings, events, or when the review is complete, please subscribe to Little Hoover Commission updates: https://bit. ly/LittleHooverNews.
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California’s Developmental Disabilities System

Groundbreaking legislation codified more than 40 years ago and known as the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act, established the right to services and individual program planning for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in California. It also established the framework for a statewide system of community-based services and supports, today coordinated by a network of 21 nonprofit regional centers with oversight from the California Department of Developmental Services. In 2021, more than 366,000 Californians accessed services through this system. Lawmakers have invested significantly to strengthen various aspects of the state’s developmental disabilities system in recent years, including providing funding to improve the system’s information technology infrastructure, data collection efforts, and service access and equity. Much of this work is ongoing, yet questions remain as how best to address disparities in the system. Recent research highlights ongoing challenges around variations in the availability and quality of services among racial and ethnic groups and among localities across the state. The Little Hoover Commission’s upcoming study on this issue will assess the extent of current disparities in service access within the state, identify the underlying causes of these disparities and the current state efforts to address them, and consider how state government can improve the consistency and timeliness of service delivery for the individuals and their families who rely on the state’s developmental services programs. If you would like more information about this study, please contact Tamar Foster at Tamar. Foster@lhc. ca. gov. To be notified electronically of meetings, events, or when the review is complete, please subscribe to Little Hoover Commission updates: https://bit. ly/LittleHooverNews.
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