A whopping 37 percent of Californians, or 12.1 million people, were uninsured for at least one month during 2007 and 2008, according to U.S. Census Data. Most were uninsured for at least six months, and 80 percent were in working families. Scary? Yes, but if Assembly Bill 23 passes, the numbers lacking the safety net they need will be far less daunting.

Anytime something happens on April Fool's, one must be suspicious: Was it a prank? An excellently-timed joke, planned just in time for that most merrymaking of days?

In the case of California's sales tax, it was no joke. On Wednesday, April 1, the California state sales tax officially went up one percent, to a nice, round six percent. And for certain counties with already-high sales tax rates, this bumps it up to closer to nine percent.

It nowappears that Sandra Cantu, the 8-year-old who was last seen wearing a"Hello, Kitty" shirt, didn't die at the hands of the clich├ędshadowy stranger.

Instead,the person accused of killing the Tracygirl is the statistical abduction probability: 60 percent of the time whensomeone other than a family member kidnaps a child, it's someone the child is atleast acquainted with.

No government officials ended up in bodies of water or tarred and feathered, though the message was clear.

The nationally-synchronized Tea Parties of April 15 brought out citizens of all stripes on April 15, with a common message to the federal government: "Don't tread on me!"

SAN FRANCISCO -- U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will likely get an earful today during a hearing on whether the Federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling in the outer continental shelf should be restored.

The hearing at UCSF's Mission Bay Conference Center will kick off at 9 a.m. and will feature a cavalcade of California political luminaries who stand opposed to former President Bush's decision to lift the ban last year.

What would you do with $50 billion?

Would you balance a budget, and keep funds to spare? Would you hire more police and firefighters and/or increase their salaries? Would you invest heavily in infrastructure and restructuring a foundering education system? Funny thing is, with all of the many thousands of elected and appointed government officials throughout California, a consensus has yet to be reached on this question.

A classmate of mine at Northeastern School of Law, Greg Huff, recently died. At his memorial, a professor read some of his legal work. To paraphrase one of Greg's powerful essays from memory, he explained that he was a strong advocate of gay rights because he "forcefully endorsed an individual's right to choose to define themselves rather than conform to a culturally manufactured binary choice".

California'sAfrican-American, white, Latino and low-income students all have improved significantlyon national tests in fourth-grade reading and eight-grade math over the pastdecade, and at a slightly better pace than the nation as a whole, accordingto a new report.

California leadsthe nation in financial aid offered to low-income college students. It's in themiddle of the pack - 25th - nationally when it comes to college affordability.