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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The California Journal of Politics and Policy (CJPP) is an online journal of original scholarship, focusing on state and local politics, public policy formation and implementation, especially in the Golden State.


The Growing Presence of Faith-Based Hospitals in California Restricts Access to Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare

Sexual and reproductive healthcare restrictions imposed by faith-based hospitals prevent women, sexual minorities, and gender minorities from accessing the full range of comprehensive healthcare. The share of faith-based hospitals in California has increased rapidly in recent years, but no analysis has been completed to understand their distribution and rate of growth. In this paper, we calculate the percentage of religiously affiliated acute, short-term hospital beds per California county. We find that faith-based hospitals have a majority market share in 17 out of 58 California counties. Furthermore, while the percentage of faith-based hospitals in these counties has remained relatively stable from 2000-2010, this proportion has increased tenfold in the past decade. Our data suggest that the expansion of faith-based healthcare systems in California presents a significant barrier to sexual and reproductive healthcare access.

Examining Child Deprivation Across California and How It Could Be Addressed with Early Childhood Education

Socioeconomic deprivation can create adverse conditions with direct impacts on the development of children. The Early Childhood Deprivation Index (ECDI) shows that there are significant differences in the extent of deprivation of young children (aged 0 to 5 years) among the counties in California. Our research shows that the cost of childcare forms a significant proportion of family income among low- and middle-income families. It indicates that families can pay for a high proportion of such costs if they could access the available federal and state government entitlements. A universal high-quality early childhood education system brings about an efficient way of providing the childcare without the unnecessary cost of employing a means-tested entitlement mechanism.  However, even with universal early childhood education, families need support to be able to take advantage of the program, since pre-schooling will be on a voluntary basis. It is therefore important that in addition to providing education universally- communities, and the state make every effort to increase the ability of California families to benefit from this important opportunity.

Alaska Electoral Reform: The Top 4 Primary and Ranked-Choice-Voting

Why did Alaska develop a top 4, Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system? This article explains the role a blanket primary played in the evolution of Alaska’s nominating process, beset by demands of the rising Alaska Republican Party (ARP) to protect its rights as a political association while the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in California v. Jones constrained states’ interests.

In 2019-2020 reformers proposed a new system emphasizing a nonpartisan primary with RCV, which political party leaders opposed. Voters narrowly approved the ballot measure in the 2020 general election; it was used for the first time in a special election, and primaries in 2022 and the following general election. The most significant outcomes were the election of Mary Peltola, a Democrat (and Alaska Native) to the state’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and reelection of Republican Lisa Murkowski, senior U.S. senator, who defied former President Donald Trump.

The article presents information on major political party registrations, showing switching dominance (from Democratic to Republican). However, from 1970 to 2023, a majority of registrants were either nonpartisan or undeclared, a different pattern than found in the other states. The report compares Alaska’s experience with those of other states using RCV, and concludes with a discussion of the broader implications of the Alaska case.

Alaska’s New Electoral System: Countering Polarization or “Crooked as Hell”?

In November 2020, Alaska introduced a new electoral system, combining a “top four” all-party primary with ranked choice voting (RCV) general elections. Supporters of this reform claimed it would reduce the partisan polarization and minority victories generated by closed primaries and plurality elections. But critics suggest that it could make polarization worse by weakening political parties—an important check on political extremism. These are high-stakes issues that go well beyond Alaska, given the problem of political polarization and the search for institutional reforms in America today. Placing the Alaskan reforms in this broader national context, this paper presents an initial assessment of Alaska’s new system at the 2022 primary and mid-term elections. We find the reform was both consequential and largely beneficial, promoting greater choice for voters, more accommodative campaigning, and generally more moderate outcomes than likely under the old rules.