Regular v. Emergency Rulemaking in California

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By Chris Micheli

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) is charged with ensuring that agency and department regulations are “clear, necessary, legally valid, and available to the public.” OAL is responsible for reviewing proposed regulations by California’s more than 200 state agencies and departments that have rulemaking authority. The formal rulemaking process is established by the California Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the APA sets forth the criteria by which OAL reviews all of those regulations.

Every department, division, office, officer, bureau, board, or commission in the executive branch of California state government must follow the rulemaking procedures in the APA, as well as those regulations adopted by the OAL as part of the rulemaking process, unless that entity is expressly exempted by statute from some or all of the APA requirements.

In addition, there are two types of rulemaking. According to OAL, the two types of rulemaking procedures that a state agency can pursue are regular or emergency. The regular rulemaking process requires that a state agency meet certain public hearing and notice requirements pursuant to the APA.

The emergency rulemaking process has different requirements, but generally includes a brief public notice period, a brief public comment period, review by OAL, and an OAL decision. Whether engaged in theregular” or “emergency” rulemaking process, an agency or department will be bound to follow the procedural requirements found in the APA, such as the contents of the rulemaking record, timeframes, and opportunities for public participation.

The vast majority of regulations adopted pursuant to the APA are submitted to OAL as “regular” rulemakings. Unless a proposed rulemaking action is submitted to OAL as an “emergency” rulemaking or is otherwise exempted from the APA, the regular rulemaking process must be complied with when an agency or department undertakes a rulemaking. The regular rulemaking process includes comprehensive public notice and comment requirements.

The regular rulemaking process also requires that documents and information on which the rulemaking action is based are available for review and inspection by members of the public. This comprehensive process is intended to further the goal of public participation in the rulemaking process and to create an adequate rulemaking record for review by OAL and, if necessary, by the courts.

In terms of “emergency” rulemaking, the general rule is that a state agency may adopt emergency regulations in response to a situation that calls for immediate action to avoid serious harm to the public peace, health, safety, or general welfare, or if a statute deems a situation to be an emergency under the APA. Because emergency regulations are intended to avoid serious harm and require immediate action, the emergency rulemaking process is substantially abbreviated compared to the regular rulemaking process. OAL reviews emergency regulations for compliance with the APA’s emergency rulemaking requirements.

If an emergency rulemaking is undertaken, a Form 400 is used and this contains the proposed text and the finding of emergency as submitted by the rulemaking entity. These documents may be revised or withdrawn during the OAL review process. Unless the emergency situation clearly poses an immediate, serious harm that delaying action to allow public comment would be inconsistent with the public interest, OAL must allow five calendar days for public comments after posting a notice of the filing of a proposed emergency regulation on its website.

In addition, some agencies and departments have requirements related to regular or emergency rulemakings that are unique to that particular agency or department. The APA standards and procedures for emergency regulations were revised effective January 1, 2007. They should be reviewed prior to undertaking an emergency rulemaking. In the meantime, interested parties should regularly review the OAL website for proposed regular and emergency rulemaking actions.

Chris Micheli is a registered lobbyist with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law in their Capital Lawyering Program.

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Floundering #CaGOP tries to leverage #JanetNguyen’s martyrdom

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California state Sen. Janet Nguyen spoke Saturday at the California Republican Party convention in Sacramento. She’s become a GOP martyr.

Nguyen had been removed from the state Senate chamber on Thursday while trying to speak about the late state Sen. Tom Hayden’s opposition to the Vietnam War.

The silencing of Janet Nguyen, a Republican state senator and Vietnamese refugee, became a rallying force at the California GOP convention.

The annual gathering was largely expected to be a sleepy affair this year, but a decision by Democrats on Thursday to physically remove Nguyen from the Senate floor energized the event. Nguyen was removed as she spoke about her family’s struggle during the Vietnam War, a response to lawmakers memorializing the late state Sen. Tom Hayden, a vocal critic of the conflict.

The moment was  a potential boon to the political career of Nguyen, the only California Republican state legislator who is a woman of color. The senator, who represents parts of Orange County and Long Beach, is one of the highest ranking Vietnamese American politicians in the country. And Nguyen has raised her immigrant story throughout her tenure in Sacramento, such as during a 2015 effort to stop state-funded colleges and universities from banning display of the American flag.

Democrats argued that Republicans were being hypocritical. They noted that some GOP members of Congress have failed to hold town halls or limited who was allowed to attend. And they also raised the recent incident in which Republican leaders stopped Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as she read a letter written by Coretta Scott King on the U.S. Senate floor during the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions, now the U.S. attorney general.

No doubt the Democrats behaved like hypocrites by ejecting Nguyen from the Senate chamber. However to think the California Republicans can turn the political tide that is clearly against them with this one political stunt is simply silly.

Janet Nguyen’s appearance on the California political stage won’t undo decades of hate-based bigotry which has been the foundation of the California Republican message.

Nguyen would be better served distancing herself from back-slapping white male Republcan leaders who want to make her “a star.”

Source material courtesy of the LA Times

Congressman #JeffDenham skips town hall meeting circus

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Congressman Jeff Denham wanted no part of a gathering in the 10th Congressional District similar to the three 4th District Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville, braved in his, including a two-session verbal bloodletting Wednesday night in Sonora.

McClintock was an idiot who took the bait and got caught in the trap. He looked stupid and incompetent.

Denham apparently wised up. He’s not the only one.

Across the nation, GOP congressional representatives went home to face angry constituents who clearly don’t like what they’ve seen thus far from President Donald Trump – including some who voted for him in November – as well as others don’t think he’s gone far enough fast enough.

Suddenly, people who used to detest Congress but loved their district’s representative have turned on him/her too. And just as suddenly, many politicians who played to crowds during the campaigns now avoid them.

Source material courtesy of the Modesto Bee

The @CaGOP’s hate-based political message has done them in 

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With Donald Trump in the White House, a party long out of step in Democrat-dominated California sees an opportunity. Republicans say they should have a more relevant role as a bridge between the state and a GOP Congress and White House. A state that voted for Hillary Clinton, they say, still needs to maintain its financial ties with the federal government.

Nice try Republicans. However no one is going to buy this gibberish.

It’s a new situation for lawmakers who remain a political minority in California. A poll released earlier this month found that a third of Golden State voters approve of the job Trump has done so far. In most California districts, Republican legislators outperformed Trump.

And the demographic reality in California is as troubling for Republican politicians as it was before the election.

Making up 26 percent of voters, Republicans are barely hanging on as the second-largest registration status in the state. Californians who declined to state a party preference represented 24.3 percent of voters in November.

Latinos, a majority of whom are Democrats, are the largest ethnic group in California, giving them more influence here than anywhere else in the country. While carrying Trump and Republicans nationally, poor and middle class Caucasians represent a decreasing segment of the population in California.

In the end, the hate-based rhetoric that has been the foundation of the California GOP’s political strategy for decades has done them in. Their irrelevancy is their reward for their incompetence and bigotry.

Source material courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

The @SenateRepCaucus’ inept political stunt demonstrates why they’ve earned super-minority status

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The state Senate’s Democratic leaders forcibly prevented Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen, a refugee from Vietnam, from criticizing the late Tom Hayden.

Earlier in the week, senators took turns lionizing Hayden, who served in the Senate, as a visionary progressive.

Nguyen purposely waited two days before arising to present, first in Vietnamese and then in English, an alternative view of Hayden’s leadership of the antiwar movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

“Mr. Hayden sided with a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family. Mr. Hayden’s actions are viewed by many as harmful to democratic values and hateful towards those who sought the very freedoms on which this nation is founded,” Nguyen said in Vietnamese.

After delivering her brief remarks in Vietnamese, Nguyen began to repeat them in English, but after only a few words, Sen. Bill Monning, a friend of Hayden’s, interrupted her and Sen. Ricardo Lara, who was presiding, told her to stop talking. When she refused, Lara told the sergeant-at-arms to “please remove Senator Nguyen from the chamber. Have her removed immediately, sergeants, please remove Senator Nguyen. She is out of order.”

The GOP really doesn’t have empathy for Vietnamese refugees. They simply saw a chance to perform a meaningless headline-grabbing political stunt that was pure symbolism over substance.

The police and the other arms of California state and local government routinely brutalize the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, and people of color, meanwhile Republicans remain silent. Why?

Senate Republicans and their colleagues in the Assembly remain a side-show.

Source material courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

Political neglect means you’ll pay more for road repairs

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The way California raises money to maintain and repair state highways and local roads has largely been the same for more than two decades.

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders want to change that, and Californians would pay more as a result.

In what would be the biggest shakeup of state transportation funding since the early 1990s, they are trying to craft a package that would raise billions of dollars for road upkeep, goods movement and public transit, mostly through a mix of higher taxes and fees.

Officials point to tens of billions of dollars in road maintenance and repair backlogs, with this month’s crisis at Oroville Dam presenting a case study of what can happen as public works age.

Super-minority Republicans have criticized the proposed tax increases, recommending that the state reallocate its existing money to pay for roads.

In typical Republican fashion, they haven’t said which programs they would cut in exchange. (That’s because they really don’t have a plan.)

Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, said his members have been largely excluded from the talks. That’s what happens when you’re a super-minority.

Source material courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

#PoliceState Update: 69-year-old disabled woman brutalized by Modesto police officers dies

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Patricia Mugrauer sued Modesto last year after a police officer entered her home without her permission or a warrant and pushed the frail, disabled senior, causing her to fall and break her hip.

She settled her lawsuit last month for nearly $750,000, but Mugrauer won’t collect a dime. She died Jan. 26, a week after her settlement, at the age of 69.

One of her attorneys says Modesto is not off the hook and owes the money to his client’s estate.

Patricia Mugrauer places her hand on the door. Lee – who appears to be at least twice as big as Mugrauer – pushes the door open with his left hand, while pushing Mugrauer with his right arm, and enters the home. Mugrauer stumbles backward and hits the floor with a thud.

Source material courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

California’s roads are crumbling to pieces – state leaders don’t seem to care

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Oroville Dam isn’t the only piece of California dancing on the edge of disaster this month.

For years, people in the transportation world have complained California roads and other infrastructure have been quietly crumbling. With this winter’s heavy rains, that deterioration is no longer quiet. It’s become YouTube fodder.

That includes sensational video last week of a fire truck suddenly plummeting off the edge of a collapsed section of Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County and a video in Studio City of two cars disappearing into a 20-foot-deep sinkhole in the middle of a residential street.

Caltrans said it has already spent more than $400 million in emergency funds this winter to deal with state highway failures. If you add emergency work on local roads, the costs could already have topped $1 billion statewide.

This winter has finally left an impression on state and community leaders. Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed more than $400 million be spent on flood control. “We got to belly up to the bar and start spending money.”

Yeah, right. If the Governor and Legislators actually cared, they would have done something about this long ago.

A coalition of road builders, cities and counties applauded the Governor but said the Legislature must finally come up with permanent stable funding for transportation.

They shouldn’t hold their breath.

Source material courtesy of the Sacramento Bee

Underground Regulations and the Role of OAL

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By Chris Micheli

The Office of Administrative Law (OAL) is charged with ensuring that agency and department regulations are “clear, necessary, legally valid, and available to the public.” OAL is responsible for reviewing proposed regulations by California’s more than 200 state agencies and departments that have rulemaking authority. The formal rulemaking process is established by the California Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the APA sets forth the criteria by which OAL reviews all of those regulations.

OAL reviews regular and emergency rulemaking projects, as well as challenged “underground” regulations. On the OAL website, readers can track on a table the list of rulemaking actions submitted to OAL for review. This list is updated daily per OAL. The website also contains a listing of underground regulation petitions that are under review by OAL.

Concerning the review of alleged underground regulations, the role of OAL is specified in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 1, Division 1, Chapter 2, which is titled “Underground Regulations.” In Section 250(a), it provides the following definition: “’underground regulation’ means any guideline, criterion, bulletin, manual, instruction, order, standard of general application, or other rule, including a rule governing a state agency procedure, that is a regulation as defined in Section 11342.600 of the Government Code, but has not been adopted as a regulation and filed with the Secretary of State pursuant to the AP A and is not subject to an express statutory exemption from adoption pursuant to the APA.”

In CCR Section 260, the submission of underground regulation petitions is discussed. Section 270 deals with the OAL review of these petitions. And, Section 280 describes the suspension of underground regulation actions. In terms of “underground regulations,” OAL is charged with reviewing any such challenged regulatory agency actions by way of a petition filed with OAL.

According to the OAL, “if a state agency issues, utilizes, enforces, or attempts to enforce a rule without following the APA when it is required to, the rule is called an ‘underground regulation.’ State agencies are prohibited from enforcing underground regulations.” If an individual or entity believes a state agency or department has issued an alleged underground regulation, that issuance can be challenged by filing a written petition with OAL.

If OAL accepts the petition for review, then OAL may issue a determination. According to OAL, this program is informally known as the “Chapter Two Unit,” or “CTU,” because OAL’s regulations regarding underground regulations are found in California Code of Regulations, Title 1, Chapter 2. The OAL website provides information on underground regulations and how to submit a written petition to OAL alleging an underground regulation.

OAL’s review of an alleged underground regulation is limited to a 3-step analysis to determine whether the alleged underground regulation must be adopted as a regulation pursuant to the APA. First, is the policy or procedure either a rule or standard of general application, or a modification or supplement to such a rule? Second, has the policy or procedure been adopted by the agency to either implement, interpret, or make specific the law enforced or administered by the agency, or govern the agency’s procedure?

If the answer to these two questions is “yes,” then the challenged rule is a regulation. However, before a determination is complete, OAL must review the final step of the analysis. Has the policy or procedure been expressly exempted by statute from the requirement that it be adopted as a “regulation” pursuant to the APA?

If the answer to this final question is yes, then the underground regulation did not have to go through the APA process. However, if the answer to this last question is no, then the rule is an underground regulation and cannot be enforced by the agency or department. Instead, it must go through the formal rulemaking process pursuant to the APA.

Finally, readers should be aware of Government Code Section 11340.5(e) which provides that, if an interested person has already begun litigation challenging an underground regulation, a determination issued by OAL may not be considered by the court in that pending litigation. Those challenging an alleged underground regulation should determine whether they want to pursue OAL review of the agency action, or whether to go directly to court to challenge it.

 

Chris Micheli is a registered lobbyist with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law in their Capital Lawyering Program.

#RaidAlerts: New smartphone app warns immigrants when #ICE is nearby

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As President Donald Trump’s administration moves forward with rules aimed at deporting undocumented immigrants, and fears of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids grow in the immigrant community, one software developer has an idea to help people avoid detainment.

Celso Mireles, a 27-year-old developer, is working on creating a smartphone app that will notify users when an ICE raid is taking place nearby, according to Vice.

Mireles, who until recently was undocumented himself, is calling the project redadalertas (Raid Alerts) and predicts that it will be another three months before the app is available. The plan is to have the app send SMS messages to subscribers whenever a raid is reported in that person’s zip code.

Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee

#HomelandSecurity says #Islamics are not a threat

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Fake news doesn’t get much better than this.

Analysts at the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump’s travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States.

Killing people and blowing stuff isn’t that big a problem apparently.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Gillian Christensen on Friday did not dispute the report’s authenticity.

The seven countries were included in a law President Barack Obama signed in 2015 that updated visa requirements for foreigners who had traveled to those countries.

In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee Friday, Trump reiterated his claims on terrorism.

“We are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” Trump said.

He said he singled out the seven countries because they had already been deemed a security concern by the Obama administration.

Read the whole story in the Mercury News

Struggling to remain relevant #DarrellIssa attacks #Trump

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Struggling to revive a political career clearly in a tailspin, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, says a special prosecutor needs to lead an investigation into the alleged ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Issa made the comments to talk show host Bill Maher on HBO. Maher asked about allegations of Russian hacking and interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Leftists like Maher love sour grapes Republican losers like Isssa.

Issa initially said House and Senate committees would investigate, and then Maher asked about the idea of an independent counsel handling the matter instead of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Issa then went on to explain why he believes such an investigation is needed, criticizing Putin.

Read the whole story in the San Diego Union-Tribune

New #OaklandPD chief; same thug cops

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Anne Kirkpatrick will become Oakland first female police chief.

The Tennessean, who has a law degree from Seattle University, worked for 20 years in Washington as police chief of three departments and as second-in-command of the King County Sheriff’s Office before being recruited by an FBI contractor to train other law enforcement officials. Last year, Kirkpatrick moved to Chicago to lead the Police Department’s Bureau of Professional Standards as the city worked on reforms after the shooting of Laquan McDonald, a black teen killed by a white officer.

Not much changed in Chicago.

Recruited soon afterward by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Kirkpatrick joins the Oakland department at a similarly turbulent time. The transformation she envisions, she said, will come after she injects stability into the scandal-ridden Police Department that cycled through three police chiefs in nine days in June. It’s been run by a civilian, City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, ever since.

Good luck with that.

The rapid rise and fall of Oakland’s recent police chiefs came amid allegations that a group of officers had sexual relations with the teenage daughter of an Oakland dispatcher and that others helped cover up their misconduct.

Alameda County prosecutors have filed charges against four current and former Oakland officers for crimes ranging from obstruction of justice to oral copulation with a minor.

While Kirkpatrick called the allegations “egregious,” she chalked them up to individual character issues rather than a problem inherent in the Oakland agency.

Naturally.

With the selection of Kirkpatrick, Oakland is now the only large U.S. city to have a female mayor, fire chief and police chief.

Enjoy you’re Police State.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

California’s next big disaster: Paying for the clean-up

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The bill to repair California’s crumbling roads, dams and other critical infrastructure hammered by an onslaught of storms this winter could top $1 billion, including nearly $600 million alone for damaged roadways that more than doubles what the state budgeted for road repair emergencies, officials said Friday.

Adding to the problems, many communities have drained their emergency budgets and are looking to the state and federal government for help. But on top of the latest damage, the nation’s most populated state is struggling with a $6 billion annual backlog of repairs for roads, highways and bridges that leaders can’t agree on a way to fund.

Winter storms have dumped enough rain and snow on the northern part of the state to end a five-year drought. But with the wet weather, comes a host of problems for crumbling infrastructure.

Several more weeks remain in California’s wet season, which brings the potential for more costly infrastructure damage.

Storms across the state have wrecked more than 350 roads, shutting down traffic on at least 35 that await rebuilding or shoring up of stretches that washed out, sunk or got covered in mud and rocks, officials said.

Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Daily News

Police chief to illegals – you’re here, no problem

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Windsor Police Chief Carlos Basurto wants to reassure those who are here illegally that Windsor police are not going to come after them,

As the grandson of undocumented immigrants, Basurto has a unique perspective on President Trump’s hard stance on illegal immigration and the protests and anxiety they’ve engendered.

Basurto, the only Latino police chief among Sonoma County’s nine cities, also has in-laws who emigrated from Mexico in the 1960s to work in the pear orchards. Only much later did they become naturalized citizens.

Basurto’s comments were delivered in a “letter to the community” in both English and Spanish posted this week on the town’s website, social media and printed in a local newspaper.

It comes as the Windsor Town Council plans to consider a resolution next week declaring the town “a united community that values its diversity and the contributions of all residents” and supports the safeguarding of the civil rights, safety and dignity of all residents.

The draft resolution reaffirms that town services, including public safety, will be provided without regard to immigration status.

Read the whole story in the Press Democrat

California and Washington Collide on #Marijuana

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Warned of a possible federal crackdown on marijuana, California elected officials and cannabis industry leaders are preparing for a potential showdown in the courts and Congress to protect the legalization measure approved by state voters in November.

The flashpoint that set off a scramble in California was a news conference at which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the administration had no plans to continue the Obama administration’s permissive approach in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” he said, adding that the administration would continue to allow states to regulate the sale of marijuana for medical use.

The latest development could force California officials and marijuana industry leaders into an unusual alliance against the federal government, with billions of dollars in profits for businesses and taxes for state coffers at stake.

The state agency responsible for drafting regulations said Friday it was going ahead with its plans to start issuing licenses to growers and sellers in January.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra says he is ready to safeguard the rights of the 56% of voters who approved Proposition 64, which allows California adults to possess, transport and buy up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

State lawmakers also say California should do what it can to preserve Proposition 64.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

Leaderless, rudderless and clueless; the California GOP meets in Sacramento 

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With a Republican in the White House but a state party marginalized in the state Capitol, the California GOP is in a tough, strange spot. Just one in four registered voters in California is a Republican, and the state voted 2-to-1 for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The overwhelming majority of delegates interviewed said they — and Republicans in their hometowns — are energized by Trump’s first weeks in office, feeling that he is making good on his campaign pledges.

Obviously fake news.

The slow decline of the state GOP’s size and influence has been well-documented. The state’s biggest ethnic group, Latinos, are far more likely to vote Democratic, as are California’s young people. Just 15 percent of millennials in California are registered Republicans, while nearly half are registered Democrats, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California report.

Read the whole story in the Mercury News

California’s too little and too late flood control plan

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Gov. Jerry Brown wants to spend $437 million to help fix California’s flood-control emergencies and headaches, including repairing the crumbling spillways at Oroville Dam.

Brown said Friday that aging dams are part of a deep-seated problem in California and the rest of the country because too little is spent to maintain infrastructure, which is the mix of roads, highways, rail systems and water projects.

No kidding.

To boost flood-control spending, the governor said he is asking the state Legislature to allocate $387 million from voter-approved Proposition 1 water bonds to fund emergency and near-term, flood-control actions. He also is asking lawmakers to devote $50 million of state general funds for the same purpose.

Also Friday, Brown announced that the Trump administration has approved a request to issue a disaster declaration, making California eligible for federal funds to repair Oroville Dam and respond to other problems caused by heavy storms.

Brown also proposed updates on flood-inundation maps, dam inspections and strengthening of emergency-evacuation plans for areas at risk of flooding.

Brown acknowledged that the $437 million in flood control is a small part of the state’s $187 billion in unmet infrastructure needs for flood management, deferred highway maintenance, and for streets and roads.

Read the whole story in the Mercury News

Want a good job in California? Good luck with that

L.A. County’s manufacturing sector has suffered massive job losses over the last decade, but a new report points to worse news — those positions have been replaced by jobs that pay less than half as much.

That’s the sweep of a new report released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

The region has lost 89,000 manufacturing jobs since 2007. Those jobs paid an average annual wage of $52,000. During that same period the county added 92,000 new jobs in the food service industry, but the average yearly pay for those jobs is just $20,000.

Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Daily News

Immigrants in the U.S. illegally are now an “enforcement priority”

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Around the country, President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. have spread fear and anxiety and led many people to brace for arrest and to change up their daily routines in hopes of not getting caught.

The administration announced Tuesday that any immigrant in the country illegally who is charged with or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or other minor offenses, or those who simply crossed the border illegally.

Read the whole story in the Modesto Bee

Fresno County Board of Education plans to ignore U.S. immigration law

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The Fresno County Board of Education has signed a resolution vowing to support undocumented students, and is urging the 32 school districts in the county to do the same.

“Our schools will remain safe and supportive spaces for students and their families, free from intimidation, hostility or violence, including threat of deportation because of participation in the public education system,” states the resolution, signed by Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino last week.

The resolution says that while the county school system does not collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson urged districts in December to become “safe havens” in light of uncertainty surrounding immigration policies since the election of President Donald Trump.

Read the whole story in the Fresno Bee

#LAPD officer opens fire on unarmed teens

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A day after an off-duty Los Angeles police officer fired his gun during a confrontation with a group of teenagers in Anaheim, videos purportedly showing the encounter spread online, prompting questions about the officer’s actions.

No one was injured by the gunfire, but the footage — posted on YouTube and Facebook — sparked a flurry of phone calls and emails to Anaheim police, who are investigating the officer’s actions.

On Wednesday night, about 300 demonstrators took to the streets of Anaheim to protest the case. The marchers began in the west Anaheim neighborhood where the shooting occurred and eventually moved into major streets.

Demonstrators lined the block in Anaheim shouting “no justice no peace,” as police blocked the intersection The group took over several lanes of Euclid Avenue, at times blocking intersections.

Some threw rocks, cursed at police officers and kicked police cars. Others tried to protest at the house of the off-duty LAPD officer, which was nearby.

Many of the protesters were young people who had seen the video on their social media feeds and wanted to do something. Jocelyne Gutierrez, 21, and her friend Karla Zuniga, 20, decided to join the protest at around 9 p.m. Gutierrez said she saw herself in the boy in the video.

“It could have been me, my friend or someone from my family,” she said.

At around 11 p.m., police advanced toward the protesters, trying to get them to leave. About 24 people were arrested, police said. According to initial reports, they included 10 men, eight women, three male juveniles and three female juveniles. The detainees face misdemeanor counts of failing to disperse, resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer.

Two videos, taken by witnesses and posted online  show the officer grab a 13-year-old boy on a lawn. A group of young people, most wearing backpacks, stood nearby.

“Shut the … up,” the officer said. “You weren’t even there.”

A single gunshot can be heard about three seconds later.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

#DelaineEastin kicks off gubernatorial campaign

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Former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Schools Delaine Eastin acknowledges that being the only declared female candidate is the least of her challenges in her quest to become the next state’s governor.

There’s raising money, establishing name recognition, and overcoming the fact that she’s been out of public office for more than a decade. The former State Assemblywoman, 69, has been viewed as so much of a dark horse that, to date, she still hasn’t been included in any of the major polls on the race.

But at a campaign kickoff event at a supporter’s home in Davis Tuesday, Eastin told a packed crowd of enthusiastic backers that she has what no other candidate in the race does: a singular focus on education, an issue she says will shape California for generations to come.

Read the whole story in Politico

Pew Research Center: Millions of #Islamics are pouring into #Europe 

A record 1.3 million migrants applied for asylum in the 28 member states of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland in 2015 – nearly double the previous high water mark of roughly 700,000 that was set in 1992 after the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical agency.

Today, Eastern European countries like Kosovo and Albania still contribute to the overall flow of asylum seekers into the EU, Norway and Switzerland, but about half of refugees in 2015 trace their origins to just three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Since 2012, Germany has been the primary destination country for asylum seekers in Europe, receiving 442,000 asylum applications in 2015 alone. Following Germany, Hungary (174,000 applications) and Sweden (156,000) received the highest number of asylum applications in 2015. Meanwhile, France (71,000) and the UK (39,000) received roughly the same number of applications in 2015 as in years just prior to the refugee surge in 2015.

See all the data at the Pew Research Center

Bloomberg begins pro-immigration campaign

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A Michael Bloomberg-backed group is organizing a massive pro-immigration campaign this week, a direct challenge to President Trump’s hard-line stance on the controversial issue.

The effort is one of the first well-funded, well-organized nationwide efforts aimed squarely at stopping Trump from carrying out a temporary travel ban and building a border wall between the US and Mexico.

The campaign features 100 nationwide events, beginning this week, along with an ad campaign with spots airing in Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas and Miami.

Read the whole story in the New York Post

#GovernorBrown’s environmental credentials really aren’t that good

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Governor Brown’s refusal to address the full spectrum of environmental problems that affect people daily should be a reminder to Democrats of the dangers of the elite, ivory tower approach that contributed to the transfer of power of the federal government to Trump. If that doesn’t wake up Brown to see the trees, what will?

Read the whole opinion piece in the Sacramento Bee

Government censors #OrovilleDam photos then fires the workers who took them

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Photos and videos of water gushing from the Oroville Dam spillway, many shot by journalists and authorized state photographers, have lit up social media since the crisis at America’s tallest dam began in early February.

But private contractors repairing the dam have fired five employees in recent days for posting images taken on the job.

Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee

Incompetent California government and law enforcement officials let cop killer out of of jail

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To no one’s surprise, the gang member accused of killing a Whittier police officer Monday has cycled in and out of jail for repeatedly violating the terms of his release, records show.

The criminal psychopath officials put back on the street is Michael C. Mejia, 26, a career criminal with a history of drugs and violence.

Mejia is suspected of killing Whittier police Officer Keith Boyer and wounding another officer in a shootout following a crash involving a stolen vehicle.

Mejia, who was shot by officers in the deadly gunfight that claimed Boyer’s life and left Officer Patrick Hazell wounded, has been arrested and jailed for short stints several times since July. State officials said he was on probation and under supervision of the L.A. County Probation Department.

In July, he violated terms of his release and got 10 days in jail. He was arrested again in September after authorities moved to revoke his community supervision.

He was arrested in January for again violating the terms of his release and sentenced to a combined 40 days in jail. But he was out again after 10 days, records show. Then, Feb. 2 he was arrested by East L.A. sheriff’s deputies for violating his release terms and “flash incarcerated.”

Mejia was sentenced to 10 days and released Feb. 11. On Monday, before his run-in with Whittier police, he allegedly went on a deadly rampage that began at an East L.A. home, where authorities suspect Mejia in the fatal shooting of a man believed to be his his 46-year-old cousin, Ray Torres. Mejia then allegedly stole his car.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

As California’s infrastructure continuest to fail, Monterey County residents evacuate

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Time to flee again California!

An impending overflow of the Carmel River is spurring mandatory evacuation orders for residents who live in nearby Bolsa Knolls after another large storm hits the California coast.

According to Monterey County’s Office of Emergency Services, the Carmel River is expected to overflow. Low-lying areas adjacent to the river are at risk for flooding.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Examiner

Levee break forces 500 out; another embarrassment for hapless California

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A 20-foot breach in a San Joaquin River levee that forced an evacuation order was plugged by emergency crews. For the time being, however, an evacuation order for about 500 people remained in place.

The levee break came at the end of a long, sopping wet day that saw officials at Don Pedro Reservoir east of Modesto open a gated spillway for the first time since the 1997 floods.

That action released a torrent of water that eventually will put even more strain on the levees of San Joaquin County.

The fact that the recent breach took place even before all that water arrives may not portend well for the days and weeks to come.

Even before the breach, it was a nervous day for many in the San Joaquin watershed as Don Pedro, the state’s sixth-largest reservoir, lacking enough room to handle the latest storm, opened a flood spillway.

Read the whole story in the Stockton Record

Big money in L.A. school board races: It’s never about the kids

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Based on outside campaign spending, the school board is where the action is in the March 7 Los Angeles city election.

This is true even though there are 11 city contests, including races for mayor, city controller, city attorney and eight City Council seats — and just three seats up for grabs on the L.A. Board of Education.

The total outside spending in the city races so far has been 465,803. For the school board, it was $3,358,847.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

#OrovilleDam: How many more disasters like this are waiting to happen in California

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The badly damaged main concrete spillway at Oroville Dam was pounded by massive volumes of stormwater this month, but its failures occurred well short of the maximum flow that engineers designed the system to handle.

The spillway began breaking apart when its gates were opened Feb. 7, allowing 55,000 cubic feet of water per second to roar down the slope. That was only 18% of the 300,000 cubic feet of water the channel was designed to carry per second, one of the factors that raise significant questions about its design integrity, engineering experts said. Eventually, the gash that opened up had grown to 500 feet in length and dug a hole 45 feet deep in the earth.

Weakness in the aged concrete, inadequate repairs of cracks and instability in the ground under the spillway caused large pieces of concrete to break apart and tumble downhill, said Robert Bea, a retired civil engineering professor at UC Berkeley who led one of the investigations into the failures of the New Orleans levee system in Hurricane Katrina’s wake.

The failures in the concrete spillway will be investigated for a long time. But some of the nation’s top civil engineers are already pointing to some likely suspects: design flaws, misunderstood geology and poor maintenance over the years.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

So you’re #ISIS, and you’ve got a green card…welcome to America

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Bad news for America. Thanks to Leftist judges, a draft of President Donald Trump’s revised immigration ban targets the same seven countries listed in his original executive order BUT exempts travelers who already have a visa to travel to the U.S., even if they haven’t used it yet.

So you’re ISIS, and you’ve got a green card…welcome to America.

A senior administration official said the order, which Trump revised after federal courts held up his original immigration and refugee ban, will target only those same seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.

The official said that green-card holders and dual citizens of the U.S. and any of those countries are exempt. The new draft also no longer directs authorities to single out — and reject — Syrian refugees when processing new visa applications.

Thankfully, even if Syrian refugees are no longer automatically rejected under the new order, the pace of refugees entering the U.S. from all countries is likely to slow significantly.

The U.S. has already taken in more than 35,000 refugees this year. ISIS is no doubt among them.

Read the whole story in the Mercury News

For the #CaliforniaHospitalAssociation, #Obamacare is all about the money

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Healthcare in America…long time CalNews.com readers know, it’s all about the money.

Which explains why the California Hospital Association sent a letter on Feb. 8 to California’s congressional delegation on behalf of hundreds of hospitals and health systems, saying that repealing the Affordable Care Act without replacing it “would upend the financial stability of hospitals and their patients.”

The association cited proposals that would reduce federal dollars for Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California, which was significantly expanded under the health law to include low-income childless adults.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

Got hepatitis C but still love drugs? San Francisco has a deal for you!

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Apparently stopping the city’s rampant drug use wasn’t a good suggestion.

Instead, San Francisco is trying to become the first city in the nation to eliminate hepatitis C, rolling out an ambitious plan that would involve curing everyone who already has it and stopping further spread of the infectious disease, which can cause severe liver damage.

Just two or three years ago, the plan, called End Hep C SF, would have been impossible. But a new cure that is effective and relatively easy to take, combined with growing enthusiasm for programs to increase access to health care, has doctors and public health officials convinced that they can wipe out the virus over the next decade.

The key is going to be identifying everyone who’s infected while persuading insurers to pay for the notoriously expensive treatment, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars for a 12-week regimen.

No problem for California’s hapless taxpayers.

If the plan works, drug loving Americans can get jacked-up all the time and stay hep-free. It’s how we roll in Libtopia.

Source: SF working on ambitious plan to eliminate hepatitis C – San Francisco Chronicle

L.A. has 300 “problem deputies” on the streets and no one cares

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These cops can’t be trusted in court, and they can’t be fired. Yet every day these 300 thugs pick up their guns, pin on their badges, and hit the streets looking for you.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has collected the names of about 300 deputies who have a history of past misconduct — such as domestic violence, theft, bribery and brutality — that could damage their credibility if they testify in court.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell wants to send the names to prosecutors, who can decide whether to add them to an internal database that tracks problem officers in case the information needs to be disclosed to defendants in criminal trials.

But McDonnell’s move has set off a heated battle that pits the privacy rights of officers against efforts by law enforcement agencies to be more transparent.

The union that represents rank-and-file deputies strongly opposes providing the names to prosecutors and has taken the department to court. The Assn. for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs argues that the disclosure would violate state laws protecting officer personnel files and draw unfair scrutiny on deputies whose mistakes might have happened long ago.

An appeals court last week sided with the union, temporarily blocking the Sheriff’s Department from sending names to the district attorney’s office.

The legal battle is being closely watched by other law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department, which is considering whether to adopt the same practice, said Cmdr. Stuart Maislin, who heads the LAPD’s internal affairs group.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

The Role of the Capital Lawyer

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By Chris Micheli

Around the California State Capitol, we occasionally hear about the work of a “Capital Lawyer”. Who are they? And what do they do? At McGeorge School of Law, they are training individuals to be successful capital lawyers, describing them as those who attain the fundamental knowledge and skills that are essential to lawyering in California state government.

Of course, these individuals could also practice law at the local or federal levels of government, as well as in the executive, legislative or judicial branches of federal or state government. Some of the foundational skills of capital lawyers include the following:

  • Public policy research, development and analysis;
  • Appreciation for the various policymaking venues so that a determination can be made as to which one(s) provide the best chances for client success;
  • Research at the local, state and federal government levels;
  • Advocacy and negotiation in the policymaking venues; and,
  • Knowledge about multiple areas of law and public policy unique to government and the public sector.

It is particularly important for these individuals to understand the policymaking venues and processes of all three levels of government because none operate in a vacuum. For example, federal laws, programs and funding decisions are generally implemented by the state and local governments, and those federal laws have a huge impact on the state and its local communities.

Similarly, the state and local governments do not have exclusive control of the policymaking agenda. They share it with the federal government. Moreover, even within a level of government, there are different branches of government that provide different venues for capital lawyering skills to be utilized. The most obvious examples are lawmaking in the legislative branch and rulemaking in the executive branch’s regulatory agencies.

Consequently, a well-prepared capital lawyer will be able to work within these different and unique policymaking venues. As such, there are numerous opportunities for engagement. Examples of capital lawyering careers include:

  • In the California Legislature as committee consultants, staff to legislative leaders and legislators, staff to party caucuses, or other legislative support agencies such as the Legislative Counsel;
  • For the Governor in such areas as legal affairs, legislative affairs or appointments;
    In state agencies (there are more than 200 of them with rulemaking authority) as attorneys, legislative advocates, administrative law judges, enforcement officers, and other positions;
  • For businesses and nonprofit organizations that seek to influence policy on both legislative and regulatory matters;
  • For private law firms that specialize in political and government law; and,
  • For lobbying firms that are retained to influence policy on both legislative and regulatory matters.

As others have observed, capital lawyering practice revolves around public policy development. Regardless of whether one participates as an elected or appointed official, a staff attorney for a government agency, a legislative aide or committee consultant, an advocate, or an attorney in a law firm that specializes in government practice, all are involved in developing or implementing public policy. This often proves to be rewarding for many capital lawyers.

Moreover, regardless of whether the public policy is in the form of legislation, regulation, executive order, court order, or other policy edict, all come about as a result of processes for public policy development. The capital lawyer can and will play a crucial role in the development of these policies.

One unique capital lawyering career is that of a legislative lawyer. What does a legislative lawyer do? While the role and title may differ a bit from state to state, legislative lawyers often provide nonpartisan legislative drafting services for the members of a state’s legislature, such as drafting bills and resolutions, as well as related legal guidance. At the federal level, legislative lawyers provide these same services for the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Practicing legislative law can be challenging at times, but also rewarding. Legislative lawyers are often at the forefront of the development of the law, as they provide legal guidance to help their clients determine whether legislation may be needed to address an identified problem, or help them predict how a court might decide a case of first impression involving a new or existing law.

In addition, legislative lawyering requires one to navigate a complicated web of constitutional law, state and federal laws, and administrative regulations. Common issues that arise involve legal doctrines such as separation of powers, privacy and federal preemption of state or local laws. A state’s constitution can also include drafting hurdles, such as requiring higher voting thresholds for certain types of legislation.

The role of the capital lawyer can be varied and interesting, whether working in the executive or legislative branch, or for local, state or federal government. For those interested in combining law and public policy, working in and around government is a wonderful opportunity to have an impact on laws and policies.

Chris Micheli is an attorney and registered lobbyist with the Sacramento governmental relations firm of Aprea & Micheli, Inc. He serves as an Adjunct Professor at McGeorge School of Law in its Capital Lawyering Program.

#PayGap: #California continues to screw women to the tune of about $7,000 a year

California women continue to lose ground in the pay-equality race.

Fresh 2015 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows women’s median weekly earnings in the state running 15 percent below a similar benchmark for the pay of male workers.

That gap – roughly equal to a $7,000 annual shortfall – is the widest since 2002.

The report cites no reasons for the pay disparity, a subject of wide debate, noting the comparisons “do not control for factors that can be significant in explaining earnings differences, such as job skills and responsibilities, work experience, and specialization.”

Nonetheless, the report does highlight how the pay of California’s female workers fares against male counterparts in the state and women across the nation.

Read the whole story in the Orange County Register

Evacuees paid the price for #OrovilleDam management incompetence

 

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The flows over the concrete lip of the unpaved spillway were tiny compared with what it was designed to handle. Oroville’s first-ever emergency spill was going smoothly.

Some 27 hours later, state officials told Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea that erosion was chewing away at the base of the spillway’s concrete lip. It was on the verge of collapse, threatening to send a towering wall of flood water surging through downstream communities, endangering tens of thousands of people. Honea ordered a mass evacuation.

captureThe erosion slowed and dam managers succeeded in getting enough water out of the reservoir to stop the emergency spill late Feb. 12. California narrowly averted what could have been one of the worst dam disasters in state history.

Interviews and records suggest that the near-catastrophe grew out of fundamental problems with the original design of the emergency spillway that were never corrected despite questions about its adequacy.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

If they had their way, only California would have the right to vote

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San Diego Rep. Scott Peters has held town halls for years. The reality? It was common for the Democrat’s staff to outnumber the constituents who showed up.

Since Donald Trump won the White House and took office a month ago, Peters says thousands of people have asked to meet with him, many of them asking, “What can I do?”

The 700 seats available at a “how to get involved” workshop he’s hosting this week with fellow San Diego Democrat Rep. Susan Davis were claimed in two days and they say people are pushing them to hold another.

“They just want direction. People are hungry for places to go and ways to be helpful,” Davis said. “There’s this element where people think someday their grandchild will say to them, ‘where were you when all this was happening in the country?’”

For the Democrats in California’s congressional delegation, this weeklong Presidents Day recess reflects both a new opportunity and a dilemma: Can the surge of anger and activism in Democratic California be harnessed to win more elections?

In a state where 6 in 10 voters picked Hillary Clinton, many of them are looking for a way to resist the new Republican administration and Democratic leaders are looking for a way to turn the blue state even deeper blue. Nationally, they’re targeting 61 Republican districts, including seven California districts where voters elected a Republican to the House but picked Hillary Clinton for president.

If they had their way, only California would have the right to vote.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

When #Trump rips the #EliteMedia, his words resonate with voters

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He’s not the first president to have issues with the press — Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln had complaints too — but President Trump has taken his battle with the media to new heights and made his complaints unusually public and caustic.

How that will play out is anybody’s guess, though there’s an adage about the power of journalism: Never pick fights with someone who buys ink by the barrel. That, however, was before Twitter and video made ink unnecessary for communicating with the public.

The president continued his attacks on the media at a Florida rally Saturday, saying he wanted to speak with supporters “without the filter” of the press.

“They don’t get it,” Trump said through whistles and applause from attendees inside a crammed airport hangar.

A day earlier, he tweeted that the media was not his enemy, but the “enemy of the American People!”

Though presidents have long complained about the media, none have gone as far as Trump in their public derision. Often he repeats the same words to describe the media — “dishonest,” “disgusting,” “fake.” To many, his words are nonsense, but to supporters, like those in Florida, they resonate.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

#Trump is very transactional when it comes to #marijuana

While there has been speculation about how the month-old administration, particularly cannabis-shaming Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will deal with the marijuana business, insiders and industry advocates are “cautiously optimistic” that Trump doesn’t have it in for weed.

“Trump is not an ideologue, that’s the good news — he’s very transactional,” Washington, D.C., public policy consultant Nathan Daschle told participants Friday at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco. “The only people who are really left that are opposed to this come from an ideological point of view.”

Added Joe Hunter, who has worked for various GOP campaigns, Sessions “and Donald Trump are not sitting in the Oval Office wringing their hands over cannabis.”

And because of Trump and Sessions’ strong belief in states’ rights, making it more unlikely they would interfere with states whose voters have approved legalization laws, National Cannabis Industry Association Deputy Director Taylor West said, “We’re cautiously optimistic.”

Even so, uncertainty hangs over the industry, thanks to the legal no-man’s land between federal and state law that is chilling for cannabis businesses, confusing for consumers and a potential risk to the $1 billion in weed-related tax revenue expected for California in 2018.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

Now all of the sudden, the #Left wants to stop #FakeNews

The Left loved “fake news” when its wrath was pointed in the right direction. Now that President Trump has taken office, it’s not so funny to them anymore.

With the courts largely out of the question, Andrew Bridges, an attorney at Fenwick & West, said that perhaps the only sure-fire way to combat lies on the Internet is simply to encourage news consumers to be more discerning about what they read and view online — and police their own social networks.

That might be good advice for the elite media as well.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

For California, after #Obamacare comes #singlepayer health care

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A push for a single-payer health care system in California is making a comeback.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens (Los Angeles County) plans to introduce legislation Friday to create a single system that would provide health insurance to every California resident.

“This is our opportunity to put ourselves on the record and be proactive against a Trump administration that is hellbent on eliminating the Affordable Care Act,” Lara said.

Previous efforts to create a single-payer system have failed. At least eight bills were introduced between 1992 and 2009 that attempted to create one. They failed to get through the Legislature or were vetoed by Republican governors.

Efforts to create a single-payer system in California ended after the passage of the Affordable Care Act under President Obama.

RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of registered nurses, said the union would mount a “major mobilization” to try to enact a single-payer system in California.

She said she believed it had a better chance than in years past because of President Trump’s efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, a more active political base, and a new crop of state legislators who are younger and more open-minded.

“It is one of the most salient issues of our time,” she said.

Read the whole story in the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco’s day of reckoning is coming

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He has slammed San Francisco for designating itself a sanctuary city and refusing in many cases to cooperate with federal immigration officials. In a Fox News interview this month, he threatened to cut off federal money to California if it declares itself a sanctuary state and a haven for people living in the U.S. illegally.

“If we have to, we’ll defund,” Trump said. “We give tremendous amounts of money to California.”

Then there was the president’s angry tweet after violent protests at UC Berkeley earlier this month forced police to cancel a speech by rightwing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos:

“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”

A Jan. 25 executive order stated that sanctuary cities like San Francisco “have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic,” and said that the attorney general could cut federal grants to sanctuary cities.

But government money is still flowing into the city, the state and the university system, and there’s been no move to cut it off.

There’s no guarantee that will last, said Tony Quinn, a former GOP redistricting expert and political analyst.

“At some point, (the Trump administration) is going to get their sea legs and do what they’ve promised to do,” he said. “And a lot of California politicians aren’t going to like it.”

San Francisco already is getting ready for that day, talking about what federal money is vulnerable and how to shelter both people and programs that could be in jeopardy.

Read the whole article in the San Francisco Chronicle

Comprehensive immigration reform would have protected immigrants now vulnerable to Trump’s politics

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When it comes to immigration, the popular resistance sideshow is futile because California has already lost.

No matter how sympathetic the human stories are, how solid someone’s work ethic, the fact remains that the undocumented experience begins with a violation of law. And that federal leaders have a right and an obligation to protect U.S. sovereignty and U.S. borders. While Mexican politicians rail against Trump, keep in mind that they, too, are cracking down on immigrants. Mexican officials have built their own walls and have their own problems with undocumented immigrants streaming across their border from Central America.

Is immigrant labor critical to California’s economic framework? Yes. Would comprehensive immigration reform have protected many of the undocumented people now vulnerable to Trump’s politics? Yes.

No matter. For California leaders who have pledged to protect undocumented immigrants, Trump is an adversary they are not prepared to fight. They can’t win this battle – or win over his supporters – by appealing to emotion. They can’t win until they formulate a legitimate economic argument that pushes back against the anti-immigrant sentiment Trump rode to the White House.

Read the whole article in the Sacramento Bee

Look who deployed the #NationalGuard for #immigration enforcement

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The White House has denied an Associated Press report Friday that President Donald Trump was considering mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops for immigration enforcement, but he wouldn’t be the first president to use the force this way.

captureIn 2010, former President Barack Obama said he would deploy 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. They were sent to Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico.

In 2006, former President George W. Bush called up 6,000 National Guard troops to California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. They were commissioned to help install border barriers, provide training and assist with border surveillance.

According to Customs and Border Protection, the operation resulted in the apprehension of 5,003 people, 110 vehicles, $11,052, 28,577 pounds of marijuana and 1,447 pounds of cocaine.

Obama removed more people from the U.S. than any other president, at some 2.5 million. Bush deported about 2 million people. Annual deportations jumped into the hundreds of thousands in 1997, while the total for the prior 105 years was only 2.1 million people.

Enjoy your Police State.

Read the whole story in McClatchy DC

Legislators continue the rush to build an even bigger #PoliceState

This year, legislation has been introduced in at least 29 states that would increase penalties for heroin and fentanyl-related offenses, or allow for individuals to be held criminally liable or charged with murder/manslaughter when a person they supplied with heroin overdoses and dies.

The most disheartening aspect of this new sweep of proposed legislation is some of the state legislators who filed these bills have, in previous years, been sponsors of major sentencing reform legislation that has been enacted in their states, while others have voted for it.

Many of the criminal justice reforms that have been passed at the state level over the past few years have shortened sentences for those convicted of nonviolent offenses, or have diverted low-level offenders from prison and into rehabilitative treatment or other alternatives to incarceration.

The new bills show how easy it is for legislators who appeared to have accepted the notion that relaxed sentences result in smarter crime policy to fall into old punitive, tough-on-crime habits.

Read the whole story at Reason.com

#BigPharma to patients: Pay up or die

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The latest poster child for cruel and inhuman drug pricing is Kaleo Pharma, maker of an emergency injector for a med called naloxone, which is used as an antidote to save the lives of people who overdose on painkillers.

So PhRMA gets you coming and going. They sell you the painkillers you become addicted to, then they sell you the antidote when you overdose.

PhRMA cashes-in both ways.

Now as drug loving America’s opioid crisis reaches epidemic levels, Kaleo has jacked up the list price for its Evzio auto-injector by 600%, soaring from $690 several years ago to $4,500.

No surprise here. It’s what they do.

Nearly three dozen senators wrote to Kaleo’s chief executive, Spencer Williamson, last week to say they were “deeply concerned” about the price hike and to note that it “threatens to price out families and communities that depend on naloxone to save lives.”

Not that these senators did anything but show “deep concern”, that would threaten the flow of political cash from PhRMA companies like Kaleo. Now however, everyone in Washington feels good because they said something.

So pay up or die.

Read the rest of this opinion piece in the LA Times

Republicans in Congress have started hammering the nails into #HighSpeedRail’s coffin

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You could see this coming.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has deferred a decision on a $647-million grant that would help Caltrain electrify a section of track between San Jose and San Francisco, a project crucial to California’s struggling high-speed rail project.

The decision not to approve the grant by a key deadline may be an early sign of the Trump administration’s view of the bullet train project. The line is already under construction and will need significant federal funding moving forward.

The delay follows a letter from every Republican member of the California House delegation to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, asking that the grant be put off until an audit of the high-speed rail project is completed.

Read the whole story in the LA Times

#Exide cleanup contractor scam exposed

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California toxic waste regulators are investigating complaints about a contractor hired to test homes for lead contamination near a closed battery recycler in Vernon, including accusations that its employees made racially derogatory remarks.

In a letter Thursday to Arcadis U.S. Inc., the Department of Toxic Substances Control said it was “recently made aware of allegations regarding Arcadis’ compliance with established soil sampling protocols” and concerns about its data collection in southeast Los Angeles County neighborhoods.

Chief Deputy Director Francesca Negri wrote that the department had also heard accusations that Arcadis staff made “insensitive or derogatory comments … some of which have been construed as racially charged” while sampling in the largely Latino neighborhoods around the plant.

Arcadis, which was awarded a $6.6-million state contract last year, is one of two contractors sampling homes for lead near the Exide Technologies recycling plant.

If substantiated, such allegations could create another headache for officials in charge of California’s largest cleanup of lead contamination.

State regulators have faced repeated criticism from community groups and lawmakers over the pace of cleanup, which spans an area of 10,000 homes across half a dozen communities polluted over decades by the now-closed recycling plant.

Read the whole story in the LA Times