An unusual hiring spree at the end of 2012 chipped away at pension reform: The employees who sneaked in under the wire will retire with a more generous pension formula irresponsibly approved in 1999 during the tech boom. But the local and state agencies who allowed it will be on the hook for higher pension payments.
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No disaster is an island in California: With the Oroville Dam crisis averted for the moment, state and federal lawmakers must address some suddenly pressing questions, and not just about fixing those spillways.
Dan Walters: California’s highly controversial cap-and-trade system of allocating carbon emission allowances faces legal and political hurdles. Meanwhile, however, another quarterly auction of allowances is scheduled this month, and its results will test its standing among emitters and investors.
Marcos Breton: Rep. Tom McClintock saw danger in a recent Roseville town hall meeting. Police saw it differently.
Leonard D. Schaeffer and Dana Goldman: Covered California, the state-run marketplace, took several steps to ensure long-term health plan involvement. The result has been a competitive exchange that covered 1.5 million people in 2016 across 12 insurers. Here are California’s approaches that a federal replacement plan should adopt.
Chad Mayes and Vince Fong: The Assembly Republicans’ have introduced a transportation plan that includes no new taxes. Instead, it ensures money already paid by motorists goes toward transportation.
Take a number: 75,000
Following action by the House earlier this month, the Republican-led Senate is moving to block an Obama-era regulation that would prevent an estimated 75,000 people with mental disorders from being able to purchase guns, the Associated Press reports. Obama sought to require that the Social Security Administration cooperate with the national background check system by sharing the identities of individuals who are so mentally disabled that they cannot work. The National Rifle Association opposes that regulation as an infringement of Second Amendment rights. We don’t think people with mental illness should be stigmatized. But if they are disabled, there ought to be some way to keep guns out of their hands. Gun, after all, are used to commit half of the roughly 44,000 suicides a year in the U.S.
The Modesto Bee: The only thing worse than not enough water is too much. But if not for dams, we’d all be knee-deep in water this year and we wouldn’t have enough water in dry years to feed our great state.
Orange County Register: The city of San Bernardino’s four-year-long bankruptcy is nearing its end. On Friday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury agreed to issue a written confirmation order formally paving the way to the city’s exit from bankruptcy.
Lexington Herald-Leader: Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin proclaimed the need to increase tax revenue to pay down the looming pension crisis. That clearly wasn’t enough for Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Jeff Hoover, both Republicans like Bevin, who apparently had not been clued in on Bevin’s plans.
Denver Post: We urge Colorado lawmakers to repeal the death penalty by approving Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman’s Senate Bill 95, which would replace capital punishment with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Takes on Michael Flynn
L.A. Times: There is only one possible reaction to the resignation of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as President Trump’s national security adviser: good riddance – and not only because Flynn was caught in what looks like a lie.
Chicago Tribune: We’re wondering which – over time – turns out to be the bigger bombshell development regarding Russia: Is it the forced resignation of President Donald Trump’s national security adviser? Or Vladimir Putin’s reported secret deployment of a menacing new cruise missile?
Raleigh News & Observer: Michael Flynn’s successor will need to be someone with impeccable credentials and without strong ideological leanings. A national security adviser wields tremendous authority at the president’s right hand, and his or her view of the world must be clear-eyed and calm.
Carl P. Leubsdorf, Dallas Morning News: The White House is a mess. Accused of misleading officials about possibly illegal pre-inaugural dealings with the Russians, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned just hours after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said President Donald Trump had “full confidence” in him.
David French, National Review: If Donald Trump doesn’t understand now, he will eventually. Integrity and truth ultimately do matter, and if he wants to be a successful president, he’s going to have to appoint people to high office who won’t violate the public’s trust.
Ruben Navarrette: On immigration enforcement, new boss Trump is the same as the old boss Obama. Conservatives and liberals share a common tic when it comes to immigration enforcement: They each want to be free to deport as many illegal immigrants as their cold hearts desire.
Leonard Pitts Jr.: There is one thing as president that Donald Trump is not entitled to. He is not entitled to do whatever pops into his furry orange head without being called on it or, should it run afoul of the Constitution, without being blocked.
David Brooks: Now and after Trump, the great project is rebinding: rebinding the social fabric, rebinding the government to its people, and most of all, rebinding the heaping piles of wreckage that Trump will leave in his wake in Washington.
Dana Milbank: After Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s unending probes of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, he hasn’t shown any appetite to examine, say, the Trump administration’s ties to Russia or its many conflicts of interest. But the chairman of the House Oversight Committee has shown determination to probe, without fear or favor, the threat to America posed by Sid the Science Kid.
Kathleen Parker: Shouldn’t the “nuclear” football be sitting quietly in a discreet corner, instead of at a dinner party? To calm my nerves, I called a former nuclear-football minder about some of my concerns. Here’s what he told me.
“So state and federal agencies, as well as several state water agencies, have known for decades about the problems with the Oroville Dam spillways, yet they turned a blind eye.” – Janet W. Quesenberry, Elk Grove
Tweet of the day
“Follow the Ruble” – Rob Stutzman @RobStutzman