In the Legislature’s final days, here are some special interest bills that ought to die. In a Capitol controlled by Democrats, pressure is intense to side with their labor backers. Legislators should leave public health issues to experts, not organized labor.
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Foon Rhee: Will fed-up Sacramento taxpayers say enough is enough? The city is increasing water and sewer rates. It has raised garbage collection rates. Regional wastewater rates are rising. Voters agreed last June to extend a parcel tax for city libraries. Parking meter rates went up, partly to pay for the Golden 1 Center. Now there’s talk of a new local fee for affordable housing.
Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro would love to see Pope Francis reiterate his calls for a “national dialogue” to solve Venezuela’s crisis. It would help Venezuela’s strongman drive international attention away from his latest steps to turn his country into a full-blown dictatorship.
Lora Schroeder: There has never been a single overdose death in a safe consumption site. If they had been available in 2013, it is likely that my daughter and many like her would still be alive. Assembly Bill 186 would give local governments the discretion to test safe consumption services.
Kathy Saile and George Manalo-LeClair: Sen. Mike McGuire’s Senate Bill 138 would leverage California’s expanded Medi-Cal enrollment to connect 650,000 more low-income students to free school meals.
William J. Newell: It’s not surprising that the Legislature is looking for ways to reduce costs. However, Senate Bill 17 will undermine innovation.
Daniel M. Curtin: A massive business lobbying effort is trying to kill Assembly Bill 1701. But workers should be paid for the work they do. That’s not too much to ask.
Take a number: 439,000
President Donald Trump reportedly will announce as soon as Tuesday that he is ending DACA, the Obama administration policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to avoid deportation and to get work permits. He may give Congress six months to come up with a replacement. Whatever happens, it will not be good for 800,000 young people now enrolled in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Many more could be eligible. According to the most recent figures from the Migration Policy Institute, of those eligible in California, the vast majority, 439,000, come from Mexico, 28,000 from Guatemala and 17,000 from Korea. Reps. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, and David Valadao, R-Hanford, urged Trump to leave DACA alone. Good for them, as we wrote last week. The question remains: If the president crosses them, what are they prepared to do beyond talk. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee
Yomiuri Shimbun: The reckless actions taken by North Korea in defiance of an array of U.N. Security Council resolutions on sanctions and warnings by other countries concerned are absolutely unacceptable. North Korea’s threats have become stronger, thereby rattling the security order of the world. The international community must take the situation seriously and put stronger pressure on Pyongyang.
Raleigh News & Observer: If Hurricane Harvey awakens state leaders in all vulnerable states to the need to do more to stem carbon emissions and their consequences, then some positive things can come.
Lexington Herald Leader: As Hurricane Harvey floodwaters finally recede, one thing that will be revealed is the idiocy of repealing standards for storm-proofing infrastructure and new development. President Donald Trump on Aug. 15 unveiled an order wiping out flood-protection standards enacted by the Obama administration in 2015.
East Bay Times: Contra Costa’s latest felon public official is a health care district director who assaulted his daughter’s suitor with a semi-automatic weapon. Emmanuel Ogunleye, 57, of Pittsburg faces up to nearly 20 years in prison and loss of his seat on the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District board. He should have resigned years ago. But the bigger question their poor judgment highlights, once again, is whether the district, covering primarily Bay Point and Pittsburg, should be disbanded. The answer is clearly yes.
Los Angeles Times: California’s housing crisis is eroding the quality of life in the Golden State. Rising rents and house prices are forcing Californians to spend more of their paychecks to keep a roof over their heads. Lawmakers finally have taken this to heart. There were more than 130 housing-related bills introduced this year. Now in the final weeks of the session, there are a handful of critical bills that must pass.
San Jose Mercury News: President Trump announced he plans to slash spending on advertising and promotion for enrollment under the Affordable Care Act by nearly $100 million, virtually assuring that fewer people will sign up for health care plans in 2018. He is also cutting grants totaling $36 million to nonprofit organizations that enroll people in health plans. The end result will be higher premiums and medical costs for all Americans.
Charles M. Blow: Before President Trump’s bigotry, race-baiting, misogyny, corruption, bullying and vindictiveness, there is the lying. One could even argue that the lying is a core component of all the rest.
Paul Krugman: Houston’s sprawl gave the city terrible traffic and an outsized pollution footprint even before the hurricane. When the rains came, the vast paved-over area meant that rising waters had nowhere to go.
“Finally, lawmakers are tackling the high price of prescription drugs. No wonder the industry is trying block it. Community pharmacies are often faced with ‘take it or leave it’ contracts with pharmacy benefit managers to secure inclusion in their network. The contracts often restrict pharmacists from telling patients when cheaper drugs or copayments are available.” – Clint Hopkins, Sacramento
Tweets of the day
“@RobStutzman I wonder if playing chicken with #DACA is a chip #Trump plays to try to get his Wall?” Marcos Breton @MarcosBreton.
“If so, incredibly cynical.” Rob Stutzman @RobStutzman.
“Replying to @RobStutzman @MarcosBreton The word you guys are looking for isn’t ‘cynical.’ It’s ‘immoral.’” Kevin Eckery @keckery