BEHIND-THE-SCENES FIGHT OVER NET NEUTRALITY
Net neutrality may soon become the law of the land in California, if Gov. Jerry Brown signs Senate Bill 822. But the journey to get the bill in its current form was anything but easy.
MapLight, an organization that aims to reveal the influence of money in politics, is releasing findings today showing how much money telecommunications companies spent on an unsuccessful effort to weaken a net neutrality measure. The bill on Brown’s desk would ban internet service providers from blocking access to legal online content or forcing websites to pay more money for faster speeds.
The group’s analysis shows internet service providers gave $220,000 since the start of 2017 to 11 members of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee, some of whom voted in favor of amendments introduced in June to water down the language of the net neutrality bill. AT&T was the leading contributor, giving the 11 California lawmakers more than $100,000. The amendments were ultimately rescinded before the measure cleared the Legislature in August.
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Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a Los Angeles Democrat who chairs the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance, received the largest share of the money. He got nearly $40,000 from AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Charter Communications and the California Cable & Telecom Association. Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, followed closely behind with about $35,000.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is being accused of sexual assault by a California professor. On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee announced it will hold a public hearing next Monday to hear from Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.
A committee vote will now be delayed, as Senate Republicans faced pressure to postpone the vote, while California Sen. Dianne Feinstein faces criticism that she isn’t forcefully opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s campaign is already drumming up support for Ford ahead of the hearing, sending out a campaign email calling on people to sign onto a petition in support of Ford’s “courageous decision to come forward with her story of sexual assault.”
A group of Sacramento State students and faculty members are holding a rally at noon today outside the university’s library to protest what they see major as a shortage of mental health counselors.
The International Association of Counseling Services recommends universities have at least one full-time professional staff member for every 1,000–1,500 students. The group behind the “Tissues for Issues” campaign says the university has just one counselor per 2,500 students.
Dixie Reid, a Sacramento State spokeswoman, said the actual proportion of students to counselors is a bit smaller, with 15 full-time therapists serving more than 30,000 students — a ratio of about 1 in 2,000.
Advocates are urging Gov. Jerry Brown to sign Senate Bill 968, which would require all California State University and University of California campuses to have one full-time counselor for every 1,500 students. The bill unanimously cleared the Legislature last month.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) — “BREAKING: @JudiciaryDems are urging Chairman Grassley to postpone Thursday’s vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, allow the FBI to investigate Dr. Ford’s allegations and follow up on Kavanaugh’s false and misleading committee testimony.”
INFLUENCER OF THE DAY
“To relieve the housing crisis, our policymakers should focus on addressing the regulatory and statutory predicates that restrict the supply of housing overall in our state. For far too long, progressive politicians have backed interventions in the housing marketplace—such as restrictive zoning rules or rent control initiatives like Proposition 10, which Californians will vote on this November—that do nothing but limit the supply of affordable housing and drive up prices for the poor and middle-income residents of our state. Rent control measures like Proposition 10 are particularly harmful. A famed Swedish economist who chaired the Nobel price committee for many years called rent control “the best way to destroy a city, other than bombing.” He’s absolutely right. Voters should reject Proposition 10 this Fall.”
— Lanhee Chen, David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
The Bee’s Editorial Board announces its opposition to Proposition 5, which would give a tax break for homeowners over 55 who buy a new home. The California Association of Realtors is already drafting plans in case voters oppose the ballot measure this November.
The Ed Board does, however, support Propositions 1 and 2, which it says will help address California’s housing shortage.
Jennifer Arce, a salon owner in San Diego who wrote on behalf of Women’s Voices for the Earth, an advocacy group based in Montana, says a bill Brown recently signed will put a stop to harmful ingredients being used in salon products.