Politics

SANTEE COUNCIL TO WEIGH ELIMINATING CAMPAIGN FINANCE RESTRICTIONS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2015 (Santee) – Currently, only individuals may donate to campaigns for Santee City Council and Mayoral candidates.  But on July 8th, the Council will consider eliminating that restriction and allow donations from entities such as corporations, political action committees or organizations to donate to campaigns for city officials.

ANDERSON BILL TO PROTECT PRIVACY IN DIVORCE CASES IS SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

 

SB 340 Protects Private Financial Data in Family Law Cases Where the Responding Spouse Cannot Be Located

July 4, 2015 (San Diego)--Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) has announced that his bill, SB 340 was signed by Governor Brown. The measure allows courts to protect people from having to send highly confidential and personal financial information out when it is clear that the intended recipient is no longer at the last known address.

CONSUMER GROUPS WANT CONGRESS TO STOP NET NEUTRALITY SNEAK ATTACK

 

By Dan Herman, Public News Service

PHOTO: More than 60 organizations have sent a letter calling on Congress to remove a rider in its budget bill they claim would block the FCC from implementing net neutrality rules. Photo credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr Commons.

June 29, 2015 (Washington D.C.) --- More than 60 civil-rights and public-interest groups have sent a letter urging Congress to protect the Federal Communications Commission's decision to keep the Internet open.

HIGH COURT: REDISTRICING BY VOTER-APPROVED COMMISSION IS LEGAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: U.S. Congressional Districts, by Matte, Creative Commons license

June 29, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right of voters to approve an independent redistricting commission. In a case that has implications in California, Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with four liberal justices to uphold Arizona’s redistricting plan approved by the state’s voters.

BILL TO MANDATE CHILDHOOD VACCINES FOR KIDS PASSES ASSEMBLY

By Miriam Raftery

 

Update July 1, 2015: The Governor has signed this bill, stating "the science is clear" on the benefits of vaccinations.

June 28, 2015 (Sacramento) – A bill that would eliminate the personal belief exemption for childhood vaccines in California has passed the Assembly and now goes to the Senate for concurrence in amendments.  The Assembly voted 46-30 to pass the measure, Senate Bill 277, the Sacramento Bee reports.

If the amendments are approved by the Senate and the bill is signed by Governor Jerry Brown, then children who have not been vaccinated for diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough would not be allowed to attend public schools in California, unless a child has a medical condition such as an allergy or immune system disorder that could raise the risk of complications.

San Diego State Senators Marty Block and Lorena Gonzalez, both Democrats, are cosponsors of the bill.  Republican Senator Joel Anderson voted against it in an earlier Senate vote and Democrat Ben Hueso did not cast a vote. Among local Assemblymembers, Democrats Toni Atkins, Mary Salas and Shirley Weber voted in favor, while Republicans Brian Jones and Rocky Chavez voted no.

GAY MARRIAGE LEGAL NATIONWIDE: SUPREME COURT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: The Moderate Voice

June 26, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – In a historic ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court majority has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, protected under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

President Barack Obama likened the decision to “justice that arrives like a thunderbolt,” declaring, “When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”

The high court, ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, was asked to decide two issues: can individual states ban  same-sex marriage and must all states honor same-sex marriages for weddings performed in other states. 

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointed by Ronald Reagan, wrote the majority opinion in the 5-4 opinion, joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

FAST-TRACK OF TPP TRADE PACT PASSES SENATE BY ONE VOTE

 

East County News Service

Photo: Protest at Senator Feinstein's office, from the Citizens Trade Campaign Facebook page

June 25, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The controversial fast-tracking of the Trans Pacific Partnership international trade pact passed the Senate by a slim one-vote margin. California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein voted for the fast-tracking, while Senator Barbara Boxer voted no.

Fast-tracking gives President Obama broad latitude to negotiate the trade pact, after which Congress will have only an up or down vote, with no opportunity to make changes.  Opponents have voiced concerns over secrecy of the proceedings. The proposed pact has not been made public, nor have members of Congress been allowed to have copies. 

Nicole “Kali” Gochmanosky,  southern California organizer for the Citizens Trade Campaign, a group opposed to fast-tracking the TPP, had this to say regarding the extensive media coverage of the vote and protests targeting Feinstein.

JUDGE BLOCKS KILL-GAYS BALLOT MEASURE

 

East County News Service

June 23, 2015 (Sacramento)—A proposed initiative that called for killing gay people won’t be appearing on California ballots.  Superior Court Judge  Raymond Cadei in Sacramento County has ruled that the measure would be “inappropriate, waste public resources, generate unnecessary divisions among the public, and tend to mislead the electorate.”

GROUNDBREAKING EFFORTS TO HELP SAN DIEGO SENIORS GAINS NATIONAL RECOGNITION

 

Photo: Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox

June 18, 2015 (San Diego)--On the eve of a special conference in San Diego on aging, groundbreaking initiatives aimed at helping the county’s oldest and most vulnerable residents gained national recognition.

LEGISLATURE APPROVES BUDGET - FOR MORE MONEY THAN GOVERNOR REQUESTED

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 15,2015 (Sacramento)—California’s Legislature has approved a $117.5 billion budget -- $2 billion more than Governor Jerry Brown had requested, including $749 in new spending with the rest to pay down debts or be deposited in the state’s  rainy day fund.  New expenditures include higher payments for doctors serving poor patients, extra money for state universities and community colleges, and expanded child care.

FAST-TRACKING TRADE DEAL FAILS IN HOUSE, BUT ONLY ONE SAN DIEGO REPRESENTATIVE VOTED “NO”

 

Re-vote expected early this week

 

Photo:  Potential  Trans-Pacific Partnership members, by en:User:Japinderum, en:User:Phospheros en:User:Orser67

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 14, 2015 (San Diego) – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has stalled in the House of Representatives, after one of two measures needed for passage failed to win enough votes. Opposition came from both left and right, with even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) joining with conservative Duncan Hunter in standing up against President Obama to help defeat the proposal. 

There were two bills—and both needed to pass in order for the TPP to move forward. But Speaker John Boehner has called for another vote early this week on the failed portion of the proposal.

SMOKING HOT DEBATE: EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO SUPPORT RAISING AGE FOR TOBACCO USE

 

"I will support this in honor of my sister, and my mother and my father-in-law," -- Councilman Bob McClellan (photo, left), who lost all three family members to smoking-related illnesess.

"The American Revolution was about individual liberty...doesn't freedom to make a decision include freedom to make a poor one?" --Eric Anderson (photo, right), Rock Church and Caucus Chair for the San Diego Republican Party Executive Committee

By Juwan Armstrong and Miriam Raftery

June 12, 2015 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council voted 3-1 on Wednesday to send a letter asking Assemblyman Brian Jones and Governor Jerry Brown to support Senate Bill 151, which would raise the minimum legal age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products from 18 to 21.

Jones has taken over $25,000 in campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.  East County’s State Senator, Joel Anderson, took nearly $40,000 and voted against the bill when it passed the Senate.

SUPERVISORS POSTPONE ACTION ON WATERFRONT PARK FREE SPEECH RULES UNTIL JULY

 

By Janis Russell and Miriam Raftery

“It is the basic tenet of all Americans to speak truth to power without restriction or regulation.” – David Patterson, U.S. veteran and Ramona resident (photo, left, by Janis Russell)

View video of complete hearing (item 7): http://sdcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=1682

 

June 11, 2015 (San Diego)- San Diego’s Board of Supervisors postponed action until July 21st on a controversial proposal to restrict protesters in the Waterfront Park outside the County Administration Building. The  County claims its goal is to protect free speech rights while also protecting rights of the growing number of others using the new waterfront park for activities such as weddings, picnics, concerts, yoga and children’s play.

Supervisors voted to delay action and ask staff to re-examine the proposal after the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter calling the action “probably unconstitutional” as written, also noting that the City of San Diego has no permit requirements for free speech activities. Members of the public and Supervisor Dianne Jacob also voiced concerns about the proposed ordinance.

BILL WOULD UPDATE PROP 13: LARGE COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNERS WOULD PAY MARKET VALUE

By Miriam Raftery

June 10, 2015 (Sacramento)—Since 1978, Proposition 13 has frozen property taxes  for California owners until a property sells.  But now a proposed constitutional amendment would change Prop 13 to require annual assessments of large commercial and industrial properties.

The measure, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5,  exempts homeowners,  owners of rental residential properties and agricultural properties, which would not be impacted.   The measure also includes a tax break for small businesses, instead targeting larger commercial and industrial property owners for the tax hike.

The bill would exempt from taxation up to a half million dollars of personal property used exclusively for business purposes.  It also gives businesses an exemption of up to a half million for equipment and fixtures—an action that would eliminate the tax on equipment and fixtures entirely for 90% of businesses, whether they own or rent their place of business.

CITIZENS OPPOSE COUNTY’S EFFORTS TO CURB FREE SPEECH

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2015 (San Diego) – Last week, we reported that Supervisors on Tuesday will consider a proposal to restrict protesters to “free speech zones” outside the County administration, ban amplified sound, require permits for events bigger than 200 people and impose fines for those who violate these rules. Supervisors will also consider rule changes to impact all county parks.

But the proposal is drawing strong reactions – and so far, all the comments we’ve received have been negative toward the county’s plans.  Here are some of the comments we’ve received from people who don’t want their free speech rights limited:

ATKINS BILL TO RESTRICT IVORY SALES PASSES ASSEMBLY

 

East County News Service

June 9, 2015 (Sacramento) – The California Assembly has passed Assembly Bil 96, a measure to protect elephants and rhinos by strengthening rules on the ivory and rhino horn trade. AB96 by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would end the state’s exemption for selling ivory imported before 1977 The bill would also impose stiff civil and criminal penalties for ivory sales.  Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, says California is a top market for ivory and that this could significantly reduce demand.

DOUBLE-TIME PAY FOR HOLIDAY BILL FAILS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 7,2015 (Sacramento) – San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez served up pumpkin pies to legislators in an effort to win approval for her bill to require double-time pay for most employees forced to work on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

COUNTY SEEKS TO RESTRICT FREE SPEECH, PROTESTERS, PHOTOGRAPHY AND MORE IN PUBLC PARKS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, left: Rural residents rally for protection from wind turbines after explosions; faith-based community leaders seek justice for immigrants outside County Administration Building

June 6, 2015 (San Diego)—For years, community groups and activists have rallied outside the County administration building where Supervisors meet to protest or urge support for various causes, from immigrant rights to stopping environmentally damaging projects, with rally organizers ranging from civil liberties advocates to conservative Tea Party groups. 

But under a new ordinance proposed for consideration on Tuesday’s agenda, people wishing to exercise First Amendment rights may be restricted to  designated “free speech zones” at the new Waterfront Park around the building, where you won’t be able to bring a megaphone, microphone, or even a chair on which to sit.  There will be noise limits and gatherings of 200 or more must obtain permits—meaning you’ll have to predict how many will show up for your event, or risk paying fines.

That’s not all.  The proposed ordinance would go farther,  changing codes regarding selling and advertising for all county parks and recreation facilities to regulate “other issues such as commercial photography, noise levels, and the prohibition on posting or affixing materials on park property.”

JONES BILL TO REVAMP "MADE IN AMERICA" LABELING LAW IN CA PASSES ASSEMBLY

 

East County News Service

June 5, 2015 (Sacramento)--Assemblyman Brian Jones’ (R-Santee) legislation to conform California law to the federal “Made in America” standard, which is used by every other state in the country, passed the Assembly on May 26th.

BILL SEEKS TO PROTECT CHEERLEADERS, REDUCE INJURIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Creative Commons images by Deus X Florida and Kirsten 5400  from Wikipedia

June 1, 2015 (Sacramento) – Two-thirds of all catastrophic sports injuries among female high school and college athletes nationwide occur in cheerleaders, according to a report by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat and former cheerleader, says cheerleading is “the most dangerous sport for high school athletes,” the Sacramento Bee reports. This week, Assembly Bill 949, a measure by Gonzalez aimed at improving safety for high school and collegiate cheerleaders, passed the Assembly by a 71 to 3 vote.   

PATRIOT ACT EXPIRES AFTER FILIBUSTER BY RAND PAUL

East County News Service

June 1, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Effective at midnight on May 31st, the Patriot Act has lapsed.  Critics contend that allowing the measure to sunset without passing a proposed reform measure, the USA Freedom Act, puts national security at risk, though some civil libertarians applaud the effort to halt mass collection of data by the National Security Administration.

SUPERVISOR ROBERTS & STAFFER DENY MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS

 

East County News Service

Photo courtesy 10 News, an ECM news partner

May 27, 2015 (San Diego) – Supervisor Dave Robert, in an exclusive interview with 10 News, has issued strong denials to all allegations made by two ex-staffers now suing the county.

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS BLOCKING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ORDER

East County News Service

May 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an injunction issued by a federal court in Texas which blocks President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The President’s order granted protection from immigration and work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Texas and 25 other states had sued to stop the President’s actions from taking effect this month as scheduled.

PROTESTERS ASK REP. PETERS TO OPPOSE FAST-TRACKING TPP TRADE DEAL

 

East County News Service

May 26, 2015 (San Diego) – The House of Representatives will soon be voting on a controversial proposal to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, after the Senate approved the fast-tracking.  On Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., activist groups led by the Sierra Club and SD County Democrats for Environmental Action plan a rally at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, where they will call on Peters to oppose the fast-track deal.

ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO CRACK DOWN ON “PREGNANCY CRISIS CENTERS”

East County News Service

May 26, 2015 (Sacramento) – The California Assembly has passed a controversial measure, Assembly Bill 775, that would require crisis pregnancy centers to disclose if they have no licensed medical provider on staff and to provide women with a list of options including public programs offering free or low-cost prenatal care for those wishing to carry pregnancies to term and abortions for those who don’t.

The bill comes in response to a year-long undercover investigation of the centers by the National Abortion Rights League, which claims the centers are mostly set up by anti-choice groups and that women are given misleading information. 

But opponents call the measure a “bully bill” that they contend threatens the existence of abortion-alternative clinics and violates constiutionallly protected religious freedoms.

STATE SENATE APPROVES BLOCK BILL TO PROTECT RIGHTS OF DISABLED VOTERS

 

May 23, 2015 (Sacramento)-- A bill, SB 589, to ensure that people with disabilities are not denied their right to vote in California was approved by the state Senate today on a 27-10 bipartisan vote. The measure was approved as the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it is investigating allegations that the state is denying voting rights to these citizens.

CA SENATORS SPLIT ON FAST-TRACK OF TRADE PACT IN SENATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Senator Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership

May 19, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Senate has voted 65 to 33 to take up HR 1314, a measure that would allow fast-tracking of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with no amendments or filibuster allowed.

BROWN BUDGET: MORE MONEY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION AND THE POOR

 

East County News Service

May 20, 2015 (Sacramento)--Governor Brown has unveiled a $115.3 billion proposed budget for California. If approved by the Legislature, his plan would create a new state tax credit to help the working poor. It would also boost funding for the California State University system and free tuition at the University of California for in-state students. The Legislature has until June 15th to approve a budget for the Governor’s signature.

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