Daily Headlines for February 16, 2018

We scan major news sources* and compile selected articles to keep you up-to-date on current issues affecting California business – the economy, health care, environment, transportation and more. Receive Daily Headlines by Email

Today’s Top Story

California Chamber Doesn’t Condone Wage Theft
Mark Schacht’s recent op-ed on wage theft (“Let California’s workers recover stolen pay,” Viewpoints, Feb. 9) falsely portrays the California Chamber of Commerce. To be clear, CalChamber deplores wage theft and supports vigorous enforcement against dishonest companies. In fact, we supported the state labor commissioner’s efforts and statewide campaign to vigorously pursue wage theft and other labor code violations. Jennifer Barrera in The Sacramento Bee

Public Affairs / Politics

California’s Senators Split on ‘Dreamers’ Fix as Immigration Bill Fails
They both want to protect “Dreamers.” But California’s senators, both Democrats, cast different votes on a bipartisan immigration bill Thursday. Los Angeles Times

Senate Rejects Immigration Plans, Leaving Fate of Dreamers Uncertain
The Senate summarily blocked three measures on Thursday — including one backed by President Trump — to resolve the fate of the so-called Dreamers, leaving hundreds of thousands of them facing an uncertain future. The New York Times

Appeals Court Declares Trump Travel Ban Unconstitutional
President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban on travelers from six largely Muslim countries is “unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam,” a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, delivering another blow to the policy. The Associated Press

Human Resources / Health & Safety

Guidance for Employers on Immigration Enforcement Actions
Earlier this week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Labor Commissioner Julie Su issued two documents for California employers dealing with California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450). HRWatchdog

ICE Steps Up Enforcement at Businesses in California, Targeting Employers and Workers
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents put on their navy blue jackets and walked into a trucking company’s office in Carson this week, sending waves of anxiety rippling through the building. Los Angeles Times

U.S. Officials Warn ‘Intense’ Flu Season to Continue, Urge Shots
Adults who get a flu shot are 36 percent less likely to get the disease, while for children the figure was an unexpectedly high 59 percent, U.S. health officials said on Thursday, predicting that the current “intense” season could continue for weeks. Reuters

Economy

U.S. Housing Starts Rebound; Permits Highest Since 2007
U.S. homebuilding increased to more than a one-year high in January, boosted by a rebound in the construction of single-family housing units, and further gains are likely as building permits soared to their highest level since 2007. Reuters

Jumbo Loans Are New Threat in U.S. Student Debt Market
During the housing boom of the 2000s, jumbo mortgages with very large balances became a flashpoint for a brewing crisis. Now, researchers are zeroing in on a related crack but in the student debt market: very large student loans with balances exceeding $50,000. The Wall Street Journal

Environmental / Agriculture

Judge Orders Trump Administration to Put energy Efficiency Standards Into Effect
A federal judge in San Francisco ordered the Trump administration Thursday to implement energy-use limits for portable air conditioners and other products — standards that were adopted during the last days of the Obama presidency. The Associated Press

Water Use Climbs in California Enclaves as Drought Returns
Overall water use is climbing in Southern California as that part of the state plunges back into drought, driving state and regional water managers as they consider permanently reinstating some watering bans and conservation programs. The Associated Press

Sierra Snowpack, Far Below Normal, is a ‘Wakeup Call’
California’s “frozen reservoir” is already melting. With California locked in the embrace of unseasonably dry weather and high temperatures, water content of the Sierra snowpack is currently 22 percent of the long-term average for early February. That’s less than it was on this date in 2015, in the most dismal depths of California’s five-year drought. KQED

International

Layoffs Arrive in Brexit Britain, and Auto Workers Are Up First
In his 50 years working in Britain’s car industry, John Cooper has survived plenty of upheavals. None is scarier than the prospect of Brexit. Bloomberg

3 Independents Poised to Shake Up Mexico’s Presidential Race
The bronco, the jaguar, and the former first lady: These three outsiders appear destined for Mexico’s July 1 ballot as the first independent candidates to seek the presidency in generations, the result of a reform seen as a victory for democracy in the country. The Associated Press

U.S. Import Prices Increase More Than Expected in January
U.S. import prices rose more than expected in January as the cost of imported petroleum and a range of other goods increased, which could boost inflation in the coming months. Reuters

Infrastructure / Education

California Lawmakers Want to Boost Tenant Protections
Following failure of a bill that would have expanded rent control, a trio of California lawmakers is introducing legislation aimed at adding other protections for renters. Los Angeles Times

Hundreds Turn Out to Public Forum to Discuss Skyrocketing Water Bills
For more than three hours, one resident after another stepped to the microphone to address officials with the Public Utilities Department. Nearly all had stories of being charged for water they didn’t use, causing their bills to skyrocket by hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion/Editorial

Achieving Economic Growth and Upward Moblity
2018 is a transition year in California politics and public policy. Voters will elect a new Governor, replace at least seven constitutional officers and seat at least ten new members of the Legislature. Practicing direct democracy, voters will decide in November on as many as 20 ballot measures influencing the political and economic climate. Loren Kaye in Fox & Hounds Daily

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