Daily Headlines for October 19, 2017

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

Fourth Round of NAFTA Negotiations Concludes
The fourth round of talks to renegotiate and modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) concluded in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday.

Public Affairs / Politics

Senate Republicans Cruise Toward Passage of Budget Plan
Senate Republicans are on track to pass a $4 trillion budget plan that shelves GOP deficit concerns in favor of the party’s drive to cut taxes. The Associated Press

Congress Heads Toward Shutdown Fight Over Immigration and Obamacare
The year’s most divisive fights in Congress are set to converge in a bitter partisan clash in December that could result in a U.S. government shutdown. Bloomberg

California and Other States Seek Emergency Order to Stop Trump Administration from Cutting Off Healthcare Subsidies
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra asked a federal court Wednesday to issue an emergency temporary restraining order to block the Trump administration from cutting off cost-sharing subsidies that help reduce the price of healthcare for millions of Americans. Los Angeles Times

‘The D.C. Playbook is Obsolete,’ Kevin de León Says as He Takes on Feinstein
Kevin de León, at a public launch of his brazen challenge to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, avoided direct mention of her Wednesday, instead casting the campaign as a referendum on President Donald Trump and the “go-along-to-get-along” culture of Washington that facilitated his election. The Sacramento Bee

Human Resources / Health & Safety

Unemployment Assistance Benefits Available for Workers Affected by Wildfires
Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits are now available for workers and self-employed individuals who lost jobs or had work hours substantially reduced as a result of the devastating California wildfires (Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sonoma and Yuba counties). Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced and the California Employment Development Department (EDD) confirmed this news Tueseday. HRWatchdog

Trump’s Health Subsidy Shutdown Could Lead to Free Insurance
If President Donald Trump prevails in shutting down a major “Obamacare” health insurance subsidy, it would have the unintended consequence of making free basic coverage available to more people, and making upper-tier plans more affordable. The Associated Press

Gov. Brown Passes Bill Prompted by San Bernardino Terrorist Attack
The legislation, introduced by Reyes, D-San Bernardino, when she took office about a year after the attack, requires employers in both the public and private sectors to immediately provide employees injured in an act of terrorism a nurse case manager and information of the treatment options available to them. The Press-Enterprise

Economy

Thousands Displaced by Northern California’s Wildfires Now Face the Region’s Housing Shortage
Kelly Lanning, her husband and two children are staying with her mother in Ukiah, an hour from where her home burned down the morning of Oct. 9. She’s not sure where she’s going to live next. Los Angeles Times

U.S. Jobless Claims Drop to More Than 44-Year Low
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level in more than 44 years last week, pointing to a rebound in job growth after a hurricane-related decline in employment in September. Reuters

Environmental / Agriculture

Governor Issues Order to Speed Up Fire Recovery Efforts
The order includes provisions that suspend planning and zoning requirements and state fees for manufactured homes and mobile home parks to help displaced residents in need of housing. The Mercury News

Most California Farmers Say They Don’t Have Enough Workers To Pick Crops
Most California farmers say they don’t have enough workers to pick the crops. Higher wages and mechanization haven’t been able to close the gap. The California Farm Bureau conducted the survey which showed 70 percent of farmers experienced labor shortages. Yet many farmers in the survey say they have increased wages, benefits, and more year-round jobs. Capital Public Radio

International

Abenomics Trickles Down to Smaller Japanese Companies
Growth is reaching the smaller corners of Japan, a change from the early days of Abenomics. Bloomberg

May Calls for Brexit Talks Progress at EU Summit
Prime Minister Theresa May said she would tell fellow European Union leaders on Thursday of “ambitious plans” for progress in Brexit negotiations in the coming weeks. Reuters

U.S. Wants Stronger India Economic, Defense Ties Given China’s Rise: Tillerson
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said before a visit to India next week that the Trump administration wanted to “dramatically deepen” cooperation with New Delhi, seeing it as a key partner in the face of negative Chinese influence in Asia. Reuters

Infrastructure / Education

Californians Prepare for Annual ‘ShakeOut’ Earthquake Drill
Millions of Californians and many others around the world plan to drop, cover and hold on in an annual drill aimed at keeping them safe during the violent shaking of earthquakes. The Associated Press

California’s Out-of-Control Wildfires Have Burned an Area Larger Than New York City
The rash of major wildfires afflicting California are now responsible for burning more than 330-square-miles statewide since Sunday, Oct. 8, as the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services reported Tuesday. For the sake of comparison, that area is larger than the 304.8 square miles that comprises all five boroughs of New York City. San Francisco Chronicle

Sonoma State University Reopens After Closing During Fires
Hundreds of students crowded into the Sonoma State University Student Center Wednesday night to thank first responders and celebrate the campus’ first full day of classes since shutting down Oct. 9. On that day, when fires tore through Sonoma County, the flames stopped just one-quarter of a mile from campus. The Press Democrat

Opinion/Editorial

Chatter at the Chamber: Political Insights at CalChamber’s Public Affairs Conference
Do Republicans have a chance in California? Seems a pointless question given California’s dramatic political turn to those left, all constitutional offices in the hands of the Democrats and a two-thirds supermajority of Democratic legislators. Joel Fox in Fox and Hounds Daily

Think Feinstein is a Shoo-In for Another Term? Don’t be Shocked if Voters Shake Things Up
Anyone who thinks U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a lock on reelection is ignoring history. It’s rare, but it happens: An esteemed, powerful, senior politician is booted from office. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times

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