Daily Headlines for August 22, 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

CalChamber-Opposed Bill Accelerates Salary Threshold for Exempt Employees
A California Chamber of Commerce-opposed bill that accelerates the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees is awaiting action on the Senate Floor.

Public Affairs / Politics

Report: California Needs to Address Housing Crisis to Meet Long-Term Climate Change Goals
California’s economy grew robustly during the past decade even as state-imposed environmental standards to combat climate-change helped lower greenhouse gas emissions. But authors of a report released Tuesday cautioned that the future might not be so rosy: They found that transportation-related emissions have begun to rise due in part to longer commute times for California workers who can’t afford to live in the cities where they work. The Orange County Register

Calif. GOP Assembly Leader Still Fighting For His Job
The top Republican in the California Assembly wants to take his party in a different direction, and it could cost him his job. Capital Public Radio

Democrats Push Another Bill to Change California Election Rules in Their Favor
Senate Democrats have put forward another bill to boost the political prospects of embattled state Sen. Josh Newman, the target of a well-funded recall effort on the verge of qualifying for the ballot. The Sacramento Bee

Human Resources / Health & Safety

San Diego Employer Forum Introduces Business to Skilled Workforce Ready to Work
Thursday is the deadline to register for the upcoming San Diego Employer Forum hosted by the California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) to educate businesses about opportunities to help meet workforce needs. CalChamber

Rigid Disability Leave Policy Results in $2 Million Settlement
Inflexible disability leave policies that fail to assess the individual needs of the employee can lead to liability, as a recent $2 million settlement demonstrates. This settlement resolves a nationwide disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). HRWatchdog

People Start Hating Their Jobs at Age 35
Jean Prince was 50 when she started working for a U.K. tech company near Cambridge as a technical author, writing software documentation. “I felt extremely lucky,” she said. Bloomberg

Economy

Millennial Americans Are Moving to the ‘Burbs, Buying Big SUVs
Millennials are finally starting their own baby boom and heading for the suburbs in big sport utility vehicles, much like their parents did. Bloomberg

No Money Down Mortgages? This Credit Union Welcomes Them Back
No money down. Three words that unnerve many real estate observers who wince at ugly memories of risky loans and the mortgage-making disaster of the previous decade. The Orange County Register

Environmental / Agriculture

Dozens are Suing to Block Delta Tunnels
They have one of the most powerful legal weapons found in any courtroom – the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. But environmental groups, local governments and others face an uphill climb in their fight against the controversial Delta tunnels project. The Sacramento Bee

LA County Hit with Lawsuit Claiming Newhall Ranch Project Would be ‘Menace’ to Public
Environmental groups are suing Los Angeles County and a development firm for moving ahead with plans to build 5,500 homes and apartments in the Santa Clarita Valley, despite concerns about traffic and the water supply. Los Angeles Daily News

L.A.’s Proposed Fee on New Construction May Not be ‘One Size Fits All’
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino wants more development in his San Pedro seaside district — new hotels, restaurants and apartment towers to lure visitors and attract residents. Los Angeles Times

International

First Round of NAFTA Negotiations Conclude
Round one of the renegotiation and modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has concluded in Washington, D.C. CalChamber

South Korea, U.S. Fail to Reach Agreement on Possible Revision to FTA Deal
South Korean and U.S. officials failed to agree on Tuesday on how to move forward on discussions over their five-year-old free trade agreement that Washington is seeking to change to help cut its trade deficit with Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Reuters

Germany’s Housing Market Is Red Hot, But Don’t Call It a Bubble
Grit Hildebrandt finally found her dream house near the German city of Rostock two years ago, paying more than 10 percent over the asking price to beat the other bidders. She’s now glad she’s on the other side in the country’s red-hot housing market. Bloomberg

Infrastructure / Education

Grid Runs Smoothly in California During Eclipse
The sun may have gone into eclipse mode Monday but the California electric grid did not. Power system officials across the state reported no major reliability issues, even though solar power took a dramatic dip as the moon obscured a large portion of the sun Monday morning. The San Diego Union-Tribune

Fate of 21 National Monuments Will Land on Trump’s Desk This Week
The Trump administration this week is expected to release plans for potentially shrinking or revoking the status of 21 national monuments, setting the stage for a years-long legal battle that could pit the White House against Indian tribes, environmentalists and some western states. McClatchy DC

Opinion/Editorial

Real Reforms Needed to Stop Abusive Business-Killing Lawsuits
California is one of the most expensive states for businesses to operate in–in large part due to lawsuit abuses that unfairly target businesses–earning the state the unflattering distinction of being the worst “judicial hellhole” in the nation. Making this even worse is the fact that the targets of these frivolous lawsuits are often the 3 million California small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. Vince Fong in Fox and Hounds Daily

Don’t Let California Prove How Single-Payer Fails Patients
Is single-payer health care dead in California? There were a lot of headlines to that effect in late June, after Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shelved the Healthy California Act, which would have abolished private insurance and established the state as the sole provider of health coverage in California. Sally C. Pipes in The East Bay Times

Lighthizer’s Economics Deficit
Mr. Lighthizer says he wants to restore jobs that have been lost since 1994 when Nafta was launched. But most of those jobs were lost to technology and higher labor productivity. New employment opportunities depend on new export markets and enhanced competitiveness. Step one is to let go of the obsession with Nafta trade deficits. The Wall Street Journal

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