Daily Headlines for February 17, 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

32 Member Companies Recognized on Bay Area’s Healthiest Employers List
Thirty-two California Chamber of Commerce member companies have been recognized as some of the healthiest employers to work for in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Public Affairs / Politics

R. Alexander Acosta, Law School Dean, Is Trump’s New Pick for Labor
Moving quickly after his first choice for labor secretary withdrew his nomination amid controversy, President Trump made a seemingly safe selection on Thursday in R. Alexander Acosta, a Florida law school dean and former assistant attorney general. The New York Times

Lawmakers Consider Making Election Day a Paid Holiday in California
Californians would get a day off from work, some with pay, on election day under a proposed law introduced this week at the state Capitol. Los Angeles Times

Human Resources / Health & Safety

New Rule Targets Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has developed a regulation addressing workplace violence protection in health care. Alert

Check Out the Updated Form I-9 Handbook
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its guidance manual, Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing the Form I-9 (M-274). HR Watchdog

GOP Leaders Provide New Details About ObamaCare Repeal
House Republican leaders on Thursday presented to their members the most detailed look yet at their plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, though some key elements remain to be worked out. The Hill


Federal Tax Talks Trigger California Conformity Questions
California lawmakers following debate in Congress about a federal tax overhaul are bracing themselves for the complex task of deciding whether and when the state would conform. Bloomberg BNA

Silicon Valley Economy Slows, but Still Grows
Silicon Valley’s ultra-fast job growth slowed in 2016, but nevertheless extended an expansion that has created a region of high incomes and widening economic disparity, according to a new report released on Thursday. The San Jose Mercury News

New Home Sales Have Strong Start in Face of Labor, Lots Issue
Strong new home sales in January have homebuilders believing the market could reach a post-recession high in 2017. Sacramento Business Journal

Environmental / Agriculture

How Full are Northern California Reservoirs and Rivers?
These three graphs show key California reservoir conditions and river stages for the upper and lower Sacramento Valley. The Sacramento Bee

Rain Runoff May Have Undermined Oroville Dam’s Concrete Spillway, Report Says
Rainwater erosion alongside the Oroville Dam’s main spillway appears to have contributed to the heavy damage that prompted a crisis, forcing more than 100,000 to be evacuated from their homes, a report reviewed by The Times showed. Los Angeles Times

Erosion, High Flows from Storms Benefit Native Species
The state’s rivers and streams are now chocolate-colored, heavy with dirt or sediment. While it might not look attractive, from an ecological standpoint it’s good news, especially for native salmon. Capital Public Radio


China Says Common Interests Outweigh Differences with U.S.
The common interests between China and the United States far outweigh their differences, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday in their first face-to-face meeting since Tillerson took up his job. Reuters

ECB Should Stay Open to Rate Cuts Amid Data: Lane
The European Central Bank should continue to be open to further rate cuts, even if such moves are unlikely given economic conditions, a member of the central bank’s Governing Council said. MarketWatch

South Korean Court Declares Hanjin Bankrupt
A South Korean court has declared Hanjin Shipping Co. bankrupt, about six months after the struggling shipper first filed for bankruptcy. Los Angeles Times

Infrastructure / Education

Rethinking Classroom Design to Promote Creativity and Collaboration
One area that has remained relatively untouched by Silicon Valley’s famed “disruptive” ethos is the design of public school classrooms, which for the most part have remained essentially unchanged since the one-room schoolhouse. EdSource

Fires, Floods, Earthquakes Add Up to Plenty of California Disaster Declarations
This year’s heavy rains and the ongoing crisis at Oroville Dam recently prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to do what he and his predecessors have done many times before: ask for federal help. The Sacramento Bee

Data Project Aims to Paint a Detailed Picture of Arts Ed in LA County
Last fall, a statewide data project revealed some bleak statistics about the state of arts instruction in California: More than 100,000 students attending California schools had no access to arts instruction in school. And in recent school years, only 26 percent of secondary students in California had access to all four arts disciplines – music, theater, visual and dance – as required by state law. Southern California Public Radio


Improving a Good Thing: Legislature Can Make Regulatory Reform Even Better
One of the few significant pro-business reforms to emerge from the Legislature during the recession was a more robust cost-effectiveness requirement for administrative regulations. Loren Kaye in Alert

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