Daily Headlines for June 19, 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

Coalition Fights Expansion of Employment Litigation
Trial Attorneys Benefit from Agreement Ban
The California Chamber of Commerce and a large coalition of employer groups and local chambers of commerce are opposing a job killer bill that bans settlement and arbitration agreements.

Public Affairs/Politics

California Legislature Sends More Budget-Related Bills to Gov. Jerry Brown, Final Items Could Come Next Week
Lawmakers sparred over school funding plans and healthcare for the poor on Monday during floor debates in the California Legislature, sending nine budget-related bills to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, but leaving a handful of other proposals in limbo for perhaps another week. Los Angeles Times

Trump Presses GOP for More Border-Security Money, Threatens Shutdown
President Trump pressed Republican senators Monday to add more border money to a homeland security spending bill, threatening to shut down the government if he doesn’t get what he wants — even as the lawmakers urged him not to. The Washington Post

Supreme Court Sidesteps Major Rulings on Electoral Map Manipulation
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a setback to election reformers by declining to use high-profile cases from Wisconsin and Maryland to curb the ability of state lawmakers to draw electoral districts purely for partisan advantage. Reuters

Human Resources / Health & Safety

Lower Costs, Fewer Benefits in New Health Insurance Option
The Trump administration is close to finalizing a health insurance option for small firms and self-employed people that would cost less but could cover fewer benefits than current plans, congressional officials and business groups said. The Associated Press

A Pioneer of Flexible Work Schedules Makes Them Actually Work
If you want to know who’s fixing the workplace for ambitious women, look no further than Anna Auerbach of Werk Enterprises Inc. The company, which she co-founded in February 2016, seeks to reinvent the workday by helping businesses create executive-track jobs with flexible formats, including the ability to work part time or remotely or to not have to travel. “I couldn’t quite understand why there were so few women in leadership,” she says. “It’s so obvious and in your face.” Bloomberg

Trump Clears Way for Health Plans With Lower Costs and Fewer Benefits
President Trump has said millions of people could get cheaper coverage from the new “association health plans.” But consumer groups and many state officials are opposed, saying the new plans will siphon healthy people out of the Affordable Care Act marketplace, driving up costs for those who need comprehensive insurance. The New York Times

Economy

Trump’s New Tariffs Could Hit U.S. Shoppers Where It Hurts
President Donald Trump is searching for more China-made goods to tax. His hunt could put the squeeze on the American consumer’s wallet. Bloomberg

Experts Say Auto Tariffs Would Raise Prices, Cost Jobs
Every workday, about 7,400 trucks mostly loaded with automotive parts rumble across the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Canada, at times snarling traffic along the busy corridor. The Associated Press

US Housing Starts Jumped 5 pct. in May Off Midwest Building
A surge of construction in the Midwest drove U.S. housing starts up 5 percent in May from the prior month. The Associated Press

Environmental / Agriculture

‘Water Tax’ Debate Continues After California Budget Passage
The California budget doesn’t include it, but Gov. Jerry Brown is not done pushing for a new charge on water users, which would fund clean drinking water in rural areas of the state that currently have unsafe tap water. Capital Public Radio

Electric Cars Are Going to Suck Up 9% of World’s Power Demand
With batteries getting cheaper and governments promoting their use, electric vehicles are going to be sucking up a whole lot more of the world’s power in coming years. Bloomberg

At a Meeting About Brown Water Pouring from Taps, Congresswoman Says People Were Paid to Speak Out in Favor of Water District
At a town hall Monday, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán alleged that people were paid to pose as residents to speak out in support of an embattled water district, marking a strange twist in the ongoing controversy over discolored water pouring out of taps in Compton and Willowbrook. Los Angeles Times

International

China Blasts New US Tariff Threat, Warns it Will Retaliate
China on Tuesday threatened “comprehensive measures” in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s new tariff hike, raising the possibility Beijing might target operations of American companies. The Associated Press

What Can Beijing Do if China-U.S. Trade Row Worsens?
China and the United States sank into a deepening trade conflict that roiled financial markets Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion of Chinese products, prompting Beijing to accuse Washington of starting a trade war. Reuters

EU Pushes for a Revamp of the World Trade Organization
European Union leaders plan to push for improvements in the way the World Trade Organization operates, saying it’s important to uphold the global commercial order amid “growing” tensions prompted by U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs. Bloomberg

Infrastructure / Education

California Lawmakers Debate Creating Regional Electric Grid
A contentious proposal to link oversight of California’s electric grid with other western states faces a crucial test Tuesday in a state Senate committee. Supporters say regionalizing the grid would make it easier and cheaper to deploy renewable energy across the western United States. But critics, including some environmentalists and consumer advocates, say California would jeopardize its efforts to require the expansion of renewables. The Associated Press

California Schools Seek Rollback to Disclosure Law on Bond Votes
For Jay Obernolte, the issue was simple enough: on their ballots, California voters already see the fiscal impact of proposed tax increases. So they should see the same for bond measures. But the Republican assemblyman’s bill that this year extended the disclosure requirements to bond requests has spurred schools to rise in opposition. Bloomberg

Where Do the ‘Three Californias’ Converge? A Clothing-Optional Hot Springs, of Course
If California splits into three states, maybe it’s fitting that the corners would converge here: among a clothing-optional hot springs resort, a tin-roofed fruit stand and an old roadhouse saloon where ranchers drink beer and talk Trump. To meet some of the people in this particularly remote spot where Fresno, San Benito and Merced counties meet, it almost feels like three Californias in one already. The Mercury News

Opinion/Editorial

Coffee Isn’t Going to Kill Anyone. California Needs a Smarter System to Let Us Know What’s Dangerous
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu M. Berle ruled in March that coffee should carry the warning labels mandated by California’s Proposition 65 because the brew contains acrylamide, a chemical that some studies found increases the incidence of cancer in rats. It was an unfortunate outcome of a ridiculous lawsuit by an opportunistic attorney that never should have been filed. Los Angeles Times

Don’t Listen to the Establishment Critics. California’s Open Primary Works
Last month, leading up to California’s primary elections, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said “I hate the top-two” open primary system. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said California’s top-two system “is not a reform. It is terrible.” Their bipartisan response should tell you everything you need to know: Political parties hate top-two, so voters should love it. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ro Khanna in The Washington Post

Why Trade Wars Over Tariffs are Not the Answer for Tech
Tech companies are a key driver of the United States’ current economic growth, with the industry accounting for about 7.2 percent of the overall U.S. economy and tech exports directly supporting 800,000 jobs in 2016, according to recent research. Elizabeth Hyman in The Mercury News

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