Daily Headlines for January 18, 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.

Today’s Top Story

CalChamber-Opposed Job Killer Expands Employment Litigation
A California Chamber of Commerce-opposed job killer bill that could increase costs and the risk of litigation for California employers has been reintroduced.

Public Affairs / Politics

California Strikes a Bold Pose as Vanguard of the Resistance
In the months since the election of Donald J. Trump, California has turned into a laboratory of resistance — championing legal, legislative and political strategies to counter Republican policies while pressing the kind of new Democratic policies that presumably will not be coming out of Washington anytime soon. All of this has unnerved some in the business community. “This is all based on the president-elect’s campaign messaging,” said Allan Zaremberg, the chief executive of the California Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t know how that is going to manifest in action.” The New York Times

Potentially Nasty Fight Looms Over Trump U.S. Supreme Court Pick
Senate Democrats are gearing up for a potentially ugly fight over Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court pick, with some liberal activists urging them to do everything possible to block any nominee from the Republican president-elect. Reuters

Trump’s Missing Cabinet Secretary
Now, sources say Perdue’s status as the favorite may be in doubt amid a last-minute push for former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who offers Trump one last chance to put a Hispanic in the Cabinet. Politico

More Than 1 in 4 California Members of Congress are Skipping Trump’s Inauguration
There’s a lot Rep. Jared Huffman would rather do than go to Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday. So he’s going to stay home. Los Angeles Times

Human Resources / Health & Safety

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide if Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements are Lawful
The United States Supreme Court has agreed to resolve a split among the federal courts regarding whether class action waivers in arbitration agreements are lawful under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) or if, instead, such waivers violate the labor law provisions found in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). HRWatchdog

Words Can Cost You Your Job
Last July, Kevin Roberts, then-chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, was hosting a 50-person birthday dinner for his daughter-in-law at his home in the U.K.’s Lake District when he got a text message. Bloomberg


Consumer Prices Rise on Higher Gasoline, Rent Costs
U.S. consumer prices rose in December as households paid more for gasoline and rental accommodation, leading to the largest year-on-year increase in 2-1/2 years, a sign that inflation pressures could be building. Reuters

Reports: Small Businesses Optimistic About a Trump Presidency
Sacramento area employers are more confident about their business’ future after the 2016 elections than they were before, two new reports found. The Sacramento Bee

Trump’s Pick for Commerce Secretary Will Face Questions on Trade and Conflicts of Interest
Like the man who picked him to be the next Commerce secretary, Wilbur L. Ross is a billionaire with extensive financial interests and an ardent critic of America’s trade policies — both of which will come under scrutiny at his confirmation hearing set for Wednesday morning. Los Angeles Times

Environmental / Agriculture

State to Keep Conservation Rules for Now
Despite drenching rains and heavy snowfall this winter, California moved Tuesday to keep in place its statewide water conservation rules — at least for another three months or so. The Mercury News

Obama’s Southern California Legacy: Land Preservation Efforts May Outweigh Social Reforms
As Obama, America’s 44th president, leaves office after eight years in the White House, some parts of his legacy, such as preserving vast swaths of wilderness as national monuments, will endure for generations. Other efforts, including his push for health care and immigration reform, are either on shaky ground or never took flight. The San Bernardino Sun

Scott Pruitt has Repeatedly Fought the EPA, the Agency He is Now Seeking to Run
While some of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks are relative newcomers to government whose pasts offer murky pictures of how they might run an agency, there is little question where Oklahoma Atty. Gen. Scott Pruitt would take the Environmental Protection Agency. Los Angeles Times


May’s Hard Brexit Plan Has Economists Questioning Her Vision
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s attempts to lay out her plans for leaving the European Union may have promised a “global Britain,” but they left some economists underwhelmed. Bloomberg

EU ‘Not Hostile’ but Sees ‘Very, Very, Very’ Difficult Brexit Talks
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday he told Prime Minister Theresa May that EU negotiators were “not in a hostile mood” toward Britain but that Brexit talks would be “very, very, very” difficult. Reuters

Startups Concerned About Trump’s Plans for H-1B Visas
For several months, Subhi Beidas’ career was in limbo. Whether the engineer from Jerusalem could continue working at a San Francisco startup hinged on him landing an elusive H-1B visa, with a 1 in 4 chance of success among thousands of applications, through a lottery process. San Francisco Chronicle

Infrastructure / Education

DeVos Pledges Not to Undo Public Education, Pushes Choice
In a sometimes contentious confirmation hearing, education secretary pick Betsy DeVos pledged that she would not seek to dismantle public schools amid questions by Democrats about her qualifications, political donations and long-time work advocating for charter schools and school choice. The Associated Press

San Francisco Housing Shortage Leaves Little Room for Families
San Francisco has no official definition of “family housing,” but Heather Hawkins knows what it isn’t. San Francisco Chronicle

DWP Customers Get ‘Bill of Rights’ After Commission Vote
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a “customer bill of rights” backed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and criticized by some leaders from neighborhood councils, but also moved to open up public comment and revisit the bill of rights in about 90 days. Los Angeles Daily News


Kevin Starr Loved California and Conveyed that as He Chronicled its History
Kevin Starr was by no means a household name in California, having nowhere close to the high profiles of the state’s entertainers, sports figures and politicians. Dan Walters in The Sacramento Bee

R.I.P., Kevin Starr, California Historian, American Genius
California has had such a dramatic, inspiring, complex history that it badly needed a genius historian to make sense of it all. The San Diego Union-Tribune

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