Daily Headlines

Daily Headlines for May 11, 2021

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.

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Today’s Top Story

Governor Proposes $5.1B Water, Drought Infrastructure Plan
Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday unveiled a $5.1 billion plan for California’s water infrastructure, drought response and preparations for a “climate resilient system.” In addition to the proposed $5.1 billion funding, which will be spread out over four years, the plan includes $1 billion to help Californians pay their overdue water bills.


More California Counties Could Upgrade COVID Tiers. Sacramento, Placer Still Waiting
California health officials will update counties’ COVID-19 restriction levels later this morning, likely one of the final few weekly assessments before the state plans to drop the tier framework and fully reopen the economy in a little over a month. The Sacramento Bee

Children Ages 12 to 15 Approved for COVID Vaccinations by FDA
Federal regulators granted emergency use authorization Monday for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to be given to children ages 12 to 15, which will open the door for 2.1 million California adolescents to get their shots. San Francisco Chronicle

Public Affairs/ Politics

Governor Newsom to Speak at Virtual Host Breakfast on May 13
This year’s 95th Annual Sacramento Host Breakfast will be held virtually on the Zoom platform and will feature remarks by Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as comments from the Chair of the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Donna Lucas, and Host Committee Chair and CalChamber Board Member Susan Savage. CalChamber

Human Resources / Health & Safety

New COVID-19 Emergency Regulation Amendments Coming from Cal/OSHA
…though these changes are helpful in parts, they certainly indicate that employers will continue to have significant obligations even after the Governor’s much-discussed June 15th opening date. Robert Moutrie in Capitol Insider

California Could End Workplace Social Distancing and Mask Requirement by August
…Rob Moutrie, a policy advocate at the California Chamber of Commerce, said the feasibility of the rules remains questionable. Securing N95 masks for workers could be challenging during wildfire season, and employers have questions on how they can show proof of their employees being vaccinated, he said. The Sacramento Bee

Trump-Era Immigration Rule Could Make It Harder for Foreign Students to Land Jobs in Tech
During its waning days in the White House, the Trump administration issued an immigration rule intended to drastically change which highly skilled foreign workers could get the H-1B work visas, a prize particularly coveted by Silicon Valley tech firms large and small. San Francisco Chronicle


US Job Openings Soar to Highest Level on Record
U.S. employers posted a record number of available jobs in March, illustrating starkly the desperation of businesses trying to find new workers as the country emerges from the pandemic and the economy expands. The Associated Press

Gas Pumps Run Dry in U.S. South as Pipeline Shutdown Bites
Motorists across a broad swath of the U.S. East Coast and South are struggling to find gasoline and diesel as filling stations run dry amid the unprecedented pipeline disruption caused by a criminal hack. Bloomberg


California Expands Drought Emergency to Large Swath of State
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday expanded a drought emergency to a large swath of the nation’s most populous state while seeking more than $6 billion in multiyear water spending as one of the warmest, driest springs on record threatens another severe wildfire season across the American West. The Associated Press


First Complaint Under New Trade Deal Targets Mexico Auto Plants
Claiming an auto parts manufacturing firm in northern Mexico is firing workers for organizing with an independent union, the AFL-CIO filed a first-of-its-kind complaint Monday with the Biden administration it says will test whether a new North American trade agreement can affirm Mexican workers’ rights to bargain for better wages. Courthouse News

Trade Economist Thea Lee Named U.S. Labor Dept International Chief
The U.S. Labor Department on Monday said trade economist and former union official Thea Lee has been named to lead the agency’s International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB), an office that will police the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement’s labor provisions. Reuters

Inflation Kicks Off Race for EU’s First Rate Hike This Year
Accelerating price growth is underpinning bets that the European Union’s first interest-rate increase this year will come from its eastern wing. Bloomberg

Infrastructure / Education

Californians: Here’s Why Your Housing Costs Are So High
Tenants and landlords are hurting, homelessness is skyrocketing and the housing market is out of control. The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the only reason for that, but it’s making California’s longstanding housing crisis even worse. CalMatters

California Is Aiming for 100% COVID Rent Relief. Will It Actually Happen?
Thousands of Bay Area renters who have fallen behind on payments during the pandemic could soon see that debt reduced, thanks to $2.6 billion in new rent relief funding announced Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. San Francisco Chronicle

Capitol Weekly Podcast: Lande Ajose
Capitol Weekly’s John Howard and Tim Foster are joined this episode by Lande Ajose, chair of the Governor’s Council for Postsecondary Education – a big job as California colleges prepare to reopen campuses to students, post-pandemic. Capitol Weekly


California Is Rolling in Surplus Cash. But Legislators Want to Raise Taxes Anyway
Sacramento is rolling in money. It doesn’t need big tax increases. It needs more efficient spending. George Skelton in Los Angeles Times

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