Daily Headlines for November 16, 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

CalChamber-Led Coalition Continues to Seek Changes to Confusing Regulations
The California Chamber of Commerce continues to seek technical changes to state regulations proposed to implement the New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) and the statewide ban-the-box law, which both went into effect on January 1.

Public Affairs/Politics

A Californian is the Top Republican in the House. Can His Party Recover Back Home?
Three years after he first bid for the job, Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy has finally landed the top Republican leadership position in the House of Representatives. The Sacramento Bee

California GOP Ponders Way Forward After Stunning Losses
In a speech to fellow Republicans in May, U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters issued an ominous warning about the coming election — California Democrats, she said, were “coming for all of us.” She was right. Associated Press

Republicans Lose a Fifth House Seat in California as Democrat Katie Porter Ousts Rep. Mimi Walters
In another blow to California Republicans reeling from defeats in the Nov. 6 election, Democrat Katie Porter has ousted GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in an upscale Orange County congressional district that was a longtime conservative bastion. Los Angeles Times

These Legislators Preach Internet Privacy, but They Still Use Website Tools That Snoop
Dozens of lawmakers in Congress are using tracking tools on their campaign websites to collect personal information about online visitors, including some legislators who have lambasted Facebook and other social media companies for employing similar methods. McClatchy DC

Human Resources / Health & Safety

Wildfire Reminders: Employers Have Obligations, Must Take Precautions to Protect Employees
With a new series of wildfires flaring up this month, the California Chamber of Commerce presents below responses to questions often received from the employer community about how to help employees and a recent Cal/OSHA advisory on worker safety. HRWatchdog

Ferocious Fires Spark Concern Over Major Health Consequences
Smoke masks. Eye drops. No outdoor exercise. This is how Californians are trying to cope with wildfires choking the state, but experts say an increase in serious health problems may be almost inevitable for vulnerable residents as the disasters become more commonplace. Associated Press

Sensitive to Smoke? State Workers Can Ask to Work from Home or Take Vacation
State buildings in downtown Sacramento are open and public employees are expected to go to work despite the heavy smoke from the Camp Fire that seems to be seeping into some downtown office buildings. The Sacramento Bee

Economy


Fed Rate Pause Possible in 2019 as Powell Highlights Headwinds
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has laid out a scenario for a pause in the central bank’s interest-rate hiking campaign sometime next year by highlighting potential headwinds to the U.S. economy. Bloomberg

US Industrial Production Ticks Up 0.1 Percent in October
U.S. industry expanded slightly in October, with manufacturing growth offsetting declines in mining and utility production. Associated Press

Economists Split on Whether Outcome of Midterms Will Increase or Decrease Uncertainty
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal were roughly split on whether the outcome of the recent midterm elections would dispel or increase uncertainty for the economy and financial markets in the coming months. The Wall Street Journal

Environmental / Agriculture

Democrats Prepare to Grill Trump Officials on Environmental Issues in New Congress
Three likely incoming Democratic chairs of House committees overseeing environmental issues vowed to scrutinize the Trump administration’s actions on climate change and bring before them top administration officials who they think have escaped adequate oversight under their Republican colleagues. The Washington Post

Americans Are Moving Closer to Nature, and Into Fire Zones
The deadly wildfires that are devastating communities in parts of Northern and Southern California first ignited in an expanding part of the American landscape: not in forests, not in cities, but in the areas that experts call the wildland-urban interface. The New York Times

California Recommends Restrictions for Popular Pesticide
The Department of Pesticide Regulation issued temporary guidelines for chlorpyrifos that include banning it from crop dusting, discontinuing its use on most crops and increasing perimeters around where it’s applied. Associated Press

Winds That Fanned Southern California Wildfire Diminish
Winds that fanned a deadly, destructive Southern California firestorm were fading Thursday and more areas were reopening to residents as firefighters extended containment lines around the vast burn scar. Associated Press

International

U.S. Envoy to Japan Defends Trade Policies, Say Not Protectionist
The United States ambassador to Japan defended his country’s trade policies on Friday, saying they were not protectionist and were aimed at creating a more level playing field for American companies. Reuters

France Offers No Kind Words to Help May With Brexit Troubles
If Theresa May needs help restoring political calm to hold together her government and Brexit plans, she’s unlikely to find it in France. Bloomberg

Top UK Court Says to Consider Government Appeal in Brexit Reversal Case
Britain’s Supreme Court said on Friday it would consider whether to hear an appeal from the British government which wants to stop Europe’s top court from examining a case seeking to determine whether the country can unilaterally reverse Brexit. Reuters

Infrastructure / Education

UC Regents Approve Budget to Enroll 2,500 More California Students Without a Tuition Hike
University of California regents on Thursday approved a $9.3-billion budget that will add 2,500 more California undergraduates and increase support for struggling students without raising tuition in the next academic year. Los Angeles Times

Here’s What It Takes To Get A Cal Fire Tanker In The Air
The roar of multiple engines and the drop of thousands of gallons of orangish-pinkish fire retardant are really good sounds and sights if you’re a firefighter trying to hold containment or if you’re someone who lives nearby, anxiously watching a plume of smoke. Capital Public Radio

Rushed Construction Cost High-Speed Rail $600 Million and Delays Mount, Audit Finds
California’s High Speed Rail Authority is still paying for a costly decision five years ago to begin construction in the Central Valley without securing land and before it had completed key plans, according to a report published on Thursday by State Auditor Elaine Howle. The Sacramento Bee

Camp Fire: What to Expect from FEMA
The following is what FEMA provides after a declaration of disaster like the one President Trump signed in the aftermath of the Camp Fire. San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion/Editorial

Dynamex Ruling Devastates Real Estate and Other Professions
Real estate is an ideal career track for those who want flexibility and opportunity in their profession. But a court ruling that was issued in April threatens to extinguish the flexibility, opportunity and entrepreneurialism that defines real estate. Even worse, the fallout of this ruling is by no means limited to realtors. In fact, it threatens the livelihoods of an estimated 2 million Californians who work as independent contractors, in addition to exposing small businesses to costly litigation that will dog our economy and consumers for decades. Silvia Alvarenga in the Sacramento Business Journal

End of Brown Era—Pat & Jerry
At the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs post election conference yesterday at Cal State LA, political consultant Mike Madrid declared that the Brown era of politics focused on building and infrastructure is over with the end of Jerry Brown’s fourth term as governor. He wasn’t referring to just the current governor but to his father, Pat Brown, as well. Both Browns focused on building from water works and highways to the bullet train. Joel Fox in Fox and Hounds Daily

What Upbeat California State Budget Forecast Omits: Giant Pension Debt
Outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown has had the unique experience of normally volatile state revenue going up every year since he took office in 2011, wiping out the $26 billion deficit he inherited. Now Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor is reporting that Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom can expect more good news on the fiscal front, with the state on track for a record $14.5 billion reserves and $14.8 billion surplus in the 2019-20 budget. This isn’t just because of surging revenue driven by Silicon Valley’s continuing boom. It’s also because school spending is stabilizing as enrollment drops, and health care spending is leveling off. The San Diego Union-Tribune

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