Daily Headlines

Daily Headlines for May 20, 2022

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

CalChamber Efforts Stop 3 Job Killer Bills, 7 Oppose Bills
Three California Chamber of Commerce job killer bills and seven oppose bills have been stopped from advancing this year after being held in legislative fiscal committees yesterday.

COVID-19


L.A. County Coronavirus Cases Rise to New Risk Level, Sparking Concern
Los Angeles County hospitals are once again seeing a marked increase in the number of coronavirus-positive patients requiring their care — triggering new concern that healthcare systems could once again come under strain unless the region gets its arms around the latest resurgence of the virus. Los Angeles Times

The COVID-19 Regulation’s Final Re-Adoption — What Does it Mean Going Forward?
It has been almost a month since the third (and final) re-adoption of the COVID-19 Workplace Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) was adopted at the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA’s) April meeting. Now that the third re-adoption is done, there are three big picture things to keep in mind as we look to the future of COVID-19 workplace safety. HRWatchdog

Almost as Contagious as Measles: Coronavirus Spins Out Worrisome New Mutations
The relentless evolution of the coronavirus, which has spawned new variants to fuel fresh surges of disease every four to six months, could in the not-distant future propel the virus to overtake measles as the most contagious of all known infections. San Francisco Chronicle

Public Affairs/ Politics


The Great Culling: Which California Bills Did Legislators Kill?
…Salary transparency…But the bill faced ardent opposition from business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, which put the bill on its “job killer” list — the collection of measures it lobbies against most aggressively each year. The Chamber argued that the data would create unfair comparisons between companies or be taken out of context. CalMatters

A ‘No Party Preference’ Prosecutor Could Shake Up California Attorney General’s Race
…Schubert is running to unseat Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, the Democratic incumbent appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year as the first Filipino American to hold the job. Should she advance to November, the race could become one of the fiercest competitions of 2022, testing the political viability of both independent candidates and a tough-on-crime platform reminiscent of California campaigns from the 1990s. Los Angeles Times

Human Resources / Health & Safety


A Look at Drug Testing, Privacy Rights and Last Chance Agreements
My employee provided a doctor’s note for recent time off that included information that he was out due to “cocaine poisoning.” With this information, can we require the employee to sign a last chance agreement and submit to weekly drug testing? CalChamber Alert

The 8 Largest OSHA Fines of Q1 2022
The eight contractors who faced the heftiest OSHA fines in the first quarter of 2022 received citations worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, with one eclipsing $1 million. For violations ranging from fall hazards to unsafe trenches, read on about the largest fines OSHA issued in Q1 2022. Construction Dive

Economy


Historic State Budget Blueprint Faces Crucial Hurdles
Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing a multi-billion-dollar package of monetary goodies for Californians, but how much of it will become reality is now up to legislators. The clock ticks: Lawmakers have less than a month to approve the 2022-23 budget, an unprecedented, nearly $300 billion document, and send it to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will then act on it by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. Capitol Weekly

Bay Area, California Job Gains Slow as Post-COVID Rebound Wilts
Job gains slowed in the Bay Area and California during April, a sign the economic rebound in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak has begun to wilt statewide and in this region, a report released Friday shows. The San Jose Mercury News

Cracks in US Economy Start to Show as Recession Warnings Mount
The late Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson once quipped that Wall Street had predicted nine out of the last five recessions. This time, the stock market may be right. The US economy is starting to show signs of strain under the weight of decades-high inflation and climbing interest rates — raising the risk of a downturn. Bloomberg

Environmental/Agriculture


With Severe Drought, an Urgent Call to Rework the Colorado River’s Defining Pact
One hundred years after a landmark agreement divided the waters of the Colorado River among Western states, the pact is now showing its age as a hotter and drier climate has shrunk the river…Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who oversaw management of the river under President Clinton, said it’s become clear that the 1922 Colorado River Compact should be revamped to adapt to the reduced amount of water that is available as global warming compounds the 22-year megadrought in the watershed. Los Angeles Times

EPA Considers Classifying Discarded PVC Plastic as Hazardous Waste
In yet another “sue and settle” case, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed entering into a consent decree agreeing to rule on the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) petition to classify discarded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Part of a broader initiative to decrease the volume of plastic waste, this may result in a rule classifying a wide range of PVC-containing industrial, commercial, and retail materials and products as hazardous wastes when discarded. The National Law Review

Black Fig Fly: A New Invasive Pest in California
…In a new article published in April in the open-access Journal of Integrated Pest Management, our team at the University of California, Riverside, and UC Cooperative Extension detail current knowledge of black fig fly biology and management and efforts underway to better understand how to respond to this new invasive species. Entomology Today

Storied California Redwood Grove ‘Almost Loved To Death’ Reopens This Weekend, With New Boardwalk
A grove of ancient redwoods that had suffered a decade’s worth of damage from tourists in California’s far north has been retrofitted with a new boardwalk to shield it from further abuse. San Francisco Chronicle

International


The AP Interview: US Trade Rep. Sees Opportunity in Recovery
With world economies all suffering from more than two years of the coronavirus pandemic and global supply problems exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States has an “incredible opportunity” to engage with other nations on a common playing field and forge new partnerships and agreements, the top U.S. trade negotiator told The Associated Press on Friday. The Associated Press

Travelers Head to Europe as Strong US Dollar Helps Offset Inflation
Airfare and hotel prices are surging along with nearly everything else, but American travelers have an ace up their sleeves this summer: a strong currency. Bloomberg

G7 Mobilise $19.8 Billion for Ukraine, Say They Are Ready for More Throughout War
Finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies said on Friday they have mobilised $19.8 billion for Ukraine and pledged to give more financial support if needed. Reuters

Infrastructure / Education


California Lawmakers Kill Plans to Ban Oil Drilling in State-Controlled Waters
Facing fierce opposition from California’s powerful oil industry and trade unions, legislation to close down operations on three offshore oil rigs off the Orange County coast failed Thursday to win passage in a state Senate committee, seven months after a major spill fouled the beaches and wetlands around Huntington Beach. Los Angeles Times

California Invests $700 Million in Transportation Infrastructure
Hundreds of millions of dollars has been approved for infrastructure improvements to roads and bridges in Northern California and throughout the state. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $700 million for the work. More than a third of that, $272 million, comes from Senate Bill 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. Action News Now

Biden Administration Launches $7 Million Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Initiative to Further Decarbonize Manufacturing
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the allocation of $7 million in funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program — a cohort of colleges and universities across the country that help small- and medium-sized manufacturers save energy, improve productivity, and reduce waste by providing no-cost technical assessments. Department of Energy

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