Daily Headlines

Daily Headlines August 12, 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

California Governor Releases Water Supply Strategy, Calls for Regulatory Modernization
Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday announced a four-point strategy to increase California’s water supplies and help the state adapt to the extreme weather patterns anticipated by climate experts. California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jennifer Barrera praised the water strategy, saying it aligns closely with recommendations the CalChamber submitted to the Governor that identified ways the state could secure new water sources.

COVID-19


CDC Drops Quarantine, Distancing Recommendations for COVID
The nation’s top public health agency relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others. The Associated Press

L.A. County Drops Out of High COVID-19 Level as Surge Eases
Los Angeles County officially moved out of the high COVID-19 community level Thursday as one top state health official expressed hope that California is at the end of the pandemic’s latest wave. Officials continue to urge caution, noting that coronavirus case rates remain high and still strongly recommend universal masking in indoor public spaces as schools resume classes. Los Angeles Times

New York Is Roaring Back From the Worst of the Pandemic. Why Isn’t San Francisco?
…City veterans credit a critical mass of return-to-office mandates that have pushed, and in some cases forced, former residents to return. San Francisco’s more lenient work-from-home allowances haven’t led to a similar rebound. New York’s economic engine, Wall Street, has done far better than in earlier recessions and been more eager to return to the office than the tech industry. San Francisco Chronicle

Public Affairs / Politics


Decision Day: Which Bills Did California Lawmakers Kill?
In simultaneous marathon hearings, the appropriations committees in the Assembly and Senate rattled through hundreds of bills in a single discharge of rapid-fire legislating. Many proposals lived to see another day. Among them: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal for new courts to compel more homeless individuals to seek mental health and substance abuse treatment… CalMatters

Social Media Addiction Bill Fails in California Legislature
The bill would have let the state attorney general or other local prosecutors sue social media companies for up to $250,000 per violation for knowingly using features that can cause children to become addicted to their products. It was one of the most watched pieces of legislation in California this year, as it could have forced social media companies to make broad changes that would affect users across their platforms. The Associated Press

Human Resources / Health & Safety


California Won’t Require Companies to Make Salary Data Public Despite Pay Equity Concerns
…Denise Davis, spokesperson for the chamber, said Thursday that SB 1162 would be removed from its “job killer” list because of the new amendments but that the organization still opposes the bill. Los Angeles Times

CalChamber Offers Free 2022 Midyear Employment Law White Paper
As we move into the latter half of 2022, California employment law continues to move along — and employers should make sure they’re complying with the new regulations, court rulings, local ordinances and other employment law developments that have occurred thus far in 2022. CalChamber Alert

California Meal, Rest Break Laws Don’t Apply to Long-, Short-Haul Truck Drivers
California’s onerous meal and rest break laws don’t apply to truck drivers regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) hours-of-service requirements, as the Ninth Circuit recently upheld a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determination applicable to drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 2785 v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (9th Cir. 2021) 986 F.3d 841, 846). HRWatchdog

Employer Advocates Worry Inflation Reduction Act Could Increase Health Plan Costs
The bill would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which could lead pharmaceutical companies to charge employer plans more, a source at the Business Group on Health told HR Dive. HRDive

Economy


California Foreclosures Jump 116%: Ugly Turn or Merely Moratoriums Ending?
The number of homes in foreclosure jumped 116% in a year in California as restrictions end on the ability of lenders to move against seriously delinquent borrowers. The U.S. number was even higher, surging 153%. The Orange County Register

Federal Budget Deficit Narrowed in July
The federal deficit narrowed by 30% in July compared with a year earlier, as the government reported a $211 billion monthly gap between revenue and spending. The drop in the deficit this year is the product of the end of a burst of federal spending last year and rising government revenue this year. The Wall Street Journal

US Jobless Claims Rise Again, Near Highest Since November
Applications for US unemployment insurance rose for a second week and held near the highest level since November, indicating continued moderation in the labor market. Bloomberg

Environmental / Agriculture


California Senators Kill Measure to Reduce Plastic Waste From Online Retailers, Dozens of Others
…AB2026 by Assembly Member Laura Friedman, D-Glendale (Los Angeles County), sought to require online retailers to end their use of plastic packaging meant to be used once and tossed in the trash, such as padded Amazon envelopes, bubble wrap, air pillows and polystyrene peanuts. It’s the second year in a row that the Legislature, led by moderate Democrats, has rejected Friedman’s measure to reduce how much plastic trash is generated by e-commerce. San Francisco Chronicle

Heavy-Duty Truck Group Drops Lawsuit Against California Air Regulators
A group representing heavy-duty truck and engine companies withdrew a lawsuit over emissions standards rollouts that it filed against the California Air Resources Board (CARB), court records showed. The Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association said on Thursday its lawsuit was intended to ensure California regulators provided manufacturers at least four years of lead time before implementing new heavy-duty engine emission standards. Reuters

Amid Drought, Some California Communities Are Forced to Rely on Hauled-In or Bottled Water. This Map Shows Where
…Data from the state water board’s 2022 “Drinking Water Needs Assessment” shows that nearly 90 water providers across the state, including six in the Bay Area, have had to resort to bottled or hauled-in water to fully meet their communities’ drinking water needs in the past three years. The report finds that California’s ongoing drought played a role in straining supply for some of these providers. San Francisco Chronicle

Newsom: California Must Boost Water Recycling, Desalination
California should invest tens of billions of dollars in water recycling, storage and desalination over the next two decades to shore up its supply as the state gets drier and hotter, Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a proposal released Thursday. The Associated Press

International


U.S. Economy Was the Worst Performing of G-7 Countries in the Second Quarter as U.K. Also Reports Downturn
…On the quarterly basis that most countries outside the U.S. employ, the American economy fell by 0.2% in the second quarter. Canada had the strongest showing, with its economy accelerating by 1.1%, and the Italian and French economies also grew while Germany’s stagnated. MarketWatch

China’s Xi Jinping Plans to Meet With Biden in First Foreign Trip in Nearly Three Years
Chinese officials are making plans for Xi Jinping to visit Southeast Asia and meet face-to-face with President Biden in November, according to people familiar with the preparations, in what would mark the Chinese leader’s first international trip in nearly three years and his first in-person meeting with Mr. Biden since the American leader’s inauguration. The Wall Street Journal

Europe’s Key Rivers Fall to Critical Levels, Aggravating Energy Crunch
Scorching temperatures have drained some of Europe’s main rivers, threatening to disrupt vital economic thoroughfares and exacerbate the continent’s energy shortage. In Germany, the Rhine is at critically low levels, hampering deliveries of coal and industrial goods, and is forecast to potentially become impassable for most barges at a key stretch by the end of the week. The Wall Street Journal

Infrastructure / Education


California High-Speed Rail Wins $25 Mln U.S. Grant, Seeks $1.3 Bln More
California’s High-Speed Rail Authority said Thursday it won $25 million in new federal grant funding to advance its project beyond 119 miles under construction, while pursuing an additional $1.3 billion award. The U.S. Transportation Department (USDOT) grant will provide more than half of the estimated $41 million for a design contract to connect the cities of Madera and Merced. Reuters

Former LA Mayor Villaraigosa Named Infrastructure Advisor for California
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will serve as an infrastructure advisor for the state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday. Villaraigosa’s appointment comes amid $120 million in funding awarded by the Department of Transportation to California for eight projects. Times of San Diego

‘Road to Zero’ to Feature Hydrogen’s Role in Bay Area Energy Transition
The role hydrogen will play in the San Francisco Bay Area’s energy transition will be the focus of Richmond’s Road to Zero Day on August 25. The event will bring together energy transition experts, regional businesses, government representatives and community leaders. CalChamber Alert

Opinion / Editorial


Conservation Alone Won’t Solve California’s Water Crisis. We Need More Infrastructure.
There are many priorities at all levels of government, but expanding water infrastructure needs to stay toward the top of the list. The San Diego Union-Tribune

Still Friends? Review of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Two Years Under the ‘New NAFTA’
…Over its first two years, the USMCA has certainly been tested. But despite these challenges, the agreement is holding steady upon the foundations rebuilt from its predecessor NAFTA in supporting one of the most vibrant trading regions in the world. In doing so, it has maintained the promise of free and fair trade in the region. Mark Ludwikowski and Aristeo Lopez in Reuters

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