Daily Headlines for August 16, 2019

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

August 27 Hearing Will Allow Taxpayers to Voice Concerns
An annual hearing to allow taxpayers to present their ideas and concerns on property taxes or the alcoholic beverage tax is set for August 27.

Public Affairs/Politics

Cal Channel to End Broadcasting After Three Decades
The California Channel, a decades-old public broadcaster that has historically provided on-demand video access to the Legislature, the state Supreme Court and the Capitol community, will cease operations in October. Capitol Weekly

A Law Just for Trump’s Presidency? California Measure Aims to Protect State’s Environment
The California Chamber of Commerce, an opponent of the bill, says that provision goes too far. “It is completely unconstitutional to force a federal agency to adhere to a state standard,” said chamber policy advocate Adam Regele, citing the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Sacramento Bee

Human Resources / Health & Safety

Ride-Share Drivers Voice Opposition to AB 5
Thursday, he rallied with advocates from the I’m Independent Coalition, an organization led by the California Chamber of Commerce and backed by various business interests, including ride-share companies. Fox 40

Short on Cures and Cash – California’s Stem Cell Agency to Ask Voters for Billions More
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) announced in July that it had stopped taking applications for new research projects, and it will award its final grants for new projects by September, an agency spokesperson later said. California Healthline in The Sacramento Bee

Obamacare Exchanges to Publish CMS Star Quality Ratings for Health Plans
HealthCare.gov and the state Obamacare exchange websites will start publishing quality star ratings for insurance plans, the agency announced Thursday. Modern Healthcare


California Housing Prices Reach New High — for the Third Straight Month
The median price for a home in the Golden State in June was $611,420, a 0.04 percent increase from May and a 1.4 percent increase from the year before, according to data from the California Department of Finance. The Sacramento Bee

Economic Trouble Signs Hang Over Trump’s Trade War
Against the backdrop of mounting evidence that the global economy is weakening, President Trump is caught between his desire to pursue the trade war with China he promised to win and his need to keep the economy humming as the 2020 election approaches. The New York Times

Slower Tourist Traffic Adds to Retailers’ Woes
Retailers have seen fewer tourists in their stores this summer, with no signs of improvement, piling on to challenges like volatile trade policy and geopolitical tensions. The Wall Street Journal

Environmental / Agriculture

US Water Policy–What Does It Mean for Water Availability for Farmers?
Every five years, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts an Irrigation and Water Management Survey as a follow-up to the Census of Agriculture. Such a survey was conducted in 2018, and NASS indicates that the results of that survey will be made available in November 2019. Ag Web

July was the Hottest Month Ever Recorded on Earth
July was the hottest month recorded on Earth since modern temperature record-keeping began in 1880, federal scientists reported Thursday. The announcement from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provided a clear preview of the future, and the latest warning sign that the planet continues to warm steadily from climate change, largely driven by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and gasoline, which trap heat in the atmosphere. The San Jose Mercury News

Trawling for Clarity
Mysis shrimp, an invasive species introduced into Lake Tahoe in the early 1960s, have gobbled up the tiny creatures that help keep the lake clear. Can the shrimp population be controlled enough to fix the problem? Capital Public Radio


WTO Paves Way for China to Seek Sanctions Against U.S.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Thursday adopted final findings against U.S. duties imposed on a range of Chinese imports, effectively giving Beijing a green light to seek compensatory sanctions. Reuters

More Ships Will Sail from Southern California to Mexico Starting in Fall
Thanks to new ships and new interest in the SoCal cruise market, the region is seeing a seagoing traffic spike, according to the 2019 Cruise Industry News Annual Report. Beginning in fall, three giant ships, including two Norwegian Cruise Line vessels and a Princess Cruises ship, will roll into the Port of Los Angeles, where they’ll begin sailing Mexican Riviera — that is, the western coast of Mexico — itineraries. Los Angeles Times

China Preps Tariff Response as Trump Sees a Xi Call ‘Very Soon’
China called looming U.S. tariffs a violation of accords reached by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, vowing retaliation as Beijing also pushed back on Trump’s effort to link the trade war with the turmoil in Hong Kong. Bloomberg

Infrastructure / Education

314,174 Southern Californians Commute 90-Minutes-Plus to Work
Long commutes are nothing new in Southern California, where pricey housing forces workers to drive great lengths as families juggle job opportunities — often in coastal areas — and affordable residences — typically inland. The Orange County Register

Earthquake Shook L.A. Skyscrapers So Hard Some Got Vertigo
If you were sitting in the lobby of one particular downtown Los Angeles skyscraper when energy from the magnitude 7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake arrived, you might have felt a few seconds of light shaking. But up on the 50th floor, the experience was terrifying. Los Angeles Times


Where Are the Promised Fixes to the New Privacy Law?
Language must be adopted to fix the definition of “personal information.” The current definition is so broad that even the initiative’s original proponent, Alastair Mactaggart, acknowledged the need to address the ambiguity. Matt Gardner in Capitol Weekly

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