Daily Headlines for August 21, 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 Urges Senate to Stop Ban on Settlement/Arbitration Agreements
A California Chamber of Commerce-opposed job killer bill to ban settlement agreements and arbitration agreements for labor and employment claims is awaiting action by the Senate.

Public Affairs/Politics

Who’s Writing Checks to Democrats in Central Valley House Races? Bay Area Liberals
Democrats’ unprecedented fundraising in Central Valley House races this year is fueled in significant part by the support of well-heeled donors in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The Sacramento Bee

De Leon Demands Feinstein ‘Come Home to California’
Underfinanced and trailing in the polls, state Sen. Kevin de Leon ratcheted up the pressure Monday on Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, demanding that she “come home to California” and participate in a debate for the first time in nearly two decades. Politico

Trump Endorses Republican Diane Harkey in race to replace Rep. Darrell Issa
President Trump threw his weight behind another California candidate in the closely watched midterms, giving his nod on Twitter to the GOP state tax board chair, Diane Harkey. Los Angeles Times

Surf’s Up Forever in California as Surfing Becomes the Official State Sport
Let it be known that on Aug. 20, 2018, surfing became California’s official state sport. Los Angeles Times

Human Resources / Health & Safety

California Justices Uphold Employee Background Check Law
The California Supreme Court has upheld a state law that requires employers to obtain workers’ permission before hiring a company to check their backgrounds. The Associated Press in The Sacramento Bee

Starbucks Requests Rehearing Following Supreme Court ‘Off the Clock’ Wage Decision
In a post published by the California Chamber of Commerce, Gail Cecchettini Whaley, the organization’s employment law counsel, and Bianca Saad, an expert in the field, warned of a surge of “wage and hour lawsuits.” Northern California Record

Defying Trump, California Legislature Bans Short-Term Health Insurance
The California Legislature has passed a bill banning the sale of short-term health insurance plans — a type of insurance the Trump administration is seeking to expand. San Francisco Chronicle


Born Out of the Financial Crisis, Bull Market Nears Record
If stocks don’t drop significantly by the close of trading Wednesday, the bull market that began in March 2009 will have lasted nine years, five months and 13 days, a record that few would have predicted when the market struggled to find its footing after a 50 percent plunge during the financial crisis. The Associated Press

Stockton Releases New Details On Guaranteed Income Program
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs gave more details Monday about the city’s plan to provide a guaranteed income for 100 families. Capital Public Radio

Student Loans Are Starting to Bite the Economy
Student loans are now the second-largest category of household debt in America, topping $1.4 trillion and trailing only mortgages at $9 trillion. Bloomberg

California Commands The Intellectual Property Landscape — High Taxes And China May Dethrone It
California dominates America’s intellectual property creation landscape, with 45,683 patents granted to California-based people or firms in 2017, 27.3% of the patents assigned in the 50 states and D.C. In 1992, California accounted for 15.5% of the patents granted in America. Forbes

Environmental / Agriculture

Trump Plan Scales Back Obama’s Coal Emissions Standards
The Trump administration on Tuesday came out with new rules scaling back Obama-era constraints on coal-fired power plants, striking at one of the former administration’s legacy programs to rein in climate-changing fossil-fuel emissions. The Associated Press

California’s Largest Wildfire Brings New Dangers for Firefighters on Front Lines
After more than three weeks, firefighters Monday continued to struggle against the largest fire in modern California history as the Mendocino Complex blaze prompted more evacuations and posed new dangers to those on the front lines. Los Angeles Times

Farmers Protest California Water Plan Aimed to Save Salmon
Hundreds of California farmers rallied at the Capitol on Monday to protest state water officials’ proposal to increase water flows in a major California river, a move state and federal politicians called an overreach of power that would mean less water for farms in the Central Valley. Associated Press in U.S. News & World Report


CalChamber Welcomes New Consul General of China in San Francisco
On Monday, August 20, the new Consul General of China in San Francisco, Ambassador Wang Donghua, visited the California Chamber of Commerce. CalChamber

Trump Auto Tariff Timetable Likely to Slip Amid Europe, Nafta Talks
The Trump administration is pushing back its timetable for completing a controversial investigation into whether to impose tariffs on auto imports, as officials try to negotiate agreements with some of the world’s largest car exporters. The Wall Street Journal

Australia Has a Lot to Lose in the US-China Trade War
Australia risks getting caught in the crossfire as the world’s two biggest economies move ahead with tariffs on large swathes of each other’s exports in a dispute that shows little sign of ending anytime soon. CNN

Infrastructure / Education

Bad Roads Cost Calif. Drivers $61B a Year, TRIP Research Shows
Driving on bad roads in California costs the state’s drivers $61 billion each year, according to a new study by a national transportation research group. Equipment World

California Community Colleges Urged to Plan Now for Fewer Students in Remedial Courses
California’s community colleges are being urged to move quickly to overhaul their curriculums so they are ready for the fall of 2019 when drastically fewer students will be required to take remedial classes in English and math. EdSource

Poll: Support for School Choice Growing Among Republicans
Support for charter schools and private school voucher programs has gone up over the past year, with Republicans accounting for much of the increase, according to a survey published Tuesday. Associated Press


Legislative Action and Inaction
California Chamber of Commerce president Allan Zaremberg wrote in the Sacramento Bee, “Although the justices may have had all the necessary facts to make an appropriate decision in the Dynamex situation, they could not consider all the other workers, businesses and consumers who rely on the independent contractor business model. The appropriate role of the Legislature is to determine the broad-based rule beyond what was decided by the court.” Joel Fox in Fox & Hounds Daily

Bill Dembrowski: My Turn: A Humane Alternative to Banning Animal Testing
It’d be a nightmare for manufacturers, stores, and consumers. Even the most committed cruelty-free brands would be vulnerable under SB 1249. Bill Dombrowski in CALmatters

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