Senate bill would eliminate income tax for California teachers

As reported by the Santa Clarita Valley Signal:

In light of the increasing teacher shortage in California, Senators Henry Stern and Cathleen Galgiani announced the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act.

If passed, Senate Bill 807 would eliminate all state income tax for teachers who stay in the classroom for more than five years, as well as provide tax credits to cover training costs and teaching credentials for new teachers.

“Teachers are the original job creators,” Stern said in a statement. “The teaching profession is critical to California’s economic success and impacts every vocation and profession in the state.”

The senate bill aims to tell teachers they are valued in California by training them and keeping them in classrooms, Stern said. In addition to encouraging people to go into teaching, the bill aims to encourage veteran teachers, former teachers and out-of-state teachers to get into California classrooms. …

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State employee visited 48,000 webpages for online games, videos

As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune:

A library employee at California State University Fresno may have cost taxpayers $22,200 in time he wasted using his work computer to visit 48,000 webpages for online videos and games unrelated to his duties during a 13-month period, according to a state audit released Thursday.

Also, an employee with the California Department of Transportation cost taxpayers an estimated $4,300 by misusing 130 hours of state time for excessive smoke breaks and extended lunches during her workdays over an eight-month period.

And a parole agent for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation cost the state about $3,800 by misusing her government vehicle for her personal commute during a seven-month period ending in July 2016. She didn’t disclose the personal use of the vehicle, which is taxable income.

These examples are among 10 incidents of fraud, waste and abuse the California State Auditor’s Office summarized in its regular report on “improper governmental activities.” The report included whistleblower tip investigations completed in the last six months of 2016. …

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California’s Bullet Train Could Be a High-Speed Fail Without Federal Funding

As reported by L.A. Weekly:

Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump made what might be considered his first real move to screw over California, by delaying a $637 million grant, long thought to have been a lock, to pay for electrifying a Bay Area train route. That’s bad news for Caltrain, which will have to stick to diesel gas for the time being. But it’s also bad news for California Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet project, the bullet train, which plans to share that section of track. The delay has been interpreted, by some, to be an act of political retribution, to get back at California for, oh, take your pick — not voting for Trump, for having so many “sanctuary cities,” for declaring itself the vanguard of the resistance, and so on.

Lisa Marie Alley, a spokeswoman for the California High Speed Rail Authority, downplayed the significance of the grant delay.

“I would not characterize it as a big blow whatsoever,” she said. “It’s something that is not good. The bigger question is, to the Republican administration, why would you hurt something that is creating jobs, creating a system that’s better for the environment and providing a valuable service for the Bay Area?”

The worrying thing for supporters of the bullet train, which aims to connect San Francisco and Los Angeles by the year 2029 for the not-so-low price of $68 billion (and that estimate is probably low), is if the Trump administration is willing to delay a fairly uncontroversial grant, can the nation’s largest infrastructure project currently under construction expect any help at all …

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Gun Groups Should Be Allowed to Put Lawmakers’ Home Addresses on Internet Says Fresno Judge

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Attorneys for the California Legislature are weighing whether to appeal a federal court ruling that could allow gun rights advocates to publish the personal information of individual lawmakers.

Diane Boyer-Vine, the state’s legislative counsel, said Wednesday that her office was reviewing the preliminary injunction issued by U.S. Chief District Judge Lawrence O’Neill of Fresno.

O’Neill had moved to halt a California law that restricts the internet publishing of home addresses or phone numbers of elected or appointed officials who feel their safety is threatened, or if the elected officials or their representatives demand that they not be published.

“At its core, plaintiffs’ speech is a form of political protest,” O’Neill wrote, giving the parties until March 10 to decide how to proceed. “The court therefore finds that the legislators’ home address and telephone number touch on matters of public concern in the context of plaintiffs’ speech.”

The case, brought last fall with the help of the Firearms Policy Coalition, was filed after the Legislature’s lawyer blocked a blog post from listing what its author described as the home addresses of 40 legislators who voted for gun control legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. …

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In Speech to Congress, Donald Trump Calls to ‘Restart the Engine’ of U.S. Economy

US Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R) applaud as US President Donald J. Trump (C) arrives to deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC, USA, 28 February 2017. / AFP / POOL / JIM LO SCALZO (Photo credit should read JIM LO SCALZO/AFP/Getty Images)

As reported by Fox News:

President Trump declared Tuesday that a “new chapter of American greatness is now beginning” as he made economic revival the centerpiece of his first address to Congress – issuing a clarion call to “restart the engine of the American economy” through tax cuts, better trade deals, immigration enforcement and a $1 trillion infrastructure program.

He also called on Congress to replace what he called the “imploding ObamaCare disaster” with legislation that lowers costs and expands access, an ambitious goal for GOP lawmakers still trying to come together on a plan.

The president outlined his agenda in an address to a joint session of Congress that lasted roughly an hour and focused largely on priorities at home, more than abroad. He offered a decidedly upbeat vision for the future of the country that stood in contrast to his at-times foreboding inauguration address.

“Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed. Every problem can be solved. And every hurting family can find healing, and hope,” Trump said, urging lawmakers to “join forces” to deliver.

Trump for the most part traded the contentious and punchy tone of the last few weeks for loftier – some might say more presidential – rhetoric. Declaring “the time for small thinking is over,” Trump appealed to the country to “believe, once more, in America.”

“A new chapter of American greatness is now beginning. A new national pride is sweeping across our nation,” he said. “And a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp.”

He described his address as a “message of unity and strength.”

The generally well-received speech could mark an opportunity for Trump to reset his young presidency after a rocky start in which clashes with the media and staffing controversies at times overshadowed action on the jobs front.

In perhaps the most memorable moment of the night, the audience broke out into extended applause as Trump introduced the widow of William “Ryan” Owens, the Navy SEAL killed in a raid in Yemen last month. Carryn Owens sobbed as lawmakers gave her a standing ovation and Trump said the raid he participated in yielded vital intelligence. His “legacy is etched into eternity,” Trump said.

In between the more dramatic moments were a host of policy prescriptions that could have a big impact on discussions in Congress.

Trump called for a “national rebuilding,” urging Congress to pass legislation that produces a $1 trillion public-private investment in infrastructure. …

Speaking to a key campaign promise that has yet to be realized, he said his team is developing “historic tax reform that will reduce the tax rate on our companies so they can compete and thrive anywhere and with anyone.” He vowed a “big, big cut” including “massive tax relief for the middle class.”

And he urged Congress to replace ObamaCare “with reforms that expand choice, increase access, lower costs, and at the same time, provide better health care.”

He outlined “principles” to guide negotiations, including …

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California GOP moves to align with Donald Trump policies

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

The California Republican Party moved Sunday into greater alignment with President Donald Trump, approving resolutions opposing sanctuary cities, advocating robust vetting of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations and supporting a swift repeal of the federal healthcare overhaul.

Delegates to the state party, meeting in Sacramento for their annual spring convention, also voted to reaffirm their aversion for tax and fee increases proposed as part of the state’s 2017-18 budget.

The resolutions, drafted with the help of longtime conservative activist Steve Frank, come as Republicans labor to identify common ground with Trump as some of their officials continue to distance themselves from his more controversial stances and statements.

All four proposals were adopted with no discussion.

The move represents a departure of sorts for a party that has tried to grow its shrinking ranks by adopting a more inclusive tone. …

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After Yiannopoulos cancellation, UC Davis wants to ensure controversial figures speak

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

UC Davis Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter said Thursday he will form a group to examine how to ensure even the most controversial speakers can deliver their messages on campus, weeks after former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos canceled his engagement in the face of protests.

The work group of students, faculty and staff will recommend practices and policies to ensure that speakers can deliver their messages unimpeded, Hexter said in a letter released Thursday to the UC Davis community.

“When we prevent words from being delivered or heard, we are trampling on the First Amendment,” Hexter said. “Even when a speaker’s message is deeply offensive to certain groups, the right to convey the message and the right to hear it are protected.”

The Jan. 13 Yiannopoulos incident drew condemnation from conservatives who said campus protesters were stifling free speech, while some activists said on social media that the safety risks posed by demonstrators were exaggerated. …

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Thousands still forced from homes by flooding in California tech hub

As reported by Reuters:

The mucky water flooding a section of San Jose in Northern California forced officials on Wednesday to widen the area under mandatory evacuation orders, with about 14,000 people barred from returning to their homes following drenching rains.

San Jose, a hub of high-tech Silicon Valley, suffered major flooding on Tuesday triggering evacuation orders when Coyote Creek overran its banks, swamping the Rock Springs neighborhood. Water at some sites engulfed the entire first floor of residences while in other places it reached waist-high.

Officials said the city of about 1 million residents has not seen a flood approaching this magnitude since 1997.

The gush of water inundating San Jose flowed down from the Anderson Reservoir, which was pushed to overflowing by a rainstorm that pounded Northern California from Sunday to Tuesday, officials said. …

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80% of Americans Oppose Sanctuary Cities – Harvard Poll

An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes should be required to turn them over to federal authorities.

The poll shows that President Trump has broad public support in his effort to crack down on sanctuary cities.

A survey from Harvard–Harris Poll provided exclusively to The Hill found that 80 percent of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting to federal agents the illegal immigrants they come into contact with.

Read the full article from The Hill here: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/320487-poll-americans-overwhelmingly-oppose-sanctuary-cities

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OCC student suspended after filming teacher saying Trump’s election was ‘an act of terrorism’

As reported by the Orange County Register:

COSTA MESA – An Orange Coast College student who secretly videotaped his instructor making anti-Trump statements was suspended from school and told to write a letter of apology as well as a three-page essay about the incident.

The college suspended Caleb O’Neil for the current semester and the summer term, saying he violated a Coast Community College District policy prohibiting recording someone on district property without that person’s consent.

“It is my hope that this experience will lead you to truly think through your actions and the consequences of those actions when making decisions in the future,” Victoria Lugo, interim dean of students, wrote in a Feb. 9 letter to O’Neil, whose video clips of instructor Olga Perez Stable Cox in December went viral. …

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