rgl7194 + state   127

Community pharmacies struggle to stay open - News - recordonline.com - Middletown, NY
When Baxter’s Pharmacy in Goshen closed in late June, it left more than an empty storefront.
The closure left customers with a choice: Find another local, family-owned independent drugstore and travel a little farther, or switch to a big nationally owned chain.
“The whole time we’ve lived here, 20-plus years, we’ve used Baxter’s,” said Michele Meek, who works at Linda’s Office Supplies, just a couple of doors down Main Street from the former Baxter’s. “I’m trying to make my choice now: Am I going to go to CVS, or am I going to go to the one in Florida?”
The Florida Pharmacy is a bit out of the way for Meek, who lives in the Village of Goshen, but she likes to shop at small businesses. And when she called CVS with a question, she said, she got an automated system. When she called the Florida Pharmacy, she got a friendly, helpful person.
John Nemeth, who owned Baxter’s, declined to comment for this story.
Baxter’s was the second independent community pharmacy in Orange County to close in the past several months, said Al Squitieri, who owns NeighboRx Pharmacy in Slate Hill. The other was Montgomery Village Pharmacy, he said.
“Pharmacies today are experiencing such low reimbursements, it’s forcing some pharmacies to close,” Squitieri said.
pharmacy  business  drugs  economics  gov2.0  new_york  PBM  politics  state 
26 days ago by rgl7194
Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee Releases Full Report on Pharmacy Benefit Managers | NY State Senate
In January of 2019, Senator James Skoufis, Chair of the Senate Committee on Investigations & Government Operations, in coordination with Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, opened an investigation into the practices of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) in New York State.
Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) said, “Every single day in this state, someone is forced to choose between buying medication that they need and buying groceries for the week. This is an atrocity and a failure of government oversight. Price hiking has plagued consumers for decades and we are currently at a point where it has gotten out of control. This is why back in January, our team of investigators and I started diligently looking into this practice. The purpose of this investigation was to better understand the impact PBM practices have on New York State residents, as well as establish legislative recommendations for further action. I’m confident that our findings and legislative recommendations will help inform our end-of-session decisions on PBM legislation.”
drugs  economics  gov2.0  PBM  pharmacy  politics  state  new_york  report 
6 weeks ago by rgl7194
The price of filling a prescription: Independent pharmacies fight for survival
Nine in 10 independent pharmacy owners in Brooklyn are facing potential cuts to staff and hours this year. The reason? Third-party pharmacy benefit managers.
Revenue at Bridge Pharmacy in Bay Ridge, open since 1998, is down 10 percent the past year, co-owner Stephen Cilento said. He and his partner have already laid off one pharmacy technician, and Cilento worries that if things don’t improve, he may have to shed another position or close the store an hour earlier each day.
Krishna Inapuri, co-owner of Vanderveer Pharmacy in East Flatbush, has already laid off two workers, a technician and a cashier. In January, he began closing the store an additional day each week. Inapuri disclosed that his partner has also cut his own salary.
More than 90 percent of independent pharmacy owners in Brooklyn said they are considering similar slashes to operating hours and jobs in 2019, according to a survey of members of an industry trade group.
Both pharmacy owners — and hundreds more across the state — say the source of their pain is clear: pharmacy benefit managers who have been pushing drug reimbursements down to unsustainable levels.
“Independent pharmacies, for the past two years, have been railroaded by the pharmacy benefit managers,” Inapuri said. “They have no transparency, and there is no reason told to us as to why the reimbursements are cut down in some cases on a daily basis, with no prior warning.”
The pharmacists say that if their existence is threatened, so are options for consumers, in terms of preferred service as well as drug availability.
drugs  economics  gov2.0  PBM  pharmacy  politics  state  business  new_york 
6 weeks ago by rgl7194
Governor DeWine signs Ohio budget bill overhauling Medicaid pharmacy program!
Early this morning, Governor Mike DeWine signed the state budget bill, obliterating the current pharmacy benefits system in Medicaid managed care, and reinvesting $100 million back into Ohio pharmacies that were fleeced in recent years through "spread pricing" by PBMs in the program. The signing is another major step in fixing a broken Medicaid payment model, which has been OPA's top priority.
The saga in Ohio over pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) has been well-chronicled and reached a national profile thanks to the efforts of OPA members and staff, as well as the instrumental work of many elected officials and the persistent, unrelenting accountability of the Columbus Dispatch.
Yesterday, the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate both agreed on a final consensus on the budget language contained in HB 166, and both chambers voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill, sending it to Governor DeWine for signature. He signed it today with a number of vetoes, some of which impacted the state PBM and pharmacy policies.
There were some conflicting reports in the media today on what policy was kept and what was vetoed, but overall, DeWine kept the fundamental core of the policies intact. The Dispatch did a write-up on the vetoes here, but be sure to read our breakdown below for a good overview of what is actually in the enacted version that Governor DeWine signed. All in all, some policy pieces will require some vigilance on our part, but let's be clear: we believe the budget overall is a very positive step forward for drug pricing accountability, PBM reform, and preservation of local pharmacy access.
drugs  economics  gov2.0  PBM  pharmacy  politics  state 
6 weeks ago by rgl7194
California Requires Trump Tax Returns Under New Election Law - The New York Times
LOS ANGELES — President Trump will not be eligible for California’s primary ballot unless he releases his tax returns, under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday.
The law requires that all presidential candidates release their tax returns in order to be placed on the ballot for the state’s primary next year, in a move that will almost certainly lead to legal challenges. Mr. Newsom’s decision to sign the legislation seemed designed to escalate a running feud between the White House and California.
The state is currently involved in more than 40 lawsuits with the Trump administration on issues ranging from environmental regulation to immigration.
The California State Legislature approved a similar measure in 2017, but Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it, questioning whether it was constitutional. Mr. Brown, who left office in January, also said it would create a precedent for requiring other information — including medical records or certified birth certificates — from candidates.
gov2.0  politics  election  2020s  taxes  california  trump  state  nytimes 
6 weeks ago by rgl7194
Trump’s tax returns required under new California election law - Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO —  President Trump will be ineligible for California’s primary ballot next year unless he discloses his tax returns under a state law that took effect immediately Tuesday, an unprecedented mandate that is almost certain to spark a high-profile court fight and might encourage other states to adopt their own unconventional rules for presidential candidates.
The law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on the final day he could take action after it passed on a strict party-line vote in the Legislature earlier this month, requires all presidential candidates to submit five years of income tax filings. They must do so by late November to secure a spot on California’s presidential primary ballot in March. State elections officials will post the financial documents online, although certain private information must first be redacted.
gov2.0  politics  election  2020s  taxes  california  trump  state  latimes 
6 weeks ago by rgl7194
Drug makers to pay $70 million over deals to keep cheap generics off the market | Ars Technica
The settlements will also bar the companies from entering into similar deals.
With four settlement agreements, the state of California will get nearly $70 million from pharmaceutical companies that allegedly cut illegal deals to keep affordable generic drugs off the market, shielding pricey brand-name products from competition.
The settlements also include injunctions that temporarily prevent the drug makers from entering into such “pay-for-delay.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra argued that the deals violate antitrust laws and can lead consumers to pay as much as 90% more for prescription drugs.
“These dark, illegal, collusive agreements that drug companies devise not only choke off price competition but burden our families and patients—they force every Californian to shoulder higher prices for lifesaving medication. It’s nothing less than playing with people’s lives,” Becerra said in a statement.
The three companies involved—Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Teikoku Pharma—deny that the deals are illegal and that they harmed consumers.
The four settlements involve two drugs: Provigil (a treatment for narcolepsy and other sleep disorders) and Lidoderm (a prescription patch for shingles).
big_pharma  state  gov2.0  legal  money  drugs  california  pharmacy  generic 
6 weeks ago by rgl7194
Home - Side Effects
The Dispatch has spent the past year uncovering how PBMs operate in Ohio and the rest of the country. Here's what you need to know from our investigation.
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) - little-known middlemen in the supply chain that gets prescription drugs from manufacturers to consumers - receive hundreds of millions from Ohio taxpayers via the state’s Medicaid program.
A state-sponsored study conducted after several weeks of Dispatch stories found the PBMs are charging Ohioans 3 to 6 times the normal rate - costing taxpayers an extra $150 million to $186 million a year.
The PBMs use “spread pricing,” meaning they get about $225 million more a year from the state than they reimburse pharmacies for drugs used by Ohio’s poor and disabled.
At the same time the payments to pharmacies were being cut by the PBMs, the parent company of one of them, CVS, sent out letters to pharmacy owners sympathizing with their financial woes and offering to buy them out. This occurred in several states.
PBMs cut the reimbursement rate so much for Suboxone that many pharmacies were forced to stop stocking the drug used by numerous Ohio addicts in recovery.
The Medicaid official who was in charge of dealing with pharmacists who complained about low reimbursements from CVS’s PBM was at the same time, she was a part-time pharmacist with CVS Pharmacy. While still on the job at Medicaid, she negotiated a new job with CVS Caremark, the company whose reimbursements Ohio pharmacists were complaining about.
Ohio Medicaid officials don’t want to follow the example of West Virginia, which eliminated PBMs and saved $38 million, saying it would actually cost the Buckeye State more. Medicaid also is not following the example of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation revamp of its prescription drug setup, with one BWC official saying “we were being hosed” under the previous deal.
The city of Columbus wound up doling out $8,000 a prescription for a pain cream that drug salespeople marketed as “free” to individual members of safety forces.
People diagnosed with cancer sometimes must wait weeks to get medication because PBMs required it to be provided by their company’s own mail-order facility, instead of having the patient get it down the hall in the same facility where they were diagnosed.
Rebates drive up the cost of prescription drugs, although their exact impact is cloaked.
A state proposal to provide HIV drugs seems to have been written so that only CVS could get it
The proposed merger between CVS and health-insurance giant Aetna would further consolidate the health-care market and, analysts say, drive up prices for consumers.
drugs  economics  gov2.0  PBM  pharmacy  politics  state  news 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
Attorney General Dave Yost seeking $16 million repayment from pharmacy middleman OptumRx - Side Effects
After nearly a year of investigating, Ohio is taking its first steps to recover money from pharmacy middlemen who do billions of dollars worth of business with state agencies.
Attorney General Dave Yost announced Tuesday that he is seeking repayment of nearly $16 million paid to pharmacy-benefit manager OptumRx by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. Yost intends to take OptumRx to nonbinding mediation, saying the company has overcharged the bureau since 2015. Such mediation is required under the contract between the bureau and OptumRx. If it fails, the dispute presumably will be taken to court.
"The state of Ohio and the BWC consider these matters of public significance and have calculated the following overcharges attributable to OptumRx's failure to adhere to agreed discounts on generic drugs. ..." says a copy of Yost's Feb. 11 letter to OptumRx that was obtained by The Dispatch.
As part of its Side Effects investigation into pharmacy benefit managers, The Dispatch reported in May that the Bureau of Workers' Compensation had performed an analysis of its prescription-drug spending and, in the words of former BWC pharmacy program manager John Hanna, "discovered we were being hosed."
drugs  economics  gov2.0  PBM  pharmacy  politics  state 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
State budget dumps current PBMs, gives pharmacists $100M - News - The Columbus Dispatch - Columbus, OH
Ohio House and Senate leaders have agreed on a plan to add transparency and give the state unprecedented control over of Medicaid pharmacy benefits while slashing the authority of private managed care companies and the pharmacy middlemen they hire.
The agreement, which will be announced today as part of the state’s two-year budget deal, directs the Department of Medicaid to cut out the managed care plans and contract directly with a single pharmacy benefit manager, or PBM, to administer drug benefits for poor, blind and disabled Ohioans.
That PBM would be required to report regularly to the state how much it pays for drugs, how much it pays pharmacies to dispense medications and other financial details.
The agreement also would provide $100 million for pharmacies, targeting those with the highest shares of Medicaid business in an effort to make up for low reimbursements that have forced many to close in recent years.
drugs  economics  gov2.0  PBM  pharmacy  politics  state 
8 weeks ago by rgl7194
US government announces nationwide crackdown on robocallers - CNN
Washington (CNN Business)The US government announced a nationwide crackdown on illegal robocalls on Tuesday, targeting companies and individuals who have collectively placed over 1 billion unwanted calls for financial schemes and other services, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The crackdown involves nearly 100 cases, five of which are criminal enforcement actions. They were brought by the FTC, Justice Department, 15 states and a slew of local authorities.
It marks the latest effort by regulators to battle back the tide of unwanted and illegal calls from telemarketers and scammers.
Some of those targeted by the action were a major source of robocalls. Derek Jason Bartoli, a Florida man who allegedly developed, sold and used a form of software that allows millions of calls to be placed in quick succession, was responsible for 57 million calls to US phone numbers over six months in 2017, according to a federal complaint.
"By putting people like Derek Bartoli out of business, we are able to deprive the robocallers of the important tools of their trade," said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, in a press conference Tuesday.
The joint action includes the states of Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
gov2.0  robocalls  scam  state  telemarketing 
11 weeks ago by rgl7194
Thomas Hofeller’s secret gerrymandering files are a nightmare for the GOP.
In February, attorneys challenging North Carolina’s legislative gerrymander notified the defendants, a group of Republican leaders in the legislature, that they’d issued a subpoena. The lawyers had asked Stephanie Hofeller Lizon to provide “any storage device” containing redistricting-related documents left by her estranged father, Thomas Hofeller, a Republican consultant who specialized in gerrymandering. Republican legislators did not object, and Lizon turned over the requested materials: 18 thumb drives and four hard drives containing more than 75,000 files—many related to her father’s consulting work. The voting rights attorneys had uncovered a vast trove of information exposing the inner workings of GOP gerrymandering across the country.
Upon learning what their opponents had obtained, attorneys for Republican lawmakers went to court to try to seize the files. But it was too late. Voting rights advocates had lawfully acquired the materials, even after having given Republicans a chance to object. And on Thursday, they dropped the first bombshell from Hofeller’s hard drives: A key portion of a 2015 memo written by Hofeller appeared in a draft Justice Department letter used to justify the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the census. Hofeller’s memo, which explains why the citizenship question would boost the voting power of “Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites,” indicates that administration officials lied about the reason for adding the question.
gov2.0  politics  election  voting  gerrymandering  state 
june 2019 by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Pete for America's Design Toolkit
South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2020 has gotten a lot of attention in recent weeks. I’m not yet picking a favorite in the race, but he’s certainly a compelling candidate, and an openly gay major party candidate is a first worth celebrating.
What I seek to direct your attention to today, however, is unrelated to politics or policy. It’s this branding site put together by his campaign. This is strong identity work. Just check out these per-state graphics, each of them hand-lettered with full credit given to the artists. This work is distinctive, attractive, and strikes me as pitch-perfect for Buttigieg’s personality and tone. It fits, which is a very hard thing to get right.
gov2.0  politics  election  2020s  design  fonts  state  daring_fireball 
may 2019 by rgl7194
Trump Can't Stonewall Much Longer - The Atlantic
The dike is sprouting more leaks than the president has fingers with which to plug the expanding trickles.
To date, the cover-up has worked about as well as President Donald Trump could have hoped.
Almost four years after Trump declared his campaign for the presidency, and more than 30 months since he won that office, he has successfully kept secret almost all the things he wished to keep secret. How much debt does he owe, and to whom? How much of his income derives from people who do business with the U.S. government? How much of his income derives from foreign sources? Who are his business partners, and do any of them present ethical or national-security concerns?
These basics of post-Watergate official disclosure have all been suppressed.
Incredibly, even after the delivery of the Mueller report, the American people still have only the haziest idea of Trump's business connections to Russia and Russians. Do those connections cast any light on why the Russian government was so eager to elect him president in 2016? Perhaps that information is held somewhere within the Department of Justice or the FBI, but citizens and taxpayers can only guess.
congress  conspiracy  corruption  gov2.0  legal  politics  state  taxes  trump 
may 2019 by rgl7194
U.S. Counties Vary by Their Degree of Partisan Prejudice - The Atlantic
A guide to the most—and least—politically open-minded counties in America
Editor’s note: The maps in this article have been corrected to address problems with two entries in the underlying data. People searching for some counties were shown different counties, and some saw information that didn’t match the county they’d searched for.
We know that americans have become more biased against one another based on partisan affiliation over the past several decades. Most of us now discriminate against members of the other political side explicitly and implicitly—in hiring, dating, and marriage, as well as judgments of patriotism, compassion, and even physical attractiveness, according to recent research.
But we don’t know how this kind of stereotyping varies from place to place. Are there communities in America that are more or less politically forgiving than average? And if so, what can we learn from the outliers?
To find out, The Atlantic asked PredictWise, a polling and analytics firm, to create a ranking of counties in the U.S. based on partisan prejudice (or what researchers call “affective polarization”). The result was surprising in several ways. First, while virtually all Americans have been exposed to hyper-partisan politicians, social-media echo chambers, and clickbait headlines, we found significant variations in Americans’ political ill will from place to place, regardless of party.
politics  visualization  maps  state  prejudice 
may 2019 by rgl7194
Foxconn says empty buildings in Wisconsin are not empty - The Verge
While announcing another empty building
Well, here we are again.
Earlier this week, The Verge published a lengthy investigation into the many “innovation centers” Foxconn has announced in Wisconsin as part of its deal with President Trump to build a (status unknown) LCD manufacturing plant in the state. After spending 10 days on the ground, we simply reported the obvious: most of the “innovation centers” are empty, some of the buildings were never actually purchased, and no one in Wisconsin really seems to know what’s going on.
Today, Foxconn responded to that piece by... announcing another innovation center in Wisconsin, this one in Madison, the state’s capital. The building, which currently houses a bank, actually sits directly across the street from the Capitol building, and it will continue to house the bank because Foxconn did not announce when it would be moving in.
Here are some other things Foxconn did not announce: how much it had paid for the building, how many floors of the building it would occupy, how many people would work there, or what those people would be doing.
It did announce that it would be rebranding the building “Foxconn Place Madison,” however.
gov2.0  politics  state  business  technology  scam 
april 2019 by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: 'Foxconn Says Empty Buildings in Wisconsin Are Not Empty'
Nilay Patel, on Foxconn’s response to The Verge’s investigation into their Wisconsin scam:
Today, Foxconn responded to that piece by… announcing another innovation center in Wisconsin, this one in Madison, the state’s capital. The building, which currently houses a bank, actually sits directly across the street from the Capitol building, and it will continue to house the bank because Foxconn did not announce when it would be moving in.
Here are some other things Foxconn did not announce: how much it had paid for the building, how many floors of the building it would occupy, how many people would work there, or what those people would be doing.
It did announce that it would be rebranding the building “Foxconn Place Madison,” however.
It’s like Foxconn is a stage magician, and Wisconsin paid $4.5 billion to see an elephant disappear from the stage. But two years later, there still is no elephant, it seems ever more clear that they never had any intention of even showing an elephant, let alone making it disappear, and now that people are calling them on it, they’re like, “We are definitely going to make an elephant disappear from this stage, but hey — how about a card trick?”
gov2.0  politics  state  business  technology  scam  daring_fireball 
april 2019 by rgl7194
Foxconn is confusing the hell out of Wisconsin - The Verge
Last summer, Foxconn announced a barrage of new projects in Wisconsin — so we went looking for them
It was summer in Wisconsin, and Foxconn seemed to be everywhere. But also: nowhere at all.
Starting last June, officials with the Taiwanese tech manufacturing giant began popping up in all corners of the state and announcing new projects. It had been almost a year since then-Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) offered the company a subsidy package that came to total $4.5 billion. Both Walker, who was in the midst of a reelection campaign, and Foxconn, which had just confirmed that it would build a far smaller factory than it had initially promised, seemed eager to make a good impression.
First, there was Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, announcing a new headquarters and “innovation center” in Milwaukee. Days later, Gou was standing in a field 40 minutes south in Mount Pleasant, digging gold shovels into the dirt with Walker, Paul Ryan, and President Trump, who declared Foxconn’s factory the “eighth wonder of the world.” Then it was off to Green Bay, where Foxconn announced another innovation center, and then Eau Claire, where Foxconn announced two more — a full “technology hub.”
Next came a $100 million gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a venture fund, and competitions to design the innovation centers, with fast turnarounds — just two weeks to submit proposals — and plans to open in just months. As summer turned to fall, Foxconn kept going: an innovation center for Racine, and another groundbreaking, for a Foxconn expansion at a nearby technical college. More branded ball caps, more gold shovels. One observer quipped that Foxconn had created jobs in the Wisconsin events business, at least.
Then the announcements stopped.
gov2.0  politics  state  business  technology  scam 
april 2019 by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: The Verge Digs Into Foxconn's Wisconsin Con Job
In-depth investigation by Josh Dzieza for The Verge:
The secrecy and vagueness are frustrating to critics. How do you prove that Foxconn won’t build an enormous LCD factory during an industry glut or create a research campus larger than MIT in rural Wisconsin other than by pointing out that experts — and even, occasionally, Foxconn executives — say it makes no sense?
State House Minority Leader Gordon Hintz recently appointed himself to the board of WEDC, and Foxconn’s continued promises of 13,000 jobs make him palpably furious. Speaking in slow, measured tones in his Madison office as he packed for a trip, he said the state needs to “right-size” the project to something realistic, likely a few hundred research jobs, and that Foxconn needs to be honest about its plans. “For something that had a 25-year payback, building a factory because the president wants you to for reasons that have nothing to do with market viability is insane.”
Hintz believes Foxconn is trying to slow-walk the project until 2020, continuing to use it to win Trump’s goodwill in the trade war and waiting to see who’s elected.
Foxconn scammed Republican officials, pure and simple — local, state, and federal. The LCD factory that President Trump declared “the eighth wonder of the world” still doesn’t exist and likely never will. It’s a scam Foxconn has played around the globe.
gov2.0  politics  state  business  technology  scam  daring_fireball 
april 2019 by rgl7194
The Winner-Take-All Electoral College Isn't In the Constitution - Electoral Vote Map
Many who dislike the winner-take-all Electoral College argue that its bias toward small states is unfair.
That’s because each state is awarded electoral votes based on the number of representatives it has in the House, which is roughly proportionate to its population, plus the number of U.S. Senators, which is the same for all states. That means of the 538 total electoral votes, 81% are awarded by population while 19% are awarded equally.
Nate Cohn explains the circumstances where this modest bias can prove decisive:
A near Electoral College tie, as in 2000. After falling short in Florida, Al Gore lost to George W. Bush by five electoral votes, less than the net 18 votes Mr. Bush gained from small-state bias. But for perspective, that’s the only Electoral College outcome since 1876 that was within the 20 or so electoral-vote margin for the small-state bias to matter.
But this small-state bias actually had little to do with Donald Trump’s win in the 2016 election. Trump actually won seven of the 10 largest states, and Hillary Clinton won seven of the 12 smallest states. Overall, the bias towards smaller states only cost Clinton about four votes, which was not enough to change the outcome of the election.
Instead, a more important bias comes from the (mostly) winner-take-all Electoral College and how states award their votes to each candidate.
gov2.0  politics  election  voting  state 
april 2019 by rgl7194
California Sanctuary Law Upheld By Federal Appeals Court : NPR
A federal appeals panel has upheld California's controversial "sanctuary state" law, ruling that the measure does not impede the enforcement of federal immigration laws in that state.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a unanimous decision, found that the state law, known as SB 54, limiting cooperation between state and local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities does not conflict with federal law.
The judges said they "have no doubt that SB 54 makes the jobs of federal immigration authorities more difficult." But "California has the right ... to refrain from assisting with federal efforts."
The decision upholds a lower court ruling issued in July 2018.
The Trump administration had sued California in March 2018, arguing the Constitution gives the federal government sweeping authority over immigration matters. The administration also had challenged two other state laws. One, AB 450, requires employers to alert employees before federal immigration inspections. The other, AB 103, gives the California attorney general the authority to inspect immigration detention facilities.
The appeals panel upheld both of those laws, although it blocked a subsection of the inspection law that gave state authorities jurisdiction to examine the circumstances surrounding the apprehension and transfer of immigrant detainees.
gov2.0  politics  california  legal  immigration  sanctuary  state 
april 2019 by rgl7194
Alabama tornadoes: Trump vows 'A plus treatment' for Alabama, but not California or Puerto Rico - The Washington Post
After the deadliest outbreak of tornadoes in years swept through the South, killing more than 20 people and wreaking devastation in Alabama, President Trump promised on Twitter that the disaster relief would be swift, the best his administration could muster — “A Plus treatment” for a state in dire need.
“FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes,” Trump wrote Monday, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s relief efforts.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R), who said she spoke to Trump, thanked him for the support.
But elsewhere — in corners of the country also hard-hit by natural catastrophes — some leaders may have privately wondered: What about us?
Trump’s enthusiastic assurance that Alabama would get top-flight help contrasts sharply with his barbed rhetoric following horrific wildfires in California and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, when he repeatedly threatened to cut off federal aid and picked fights with local politicians, in one instance calling the mayor of San Juan “totally incompetent."
gov2.0  politics  trump  state  disaster  SMH  emergency 
march 2019 by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Trump Vows 'A-Plus Treatment' for Alabama
One more item on the state of Trump’s kakistocracy. Reis Thebault, writing for The Washington Post:
“FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes,” Trump wrote Monday, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s relief efforts. […]
Trump’s enthusiastic assurance that Alabama would get top-flight help contrasts sharply with his barbed rhetoric following horrific wildfires in California and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, when he repeatedly threatened to cut off federal aid and picked fights with local politicians, in one instance calling the mayor of San Juan “totally incompetent.”
The difference between Alabama and Puerto Rico and California, the president’s critics say, is obvious.
“The president really treats differently those people who have supported him in the past and those people who haven’t,” Brian Ott, a rhetoric professor at Texas Tech University, told The Washington Post. “Not all lives are equal in the eyes of the president. … The lives of red states matter, and the lives of blue states don’t.”
It’s one outrage after another with this administration, I know. A non-stop barrage on our collective sense of normalcy and decency. But it’s worth taking a moment here to ponder just how morally bankrupt Trump is to see emergency disaster relief as a reward to be doled out based on his perceived political support among those affected.
gov2.0  politics  trump  state  disaster  SMH  daring_fireball  emergency 
march 2019 by rgl7194
Central figure in North Carolina absentee ballot fraud indicted on multiple counts
McCrae Dowless is charged with felonious obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit federal obstruction of justice and possession of absentee ballots.
WASHINGTON — Leslie McCrae Dowless, the political operative alleged to have run an illegal absentee ballot-gathering operation on behalf of GOP congressional candidate Mark Harris in 2018, was indicted on multiple criminal charges Wednesday by a Wake County grand jury.
The indictment states that he is charged with three counts of felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit federal obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of absentee ballots.
The charges are the latest development in an absentee ballot operation run by Dowless that led to the results being thrown out in the ninth Congressional district elections as well as two other local races. Dowless was hired by Harris to run a get-out-the vote effort in the 2018 midterm election in two rural counties in the southeastern part of the state.
The indictment comes just days after the North Carolina Board of Elections unanimously voted to hold a new election in the race because of the taint the controversy has placed on the election.
The indictment spans two election cycles, however. Three of the charges are from the 2018 election and four of the charges are from the 2016 election.
election  gov2.0  politics  state 
february 2019 by rgl7194
North Carolina election fraud: Leslie McRae Dowless indicted - Vox
The bizarre election fraud scandal in North Carolina, explained
North Carolina state investigators laid out in detail last week an “unlawful,” “coordinated,” and well-funded plot to tamper with absentee ballots in a US House election that remains uncalled more than three months after Election Day — finally bringing clarity to one of the most bizarre election scandals in recent memory.
The state election board, after hearing four days of evidence indicating fraud and an attempt to conceal the scheme from state investigators, then voted to order a new election. Republican candidate Mark Harris has announced he won’t run in the upcoming campaign.
Now Leslie McCrae Dowless, the local political operative contracted by Harris’s campaign whose activities were at the center of the investigation, has been indicted on three counts of obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, and two counts of possessing an absentee ballot in violation of state law, according to the Wake County prosecutor’s office.
During last week’s hearing, state investigators established their theory of the case — that Dowless directed a coordinated scheme to unlawfully collect, falsely witness, and otherwise tamper with absentee ballots — and workers who said they had assisted him in the scheme delivered damning testimony. The hearing’s first day ended with Dowless, under the advice of his attorney, refusing to testify before the election board.
In the following days, a top political consultant for Harris’s campaign and the candidate’s own son gave remarkable testimony of their own about the decision to hire Dowless. The consultant, Andy Yates, and John Harris both insisted Harris did not know what Dowless was doing and proved too trusting about the operative’s claims. Yet John Harris did say he warned his father that Dowless’s prior work on absentee ballots seemed like it could be illegal, a warning that went unheeded by the candidate. As his son closed his testimony with a few kind remarks about his parents, Mark Harris was in tears.
The proceedings lasted four days, with Harris taking the stand on the final day.
gov2.0  politics  election  state 
february 2019 by rgl7194
Board Orders New Election in Fraud-Tainted NC-9 Race - The Atlantic
A House election tainted by fraud gets its inevitable do-over.
The decision came after a dramatic day, during a dramatic hearing, in a dramatic race. North Carolina election officials on Thursday ordered a new election in the state’s fraud-tainted Ninth Congressional District, the only 2018 U.S. House race that still doesn’t have a winner.
The contest between the Republican Mark Harris and the Democrat Dan McCready appeared to have been decided, albeit by a small margin, in Harris’s favor on Election Night. Now voters will remain without congressional representation until a new election is held, following shocking revelations of a brazen scheme to break the law and swing the election using absentee ballots.
The hearing, originally scheduled to last one day, was well into its fourth when Harris abruptly called for a new election. “Through the testimony I’ve listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called,” he said. “It has become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the Ninth District–seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.”
A short time later, the State Board of Elections unanimously signaled its agreement, voting to order the new race.
gov2.0  politics  election  state 
february 2019 by rgl7194
New Election Ordered in NC 9th House District - Bloomberg
Decision follows evidence of fraud with absentee ballots
Re-vote will include new primaries according to state law
The North Carolina elections board ordered a new vote in a U.S House district because of evidence that the results in November were tainted by fraud.
The ruling came on the fourth day of the board’s hearing to investigate allegations of absentee voter fraud orchestrated by a political operative on GOP candidate Mark Harris’s payroll during last year’s midterm election. Harris held a 905-vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready in the unofficial tally that a previous election board declined to certify.
Harris on Thursday abruptly reversed his earlier request that the November result be certified, instead urging a new election. At the end of his testimony, Harris said medical issues he experienced last month affected his recollection of events.
“It’s become clear to me that the public’s confidence in the 9th district seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted,” Harris told the board. "Through the testimony I’ve listened to over the past three days, I believe a new election should be called.”
The election board, which voted unanimously for a new election, includes three Democrats and two Republicans that Democratic Governor Roy Cooper appointed last month after state judges declined to extend the previous board’s mandate.
gov2.0  politics  election  state 
february 2019 by rgl7194
North Carolina Is Getting A Do-Over Election | FiveThirtyEight
Here’s what we know so far.
After months of investigations and media reports into possible absentee-ballot fraud, we finally have a decision in the disputed election in the North Carolina 9th Congressional District: There will be a new election. This will be the first time that a congressional election has been redone since 1975.
On Thursday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections voted 5-0 to hold a do-over election after hearing evidence that an illegal absentee-ballot scheme cast doubt on the outcome of the original election — which Republican Mark Harris initially appeared to have won by just 905 votes.
Under current law, the 9th District will have to host both a new primary and a new general election.1 It’s still unknown when the new election will be held, but the campaign could take as long as five months from start to finish.2 In one possible timeline, a primary would be held over the summer, a potential runoff would be scheduled for September and the general election would be in November.
gov2.0  politics  election  state  538 
february 2019 by rgl7194
When Tax Cuts Failed - YouTube
The Atlantic
Published on Apr 17, 2018
In 2012, Kansas passed one of the largest income tax cuts in the state’s history. Today, it serves as a cautionary tale. Read more: https://www.theatlantic.com/video/ind...
This film was directed by Melinda Shopsin and produced by ITVS Independent Lens. It is part of The Atlantic Selects, an online showcase of short documentaries from independent creators, curated by The Atlantic.
News & Politics
gov2.0  politics  state  taxes  economics  documentary  youtube 
february 2019 by rgl7194
Brownback's Failed Tax Cut Experiment in Kansas - The Atlantic - The Atlantic
In May 2012, all eyes were on Kansas as its former governor, Republican Sam Brownback, signed into law “the nation’s most aggressive experiment in conservative economic policy,” as Russell Berman wrote in The Atlantic. Kansas Senate Bill HB 2117 was one of the largest income tax cuts in the state’s history, entirely eliminating income taxes for the owners of nearly 200,000 pass-through businesses and decreasing taxes by 25% for the highest income rates. Brownback compared his fiscal policies with Reaganomics and promised a “prosperous future” for Kansas. He argued the cuts would pay for themselves by creating jobs and boosting the state’s economy.
It didn’t happen. The cuts threatened the viability of Kansas’s schools and infrastructure; in the first year they were implemented, they resulted in a $700 million revenue loss for the state. In 2017, the Kansas legislature voted overwhelmingly to restore the state’s tax rates.
A new documentary from ITVS Independent Lens investigates the legacy of the bill through the eyes of Kansas taxpayers. Director Melinda Shopsin traversed the state and interviewed anyone who would talk to her, including people at a local BINGO night, schoolteachers, farmers, small business owners, and employees at a hospital and a zoo. “Our focus was to talk to regular Kansans and get away from the divisive political rhetoric that seemed to be a hallmark of reporting on the tax experiment,” Shopsin told The Atlantic. “We wanted to hear from taxpayers what the policy had meant for them, so we just tried to put ourselves in ordinary places in Kansas where we would meet people.”
gov2.0  politics  state  taxes  economics  documentary  video 
february 2019 by rgl7194
An Anti-racist Syllabus for Governor Ralph Northam - The Atlantic
If he won’t step down, the governor will need this anti-racist syllabus.
In the years before he became Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam apparently chose not to read books in which blackface was present. “I used just a little bit of shoe polish to put under my—or on my—cheeks,” he said about the day he impersonated Michael Jackson in blackface. “I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that.”
Now, as governor, Northam is choosing not to heed calls for his resignation. He is denying he’s pictured on his medical-school yearbook page in blackface or in a Ku Klux Klan outfit above the notation of his alma mater, his interests in pediatrics, and his quote advocating having “another beer.”
Is Northam, then and now, two sides of the same blackfaced white man affronting African Americans? He wants to be seen another way.
“Now that he knows better, he is going to do better,” a Northam adviser told BuzzFeed.
He is being presented as another white American awakening to the pervasiveness of racism and his role in sustaining it. His advisers are giving him a reading list that includes Roots by Alex Haley and “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. And they say he has started reading.
racism  politics  gov2.0  reading  books  state 
february 2019 by rgl7194
Where Government Is a Dirty Word, but Its Checks Pay the Bills - The New York Times
The residents of Harlan County, Ky., depend heavily on federal assistance. That hasn’t deterred, and may explain, their swing to Republican voting.
HARLAN, Ky. — Gov. Matt Bevin skillfully worked the room at the old courthouse building here in Harlan, one more town-hall meeting in the long campaign toward next year’s election. He deplored the parlous state of a half-mile stretch of U.S. 421 and said $802,000 would be spent to rebuild it. He commiserated with the man who wanted to know how he should deal with the bears tearing through his trash bins, now that it’s forbidden to shoot them.
The line that got the governor a standing ovation, however, was about Medicaid. More precisely, about his plan — so far frustrated by the courts — to require thousands of able-bodied Medicaid recipients between 19 and 64 to work, get training or perform community service for 20 hours a week to keep their health insurance.
“Yeahs” rippled across the room as the governor extolled the value and dignity of work, which propelled him from a hardscrabble youth in rural New Hampshire to the governor’s mansion in Frankfort. “People tell me it’s too much to ask,” he noted, incredulously, about his plan to demand that people on Medicaid get a job. “Baloney.”
And the line from Ronald Reagan got chuckles all around: “The worst thing you can hear,” the governor told Harlan’s gathered residents, is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
gov2.0  politics  GOP  state  welfare  nytimes  medicaid  rural 
january 2019 by rgl7194
Here's How to Fix the Senate - The Atlantic
In 1995, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan declared, “Sometime in the next century the United States is going to have to address the question of apportionment in the Senate.” Perhaps that time has come. Today the voting power of a citizen in Wyoming, the smallest state in terms of population, is about 67 times that of a citizen in the largest state of California, and the disparities among the states are only increasing. The situation is untenable.
Pundits, professors, and policy makers have advanced various solutions. Burt Neuborne of NYU has argued in The Wall Street Journal that the best way forward is to break up large states into smaller ones. Akhil Amar of Yale Law School has suggested a national referendum to reform the Senate. The retired congressman John Dingell asserted here in The Atlantic that the Senate should simply be abolished.
There’s a better, more elegant, constitutional way out. Let’s allocate one seat to each state automatically to preserve federalism, but apportion the rest based on population. Here’s how.
congress  gov2.0  politics  state 
january 2019 by rgl7194
California Dominates Among House Democrats. What Does That Mean For The Next Congress? | FiveThirtyEight
California is huge — it has 39.5 million residents, making it the largest state in the U.S. by population. As a result, it has by far the most House members — 53 in total. Texas, by comparison, is the second-most-populous state and only has 36 representatives. So it’s not necessarily surprising that California is sending more Democrats to Congress than is any other state — 46 Democratic representatives in the new Congress will be from California. Still, since the end of World War II, the House’s majority party has never had this large a share of its membership come from a single state.
The state that had the most members in a party’s caucus in a given year has always, of course, been one of the more populous states, like New York, Pennsylvania or Texas. But those large states hold a bigger share of the caucus when they’re dominated by a single party, like California is now. For instance, in the 1946 election, Texas elected Democrats to all 21 of its House seats, which amounted to 11 percent of all House Democrats; the party was in the minority that year after a GOP wave. And New York, which had the most representatives before California took over, sometimes had more seats than any other state in both parties’ caucuses, as it did in 1948 and 1960. Back when California was less of a single-party state, it occasionally pulled off the same feat, including as recently as 2006, when it led the Democratic caucus and tied Texas for the lead in the GOP caucus.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  california  538  Dems 
december 2018 by rgl7194
Jerry Brown wraps a 5-decade history in California politics | PBS NewsHour
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It was a matter of life and death in 2015 when California Gov. Jerry Brown pondered an assisted suicide bill granting terminally ill people the right to choose when they die.
After much speculation, Brown signed the measure, a victory for “death with dignity” advocates and a blow to the Catholic Church, which vigorously opposed it. Brown, who once considered becoming a priest, added to his signature a five-paragraph statement outlining how he made his decision: He sought contradicting perspectives from the church, families of the terminally ill, his friends and doctors. And he pondered his own existence.
“I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill,” Brown wrote. “And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”
Brown, who leaves office Jan. 7, has signed thousands of bills, but this one stands out to Dana Williamson, Brown’s cabinet secretary at the time.
“His ability to articulate his deliberations and why he landed the way he did — to me that’s quintessential Jerry Brown,” she said.
gov2.0  politics  state  california  Dems 
december 2018 by rgl7194
Jerry Brown's Tours Bookend California's Modern History - The Atlantic
After disparate tours in which he served as California’s youngest and oldest governor, Brown never lost his quirky asceticism.
LOS ANGELES—When Jerry Brown first took the oath as governor of California on January 6, 1975, he succeeded Ronald Reagan, who was still six years away from the White House. Gerald Ford was president, Paul VI was pope, the Watergate conspirators John Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman, and John Ehrlichman had just been convicted, the Khmer Rouge was beginning its bloody rise to power in Cambodia, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at around 600 points, and Bradley Cooper had been born the day before.
It is no exaggeration to say that Brown’s tenure as governor of the Golden State—two disparate tours, separated by nearly 30 years, four terms and16 years in all—bookends virtually the entire modern history of California. He is both the youngest and oldest man in modern times to preside over his state, and five years ago he surpassed Earl Warren’s tenure as the longest-serving California governor. He leaves office next month, at 80, at the top of his game, California’s once-depleted coffers bursting with surplus, his flaky youthful reputation as “Governor Moonbeam” long since supplanted by his stature as perhaps the most successful politician in contemporary America.
gov2.0  politics  state  california  Dems 
december 2018 by rgl7194
North Carolina 9th District voter fraud scandal: new evidence emerges - Vox
The Republican candidate who won in November likely won’t be seated before an official hearing in January.
The new Congress will be seated in a matter of days — but it is almost certain that the seat from the North Carolina Ninth Congressional District will be left empty, as more evidence of a brazen vote-tampering scheme piles up.
The bipartisan state elections board has refused to certify the results of Republican Mark Harris’s win and instead set a hearing on the election fraud scandal for January 11, a week after new members are sworn in.
Harris beat Democrat Dan McCready by roughly 900 votes on Election Day. But those results have been marred by explosive allegations that an operative working for the Harris campaign collected, tampered with or even destroyed absentee ballots. The alleged plot is now the subject of a state inquiry; the findings of the state investigation will be presented at the hearing next month.
Depending on the outcome, a new election could be called. The state board has broad discretion under state law to call a new election if the basic fairness of the November vote is in doubt. The number of ballots in question notably does not need to exceed the margin between Harris and McCready.
gov2.0  politics  election  fraud  congress  state 
december 2018 by rgl7194
Courts likely to strike down Republican lame-duck power grabs, experts say | US news | The Guardian
After Democrats won governor’s races in Wisconsin and Michigan, GOP-controlled legislatures have tried to limit executive power
Republicans in Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina suffered stinging losses in November, but the parties aren’t transferring power quietly, or at all in some cases. On the way out the door, “lame-duck” state legislatures are bringing in last-minute laws that will strip power from incoming Democrats, gut voter-approved ballot initiatives, or otherwise undermine the election results.
But some legal experts say the most alarming legislation the Republicans have passed is unconstitutional and unlikely to survive outraged Democrats’ legal challenges.
Among other issues, they contend many of the Republican laws blur the constitutionally mandated separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.
gov2.0  politics  GOP  state  election  legal 
december 2018 by rgl7194
GOP’s Scorched Earth Approach Makes a Mockery of Democracy - WhoWhatWhy
Instead of doing some soul-searching about why they got their clocks cleaned in last month’s midterm elections, Republicans across the country, in their latest democracy-defying stunt, are trying to overturn the will of voters — at least those voters they hadn’t already managed to disenfranchise.
It’s a pattern that should infuriate any American who cares at all about democracy.
After their big win in 2010, Republicans redrew state maps to make sure there would not be fair congressional elections for at least a decade.
After the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court decision in 2013, they passed a wide range of voter suppression laws to ensure there would not be any fair elections of any kind for as long as they were in charge.
And now, after all that was not enough to prevent Democrats from winning the House and flipping some governorships in key states, the GOP unveiled its latest anti-democracy trick: In a move that is reminiscent of two-bit banana republic dictators, Republicans in multiple swing states are trying to strip the incoming Democratic officeholders of important powers by making last-minute changes to election laws.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  voting  election  GOP  gerrymandering  rights  op-ed 
december 2018 by rgl7194
Bladen County Election Fraud and North Carolina Voter ID - The Atlantic
A congressional race in North Carolina suggests that the likeliest threats to the integrity of elections aren’t the ones that GOP lawmakers are addressing.
One early sign that something about McCrae Dowless wasn’t on the up-and-up came in November 2016.
With the race between North Carolina Republican Governor Pat McCrory and Democrat Roy Cooper down to a razor-thin margin, Republicans filed claims of voter fraud with county boards of election around the state. The GOP was aiming to delegitimize Cooper’s lead and to legitimize years of effort to overhaul voting laws to make them more restrictive, claiming serious fraud.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  voting  election  fraud  GOP 
december 2018 by rgl7194
The North Carolina Absentee Ballot Scandal - What Happened and When? - WhoWhatWhy
Nov. 6: Mark Harris (R) declares victory over Dan McCready (D) late on election night with a 2,000-vote lead and 99 percent of districts reporting.
Nov. 7: With all precincts reporting, McCready — facing a 1,900-vote deficit — concedes to Harris.
Nov. 12–16: Harris, along with other freshman legislators, attends orientation in Washington, DC.
Nov. 27: By this time Harris’s lead drops to 905 votes due to absentee ballots. The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE), which is composed of four Democrats, four Republicans, and one independent, agrees to delay certifying the race. Joshua Malcolm, a Democrat on the Board, only cites “unfortunate activities” as the reason behind the delay. Although the Republicans on the board object, all nine members unanimously vote to delay certification.
Nov. 28: It is revealed that immediately after the election, the NCSBE’s chief investigator, Joan Fleming, visited Elizabethtown in Bladen County to analyze voting records, including absentee-by-mail ballot request forms and their return addresses. Harris had won Bladen County by 1,557 votes.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  voting  election  fraud  GOP 
december 2018 by rgl7194
Best Antidote to Blue Wave? Gerrymandering - WhoWhatWhy
Democrats are poised to win the national popular vote in House races by about 8.4 percent while netting 40 House seats.
In 2010, Republicans won a whopping 63 House seats — despite winning the popular vote by only 6.6 percent.
How can Republicans win more seats while receiving fewer votes? One factor is gerrymandering.
North Carolina is a perfect example of the devastating and anti-democratic effects of gerrymandering. Of 13 districts, 12 were contested, meaning a Democrat and a Republican were both choices on the ballot. (There was one race — NC 3 — where Republican Walter Jones faced no Democratic challenger.)
Of those 12 contested races, Democrats won the vote share 51 percent to 47.7 percent. Despite winning a majority of the votes, Democrats only secured three of the 12 seats. Republicans held the other nine seats — with a minority of the vote.
gov2.0  politics  state  congress  gerrymandering 
december 2018 by rgl7194
In every state, the minimum wage is lower than what residents want, study says - The Washington Post
The United States has one of the lowest minimum wages of the world’s wealthy nations. It may come as no surprise, then, that minimum wage increases are popular with voters: An August 2016 Pew Research Center survey, for instance, found that 58 percent of Americans supported doubling the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15, with 41 percent opposed.
But Republicans in Congress have shown little interest in increasing the minimum wage in recent years. As a result, most minimum wage action now happens at the state level: In 2018 alone, minimum wage increases went into effect in at least 18 states.
But even at the state level, politicians aren’t particularly responsive to what voters want as the minimum wage. That’s been underscored in research published this month in the American Journal of Political Science and showing that in every state in the union, the minimum wage is well below what that state’s residents say they prefer.
gov2.0  politics  state  jobs  minimum_wage  economics 
december 2018 by rgl7194
How FiveThirtyEight’s 2018 Midterm Forecasts Did | FiveThirtyEight
On Nov. 5, the night before last month’s midterms, I got dinner with Sean Trende from RealClearPolitics. Over the years, Sean and I have learned to stare into the abyss and play out various “unthinkable” scenarios in our head. Sure, it was unlikely, but what if Republicans won the popular vote for the House, as a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted just before the election suggested? Or what if Democrats won it by about 15 percentage points, as a Los Angeles Times poll had it? What if polls were just so screwed up that there were a ton of upsets in both directions?
Instead, the election we wound up with was one where everything was quite … dare I say it? … predictable. Polls and forecasts, including FiveThirtyEight’s forecast, were highly accurate and did about as well as you could expect. So let’s go through how our forecast, in particular, performed: I’ll brag about what it got right, along with suggesting some areas where — despite our good top-line numbers — there’s potentially room to improve in 2020.
538  election  congress  state  statistics  review 
december 2018 by rgl7194
Jill Stein’s Legal Victory Helps Pull PA Out of Election Integrity Dark Ages - WhoWhatWhy
Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has forced Pennsylvania to take a big step toward more transparent and accountable elections.
Following the 2016 election, Stein sued the state over its use of paperless voting machines. This week, the two parties reached a settlement that will ensure that all voters will use paper ballots in 2020.
“I think it’s a major victory for Pennsylvania voters and a major step forward for election integrity in the country,” counsel for the plaintiffs Ilann M. Maazel of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP told WhoWhatWhy.
state  politics  voting  election  gov2.0  legal  technology 
december 2018 by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: California’s 2018 Wildfires Should Be a Turning Point on Climate Change
Mat Honan, writing at BuzzFeed:
2018 is the year when everyone, everyone, in the state ran from the fires or choked on the fumes. It is a before-and-after moment. In California, in mid-November of 2018, it became as clear as it did in New York in mid-September of 2001 that what was a once-distant threat has now arrived.
Climate change denialists — and thus the entire Republican party — have blood on their hands.
climate_change  gov2.0  politics  trump  GOP  disaster  daring_fireball  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Forget the Blue Wave — Americans Chose Democracy - WhoWhatWhy
The 2018 midterms were a mixed bag for democracy. On the one hand, Americans got a good look at the impact voter suppression can have on tight races — especially as a result of the focus on Georgia’s gubernatorial contest — and learned that the perpetrators of these policies are still getting away with it. On the other hand, voters across the country demonstrated an appetite for better democracy and more transparency.
While it is disheartening to witness voter suppression efforts succeed in the wake of the Shelby County V. Holder decision of the Roberts Supreme Court, what the midterms have shown overall is very encouraging. And parties, candidates, political groups and concerned individuals should take note: Strengthening election integrity laws is a winning message and the time to do so is now.
gov2.0  politics  election  voting  rights  gerrymandering  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Georgia Lawsuit May Allow Rare Glimpse Into Its Elections - WhoWhatWhy
A Way Into the ‘Black Box?’
The big-ticket races in Georgia, which drew national attention, have been decided — but the battle over the controversial way the state runs its elections rages on. A lawsuit contesting the outcome of the lieutenant governor’s race could provide a rare glimpse into the Peach State’s elections infrastructure and an opportunity to audit its non-transparent voting machines.
The lawsuit, filed by an election integrity group and three Georgia citizens Friday night, will attempt to prove that there were enough irregularities “as to place doubt in the result,” as state law requires for an election contest. At issue are unusual election results that the lawsuit says can only be explained by voting machine malfunctions. To prove that something is wrong, the plaintiffs will need to conduct detailed reviews of the internal memory and programming of DRE voting machines, a level of access that has never been allowed in Georgia.
gov2.0  politics  election  legal  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Can a Group of Scrappy Young Activists Build Real Progressive Power in Trump Country? | The Nation
Through a mix of “inclusive populism” and nonstop organizing, Lancaster Stands Up is betting it can reclaim its corner of Pennsylvania.
In January 2016, after nearly a decade of living in liberal cities on both coasts, Becca Rast returned home. Intuition told the 28-year-old organizer that it was time to kick-start a political renaissance in the small Pennsylvania city where she grew up.
“I felt increasingly annoyed at the sentiment that the place that I was from would always be conservative,” Rast says of Lancaster, her hometown. “I wanted to help redefine what politics looked like there.”
So along with her husband, Jonathan Smucker, the progressive organizer and author, Rast packed her bags, traveled for days, and finally rejoined her family and friends in so-called fly-over country.
politics  activism  gov2.0  state  Dems  trump  organizing 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Newly elected Republican senator could be Google’s fiercest critic | Ars Technica
There's growing appetite among Republicans for regulating big tech companies.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's defeat of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the 2018 midterm elections earlier this month was a big deal from almost any point of view. Missouri was a pivotal swing state in the battle for the Senate, and Hawley's victory helped Republicans expand their slim Senate majority.
But Hawley's victory is an ominous sign for one company in particular: Google. Hawley campaigned as an antagonist to big technology companies in general and Google in particular.
"We need to have a conversation in Missouri, and as a country, about the concentration of economic power," Hawley told Bloomberg back in March.
Last year, as Missouri's attorney general, Hawley launched a wide-ranging investigation into Google's business practices.
google  gov2.0  politics  congress  state  GOP 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Trump Warns That Florida Recount Could Set Dangerous Precedent of Person With Most Votes Winning
Satirist Andy Borowitz:
Calling for an “immediate end” to the recount in Florida, Donald J. Trump warned on Monday that it could set a dangerous precedent of the person with the most votes winning.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said that those in favor of the recount had a “sick obsession with finding out which candidate got the most votes.”
“Democrats are going on and on about counting every last vote until they find out who got the most,” Trump said. “Since when does getting the most votes mean you win?”
Under Trump, the line between satire and news is ever more blurred. The above is a more fair, more accurate description of Trump’s reaction to these close elections than anything in the supposedly straight news.
satire  politics  gov2.0  trump  election  state  congress  daring_fireball 
november 2018 by rgl7194
It's Time to Start Punishing Election Officials for Security and Privacy Violations - WhoWhatWhy
Following a week of often contentious and confusing recounts, it bears remembering that the US government made a conscious choice not to audit election-related systems — and that there are no plans to audit them in the future.
This hands-off attitude is like choosing to focus on who is kneeling before an NFL game rather than on who is routinely bribing the refs.
It’s not just the federal government that does not demand verifiable elections. On the state level, Georgia went to court to defend its use of hackable voting machines that leave no paper trail. And shortly after a court ruled there was not enough time to switch to a better system, WhoWhatWhy broke the news that a massive vulnerability in the state’s voter registration would have allowed even amateur hackers to wreak havoc on the election.
election  state  gov2.0  politics  security  privacy  legal 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Will Georgia’s Election Be a Wakeup Call? - WhoWhatWhy
When Democrat Stacey Abrams set out to become governor of Georgia, her candidacy was truly historic because she would have been the first black woman to head a US state. In the end, she “lost” to Republican Brian Kemp. We are putting “lost” in quotation marks because what happened in Georgia was, in many regards, not a democratic election.
Kemp used the power of his office to tailor the electorate to his party’s liking. He purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls, held up tens of thousands of registrations, closed many polling sites across the state, ensured long lines that discouraged low-income voters from casting ballots, spent taxpayer money to defend the use of voting machines that leave no paper trail, left the information of millions of voters vulnerable to hackers and, when another vulnerability in the voter registration website was discovered, he deflected from his own failure by accusing Democrats of cyber crimes.
In fact, the way he won was so apparently appalling that it might make the race historic after all: It might finally make Americans care about voter suppression.
Kemp’s tainted victory certainly did not merit a formal concession from his opponent… and he did not get one. Below is a letter Abrams sent to supporters that is much more a declaration to fight for democracy than a concession in this race.
gov2.0  election  state  politics 
november 2018 by rgl7194
How blue states help red states - SFChronicle.com
Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress love to demonize government handouts. But their own red-state supporters depend on these handouts. And the handouts are increasingly financed by the inhabitants of blue states.
The federal program Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — what we used to call “welfare” — is now tiny. It provides cash assistance to less than 1 percent of Americans.
But the Trump administration is proposing to lump many other social programs under a new agency with the word “welfare” in its title, in order to make Americans think we’re living in a vast welfare state.
gov2.0  politics  trump  state  money  taxes  welfare 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Was There a ‘Blue Wave?’ - WhoWhatWhy
There seemed to be a singular narrative on election night.
Democrats were making an impressive showing, recapturing a majority in the House, while Republicans were strengthening their majority in the Senate.
So was election night an electoral wash or, as President Donald Trump claimed, a GOP victory? No.
Democrats are projected to win a net of 37 House seats. This number may climb as high as 40 once the final races are called, which would be the largest Democratic gain in the House since the Watergate fallout in 1974.
Even more impressively, the Democratic surge occurred while the president’s party is overseeing a relatively healthy economy, with the unemployment rate hovering around 3.7 percent and inflation at a paltry 2.3 percent.  
The 2006 midterm election, which was called a “wave” election, saw only a net gain of 32 seats for the Democrats.  
congress  gov2.0  Dems  election  politics  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Why California’s Wildfires Are So Destructive, In 5 Charts | FiveThirtyEight
The Camp Fire in Northern California has already been the most lethal and most destructive in state history, and it continues to burn. The death toll, currently at 63, is expected to grow — more than 600 people are currently reported missing. The fire has burned through 142,000 acres as of Friday morning, just eight days after it began.
It’s not the only major fire in California, either. The Woolsey Fire, near Malibu in the south, has blazed through another 98,000 acres, killing three people. And these fires are just two of the latest in a year when at least 1.6 million acres in the state have burned. There are other fires currently burning, as well.
state  gov2.0  politics  trump  climate_change  disaster  weather  538  infographic 
november 2018 by rgl7194
As California Burns, Trump Administration Battles Climate Lawsuit - WhoWhatWhy
As both ends of California burn in one of the deadliest fire seasons on record, the Trump administration is in court stymying an interesting approach to fighting climate change.
The Camp Fire roared through the northern town of Paradise, killing at least 63 people, while the Woolsey fire in Malibu torched the estates of the rich and famous, from Miley Cyrus and Shannen Doherty to Neil Young.
But in the stuffy halls of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, federal judges deliberate on yet another attempt from the Trump administration to thwart a trial that could lay bare the government’s posture toward our environment.
The case, Juliana v. United States, has been stalled repeatedly by the federal government with a series of motions that have taken it all the way to the Supreme Court.
state  gov2.0  politics  trump  climate_change  disaster 
november 2018 by rgl7194
The Blue Wave Is Bigger Than Many People Thought - The Atlantic
It was a blue tide, not a blue wave: While some results have been slow to arrive, they show that Democrats had more success in the elections than was immediately clear.
Thursday was a bad day for House Republicans.
In the morning, Maine officials declared that Democrat Jared Golden had defeated Representative Bruce Poliquin, the last Republican in Congress from New England, with the aid of the state’s new instant-runoff voting system. Then, in the evening, the Associated Press projected that Democrat Katie Porter would unseat Representative Mimi Walters, yet another loss for the GOP in historically rock-ribbed Orange County, California. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the O.C., Democrat Gil Cisneros edged ahead of Republican Young Kim.
gov2.0  election  politics  Dems  congress  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Opinion | If I Win My District, I’ll Get Rid of It - The New York Times
New York’s 101st State Assembly District is a gerrymandered monstrosity.
I am working hard to win the race for the 101st Assembly District in New York — and if I succeed, I will work just as hard to get rid of it. The 101st is a monstrosity of gerrymandering that disenfranchises voters and weakens representative democracy in upstate New York.
I have to start every conversation on the campaign trail with a show-and-tell session featuring a map of our district. Invariably, residents of both parties shake their heads at the absurdity of it.
politics  gov2.0  gerrymandering  congress  state  new_york  nytimes 
november 2018 by rgl7194
How Democrats Won Big in Michigan in the Midterms - The Atlantic
A Democratic tsunami in the midterms engulfed the state Trump won most narrowly in 2016—and could keep the state blue in 2020.
Detroit—gretchen whitmer had her red water bottle with the Wonder Woman logo. Debbie Stabenow was touching up her makeup. Dana Nessel was up front, sitting with her wife, right behind the stack of boxed salads that was the food for the day.
The top of the Democratic ticket in Michigan—candidates for governor, Senate, and attorney general—were rolling along to the 77th and final stop of a statewide bus tour, hours before polls closed on Election Day. When the dust settled on 2016, no one would have been counting on any of them to be in contention, let alone win.
politics  gov2.0  state  Dems  congress 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Midterm election results 2018: a blue wave - Vox
With all votes counted, it’s a larger landslide than 1994 or 2010.
The narrative that congealed election night before polls had even closed on the West Coast was that while Democrats may have taken the House, they also underperformed relative to expectations and the hoped-for blue wave had turned into, in the words of columnist Nick Kristof at the New York Times, “only a blue trickle.”
This was a questionable interpretation at the time it was offered, but subsequent events have shown it to be almost entirely a psychological illusion based on timing.
Like in any election, Democrats both won some squeakers and lost some squeakers. They overperformed expectations in some races and underperformed them in others. And in 2018, it happens to be the case that Democrats got some of their most disappointing results in East Coast states with early closing times, while the GOP’s biggest disappointments came disproportionately in late-counting states.
Consequently, what felt to many like a disappointment as of 11 pm Eastern time on election night now looks more and more like a triumph.
election  voting  politics  gov2.0  congress  trump  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Andrew Gillum Shreds Donald Trump With Just 3 Little Words | HuffPost
One Twitter user noted Trump’s comment seemed hypocritical since he didn’t seem to mind the Russians interfering in the 2016 election.
The winner of Florida’s gubernatorial race is still up in the air, but even if he loses, Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum can take pride in at least one thing: he bested Donald Trump on Twitter.
And he only needed three words to do it.
On Monday, the president argued that the Florida election should be called in favor of Republicans Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott even though doing so would buck the state’s recount procedures.
As of Saturday, Gillum trailed DeSantis by less than 0.5 of a percentage point, which will require a machine recount of ballots.
However, he came out on top with his response to Trump’s conspiratorial tweet.
Many Twitter users were impressed with Gillum’s calm clap back. The president? Not so much.
twitter  gov2.0  politics  trump  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
For Democrats, a midterm election that keeps on giving - The Washington Post
In the early hours of election night on Tuesday, a consensus began to take hold that the vaunted Democratic blue wave that had been talked about all year was failing to materialize. Now, with a handful of races still to be called, it’s clear that an anti-President Trump force hit the country with considerable, if uneven, strength.
Democrats appear poised to pick up between 35 and 40 seats in the House, once the last races are tallied, according to strategists in both parties. That would represent the biggest Democratic gain in the House since the post-Watergate election of 1974, when the party picked up 49 seats three months after Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency.
politics  gov2.0  Dems  election  congress  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
The Barriers Facing Voters in the Georgia Governor Race - The Atlantic
America is undergoing the kind of slow erosion of democracy that the Voting Rights Act was intended to fight.
The Georgia governor’s race is balanced on a knife’s edge. Local polls have the Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams and her GOP opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, virtually tied. Abrams’s team in particular will scramble to make sure every provisional ballot is completed, that every person who faced challenges to registration is able to participate, that all absentee and vote-by-mail ballots are counted, and that every allegation of intimidation or unfair practices on Election Day is investigated. In a race in which a December runoff is a distinct possibility if neither candidate can secure 50 percent support, every single vote matters.
But no matter the outcome, it’s clear that voter rights and suppression will be one of the major stories of the 2018 election in Georgia. The state has become the battleground for something deeper than the ideas of the candidates themselves; it’s now emblematic of a larger struggle over voting rights that has changed party politics markedly over the past five years. The true nature of voter suppression as an accumulation of everyday annoyances, legal barriers, and confusion has come into full view. Today, voter suppression is a labyrinth, not a wall.
corruption  politics  gov2.0  state  election  congress  voting 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Significant Digits For Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 | FiveThirtyEight
You’re reading an all-election edition of Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.
>218 House seats
We haven’t yet landed on the exact number that history will record, but Democrats last night won a majority in the House of Representatives’s 435 seats. As I write this Wednesday morning, CNN has given the Democrats 222 seats, while ABC News has given them 223. But in any case, it will be more than 218. There are about two dozen seats yet to be called. [ABC News]
gov2.0  politics  election  congress  state  538 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Democrats Had A Big Night In Governors Races, But It Could Have Been Bigger | FiveThirtyEight
The Democrats made substantial gains at the gubernatorial level, as we expected. They won control of the governor’s offices from Republicans in Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin. Connecticut is still too close to call, but Republican Bob Stefanowski is narrowly trailing Democrat Ned Lamont, and a Stefanowski comeback there is the GOP’s only remaining shot at picking up a state from a Democrat. The majority of Americans are likely to have a Democratic governor when the results are finalized.
That said, the Democrats did not have the banner gubernatorial night that our forecast suggested was possible. Let me run through the details.
politics  gov2.0  election  Dems  538  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Amendment 4's Passage Means Florida Still Won Big | GQ
Despite disappointing nights for Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson, this landmark civil rights achievement could change state politics—and presidential elections, too—forever.
Florida, as Florida is wont to do, is doing its level best to screw up the 2018 midterm elections: Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is projected to defeat his Democratic counterpart, Andrew Gillum; outgoing governor Rick Scott, who is challenging Democrat Bill Nelson for a seat in the U.S. Senate, has taken a razor-thin lead over the incumbent. On Wednesday morning, the Senate race officially headed for a mandatory recount, which, if memory serves, is a process that has never been a problem in this state, ever.
These results, worrisome though they may be to voters who are not vile shitheads, may not be the state’s most important choice of the night, though, because voters on Tuesday also passed a constitutional amendment that will automatically restore the franchise to some 1.4 million Floridians who have been convicted of a felony and completed their sentence, including any attendant periods of probation or parole. (Those who commit murder or sex crimes are excluded from its scope.) To put it differently: Without a single person moving into the state, the potential size of its electorate just grew by seven figures.
state  election  gov2.0  politics  civil_rights  voting 
november 2018 by rgl7194
In Texas, It’s Easier to Carry a Gun Than Cast a Ballot - WhoWhatWhy
This election cycle, Texas has done little to rehabilitate its reputation as one of the worst states in the union in terms of obstacles its citizens face in order to vote.
In September, Northern Illinois University’s political science department ranked Texas 46th out of 50 in a study that gauged 33 polling variables in each state, including voter registration deadlines, voter ID laws, and early voting. What’s more, Texas has been jogging backwards at a rate faster than most other states, dropping from 14th in 1996, a rate of reversal surpassed only by New Hampshire and Tennessee.
It’s a Republican-dominated state that represents some of the most contentious electoral developments in recent years, including its 2011 restrictive voter ID law, which two federal courts subsequently ruled intentionally discriminated against black and Latino voters. The state has also faced federal judicial reprimand for its redistricting, found to have been gerrymandered to favor Republican dominance.
gov2.0  politics  voting  election  racism  bias  GOP  state 
november 2018 by rgl7194
Beto O'Rourke's Powerful Response to the NFL Protests - The Atlantic
By answering a question most Democratic politicians have refused to touch, the Texas Democrat has tapped into a powerful movement.
There are few issues Democratic politicians have been more reluctant to address than the NFL-player protests. “It doesn’t get talked about by candidates and office holders, because no one wants to mess up and have that compromise that ability to win an election or stay in office,” Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat running for the Senate in Texas, told me. “It’s also precisely the thing where if you do not talk about it and don’t have these kind of conversations publicly, it’s never going to get better.”
When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked about an NFL policy requiring all players on the field to stand for the national anthem, she backpedaled away faster than Deion Sanders. “I love the national anthem. I love the flag,” Pelosi told the CNN anchor Chris Cuomo at a televised town hall hosted by the network in May. “And I love the First Amendment, and I’ll just leave it at that.”
Dems  gov2.0  politics  state  football  protest 
october 2018 by rgl7194
Under new Oregon law, all eligible voters are registered unless they opt out - Los Angeles Times
Americans are required to register if they want to vote; as of this week, Oregonians will have to register not to.
In front of a packed and cheering audience Monday, Gov. Kate Brown signed a first-in-the-nation bill to automatically register all eligible Oregonians to vote when they obtain or renew a driver's license or state identification card.
Those who are registered through the new process will be notified by mail and will be given three weeks to take themselves off the voting rolls. If they do not opt out, the secretary of state's office will mail them a ballot automatically 20 days before any election.
When Brown signed House Bill 2177 into law, she was building on the Beaver State's history as a ballot-box innovator, which has led to high voter participation. Oregon was the first state in the country to switch to all-mail voting when Ballot Measure 60 was passed in 1998 by a wide margin. Washington state and Colorado later followed suit.
election  voting  state  gov2.0  politics 
october 2018 by rgl7194
California Password Law | 1Password
California just became the first state to put a cybersecurity law on the books for any internet-connected devices that are made or sold in the state. This new legislation goes into effect January 2020 and is designed to protect consumers by setting higher security standards for smart devices.
To comply with this new law, companies will either need to set a unique password for the device at the time of manufacture or prompt people to set a new password during the initial device setup.
state  gov2.0  passwords  privacy  security  california 
october 2018 by rgl7194
Voter Suppression 101 - WhoWhatWhy
How State Governments Legally Damage Democracy
While widespread voter fraud may be a figment of President Donald Trump’s imagination, it should never be confused with voter suppression, which is very real. Two months out from the midterm elections, the basic rights of millions of Americans are under threat.  
In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Jeff Schechtman is joined by Carol Anderson, the Chair of African American studies at Emory University and an authority on voter suppression — especially of the efforts to disenfranchise African American voters in the South.
She talks about how individuals within state governments are relentlessly fighting to deprive citizens of their fundamental rights. She explains how this is part of the long legacy of structural racism, which has become even more pernicious since the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder. That ruling eviscerated, in her opinion, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, by allowing states and communities with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.
gov2.0  election  politics  101  podcast  legal  voting  state 
september 2018 by rgl7194
District Court Rules Against North Carolina Gerrymandering - WhoWhatWhy
With the 2018 midterm elections right around the corner, a North Carolina district court ruled Monday that the state’s current congressional district lines are the result of an unconstitutional gerrymander. While the implications of the court’s decision remain unclear, the result could be as drastic as a redrawing of North Carolina election districts before the November ballot.
The North Carolina district court, composed of a panel of three judges, had found last January that the redistricting violated the constitution, but was ordered by the US Supreme Court to reconsider the case in the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Wisconsin’s Gill v. Whitford case. The Wisconsin decision set a precedent that plaintiffs in gerrymander cases must show that they have legal standing — i.e., they stand to suffer direct harm in each gerrymandered district — for their suit to be heard in court.
The panel ruled yesterday that the plaintiffs in this case did demonstrate such standing and proved that the current map of congressional districts is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.
legal  gov2.0  politics  election  gerrymandering  state 
september 2018 by rgl7194
How Corporations Force States to Stifle Local Rule - WhoWhatWhy
‘Big Soda’ Strong-Armed California Into Passing 12-Year Ban on Soda Taxes
In July, California’s legislature and governor faced an elegant — and legal — extortion threat. The American Beverage Association, funded by Coke and Pepsi, demanded immediate passage of legislation that preempts any soda taxes imposed by county or local governments for the next 12 years. If Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and the Democratic-controlled legislature refused, Big Soda would go forward with a ballot initiative this November that would severely limit any future tax increases at local and county levels. Brown blinked and signed the preemption law, averting what he saw as a larger, long-term danger.
But the governor’s action opened the door to other extortion schemes cooked up by well-funded corporate interests; Silicon Valley tech firms successfully used similar tactics to press for the removal of an initiative to protect online privacy rights.
business  extortion  gov2.0  politics  state  podcast  transcript  california 
september 2018 by rgl7194
Calif. Senate approves net neutrality rules, sends bill to governor | Ars Technica
Governor has until September 30 to sign net neutrality bill into law.
The California Senate today voted to approve the toughest state-level net neutrality bill in the US, one day after the California Assembly took the same action.
With both legislative houses having approved the bill, California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign it into law.
The final vote was 27-12, with all 26 Democratic senators and Republican Senator Ling Ling Chang voting in favor. All 12 no votes came from Republican senators. In the Assembly yesterday, six Republicans joined 55 Democrats to pass the bill in a 61-18 vote.
"Today was a landmark in the fight to preserve a free and open Internet," Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick wrote. "SB 822 brings back net neutrality to California and restores the important protections that the FCC voted to eliminate last December."
gov2.0  politics  state  net_neutrality  california 
september 2018 by rgl7194
“Gold standard” state net neutrality bill approved by California Assembly | Ars Technica
State Senate must act on net neutrality today before heading into recess.
California's state Assembly yesterday approved a strict net neutrality bill despite opposition from the telecom industry.
California's Senate already approved an earlier version of the bill in May. But some minor changes were made in the Assembly, so the Senate must vote on the bill again today before going into recess. If the Senate approves, California Governor Jerry Brown would have until September 30 to sign the bill into law.
The bill would prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling lawful traffic, and from requiring fees from websites or online services to deliver or prioritize their traffic to consumers. The bill also imposes limits on data cap exemptions (so-called "zero-rating") and says that ISPs may not attempt to evade net neutrality protections by slowing down traffic at network interconnection points.
Yesterday's Assembly vote was 61-18. All 55 Democratic members of the Assembly and six Republicans voted for the bill. All 18 votes against it came from Republicans.
gov2.0  politics  state  net_neutrality  california 
september 2018 by rgl7194
Victory! California Passes Net Neutrality Bill | Electronic Frontier Foundation
California’s net neutrality bill, S.B. 822 has received a majority of votes in the Senate and is heading to the governor’s desk. In this fight, ISPs with millions of dollars to spend lost to the voice of the majority of Americans who support net neutrality. This is a victory that can be replicated.
ISPs like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast hated this bill. S.B. 822 bans blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, classic ways that companies have violated net neutrality principles. It also incorporates much of what the FCC learned and incorporated into the 2015 Open Internet Order, preventing new assaults on the free and open Internet. This includes making sure companies can’t circumvent net neutrality at the point of interconnection within the state of California. It also prevents companies from using zero rating—the practice of not counting certain apps or services against a data limit—in a discriminatory way. That is to say that, say, there could be a plan where all media streaming services were zero-rated, but not one where just one was. One that had either paid for the privilege or one owned by the service provider. In that respect, it’s a practice much like discriminatory paid prioritization, where ISPs create fast lanes for those who can pay or for other companies they own.
gov2.0  politics  state  net_neutrality  EFF  california 
september 2018 by rgl7194
California’s strict net neutrality bill is close to final passage | Ars Technica
Committee passes bill, sends it to Calif. Assembly for possible vote next week.
A California state net neutrality bill described as the strongest in the country was approved by a key legislative committee yesterday and is close to final passage.
The bill was approved 9-3 by the state Assembly's Communications and Conveyance Committee, and is "head[ing] to the Assembly floor for a vote next week," bill author Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced yesterday. All nine yes votes came from Democrats while the three no votes were made by Republicans.
state  gov2.0  politics  net_neutrality  ISP  california 
august 2018 by rgl7194
Captive Audience: How Florida's Prisons and DRM Made $11.3M Worth of Prisoners' Music Disappear | Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Florida Department of Corrections is one of the many state prison systems that rely on private contractors to supply electronic messaging and access to electronic music files and books for prisoners.
For seven years, Florida’s prisoners have bought music through Access Corrections, a company that took in $11.3 million selling songs at $1.70 each—nearly twice what the typical song costs on the marketplaces available to people who aren’t incarcerated. This is hardly exceptional: prisons also charge extremely high rates for phone calls. The FCC briefly capped this at $1/minute (much higher than normal calling rates), only to have the Trump FCC abandon the policy rather than fight a court challenge.
EFF  state  gov2.0  crime  music  DRM  corruption 
august 2018 by rgl7194
Russians Are Targeting Private Election Companies, Too — And States Aren’t Doing Much About It | FiveThirtyEight
The American election system is a textbook example of federalism at work. States administer elections, and the federal government doesn’t have much say in how they do it. While this decentralized system has its benefits, it also means that there’s no across-the-board standard for election system cybersecurity practices. This lack of standardization has become all the more apparent over the past two years: Hackers probed 21 state systems during the lead-up to the 2016 election and gained access to one. But the federal government and states don’t appear to have made great strides to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. To do so, they’d need to deal with not only their own cybersecurity deficits but also those of the private companies that help states administer elections.
Voting machine manufacturers and the makers of election software and electronic poll books (which are lists of eligible voters) are crucially intertwined with state election systems. All states, to some extent or another, rely on these private companies for election products. But despite the central role these companies play, state regulations of them are relatively lax. That’s a problem, especially at a time when these companies are, along with state governments, targets of foreign agents of chaos.
election  gov2.0  politics  state  hack  russia  security  privacy  538 
august 2018 by rgl7194
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