Tuesday, July 25, 2017     Volume: 18, Issue: 20

Santa Maria Sun / Community

Citizen's Alert

Benefits, Meetings, Protests, Forums and Public Meetings

Political Watch 7/20/17

• Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) issued a statement on July 13 following the release of the updated Senate Republican health care bill, meant to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. “Senate Republicans spent the past two weeks putting lipstick on a pig. In all the ways that matter, the health care bill unveiled today is the same atrocious bill the couldn’t pass two weeks ago,” Feinstein said. “The bill would still take coverage from tens of millions. It would still gut Medicaid. It would still increase premiums, particularly for older Americans. It would still undermine protections for pre-existing conditions.” Feinstein also lamented the lack of transparency by Senate Republicans regarding the bill, saying, “There will be no hearings. There will be no markups. There will be no opportunity for senators to amend the bill or understand the views of the millions who would be affected by it.” 

• Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) joined more than 40 members of Congress in signing a letter urging the Department of Education to strengthen services for people who have defaulted on their student loans. The letter followed a federal court’s injuction that barred the Department of Education from assigning newly defaulted student loans to private collection agencies. “We are deeply concerned that the breakdown in the U.S. Department of Education’s contracting process with private collection agencies has left many struggling student loan borrowers in a state of uncertainty, and that the current system of student loan collections is not serving the interests of borrowers or taxpayers,” the letter said. “The department should work with Congress to develop a better system for supporting struggling borrowers and remove barriers to entering affordable repayment plans.” 

• A bill co-authored by California State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) designed to put federal Title IX standards into state law passed the Assembly Higher Education Committee with a bipartisan vote of 11-2. The bill, Senate Bill 169, would ensure that women and girls have an equal opportunity for success in academics and athletics and can pursue education safe from sexual harassment and sexual violence, according to a release from Jackson’s office. The bill is a response to recent attempts by President Donald Trump’s administration to “roll back” federal Title IX standards laid down by former President Barack Obama, according to the release. “California has looked to and relied upon the protections afforded by Title IX for decades, but now we are increasingly concerned that this vital civil rights law could be dismantled by an administration that has expressed hostility to the protections it provides and to addressing gender-based violence,” Jackson said in the release. “We have a law. We need to be able to enforce it, and this bill enables us to enforce it fairly.” 

• State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) made a visit to Atascadero High School to watch a demonstration by the school’s robotics team, the Greybots. The team was ready to unveil its new robot, Bloodhound, which is set to compete for the championship on July 27 in Manchester, N.H. as part of a FIRST robotics competition. Cunningham has made technical career opportunities a focus of his tenure in California’s Assembly. “These Atascadero High School students have done an amazing job constructing their robot and competing with teams from around the world,” Cunningham wrote in a Facebook post following the event. “The Greybots truly show the benefits that Career and Technical and STEM education can provide. I’m very proud of my fellow Greyhounds and I wish them the best at the international Robotics Competition in New Hampshire later this month. Go Greybots!”

Weekly Poll
How do you decorate your home?

Ranch style, with deer antlers and all.
Adobe style. Hello red tiles!
Modern industrial. Exposed metal and concrete.
Shabby chic. The thrift store is my friend.

Vote! | Poll Results