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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 23rd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 42 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 42

Political Watch 12/26/13

• Agricultural Under Secretary Michael Scuse held a press conference on Dec. 18 with Food Export-Midwest and Northeast Executive Director Tim Hamilton and Export Sales Director of the Ohio-based Trophy Nut Dave Ramirez to highlight the need for a new food, farm, and jobs bill that would promote U.S. agricultural exports. Food Export-Midwest and Northeast works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help grow exports of U.S. agricultural products. A press release sent out by the Department of Agriculture said the Obama Administration called for Congress to pass a five-year farm bill that promotes rural development, preserves a strong farm safety net, maintains nutrition programs, encourages the development of local and regional markets, enhances conservation, honors our international trade commitments, and advances agricultural research. The press release adds that a new farm bill would provide reauthorization of trade promotion programs that helped bring in the strongest five-year period for agricultural exports in U.S. history. That record includes $140.9 billion in agricultural exports for 2013.

• The California State Board of Equalization’s newest website service enables qualifying taxpayers to request a payment plan online. Payment plans allow taxpayers to pay down a past-due balance over time. A press release sent out by board member George Runner said it would help taxpayers avoid additional penalties and interest. “California taxpayers deserve credit for bringing this commonsense idea to our attention,” Runner said in the press release. “In addition, our Taxpayer’s Rights Advocates Office and technology team deserve recognition for their diligent efforts to make this idea a reality.” Almost any tax or fee payer with a past due balance can apply for a payment plan. To be eligible, customers need to file all required tax or fee returns and have a checking or savings account. Program details and restrictions are available online at Assistance is also available by calling the board’s customer service center at 1-800-400-7115.

• With 2013 coming to a close and the next legislative session just a few weeks away, legislators are beginning to announce new bills they plan to introduce next year. Here are some of the ones reported on in the Sacramento Bee: Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) wants to require smartphone “kill switches” that would make the phones inoperable if they were stolen. The Bee reports that according to the Federal Communications Commission, cell phone thefts make up 30 to 40 percent of robberies across the nation, and more than 50 percent of those are in San Francisco. Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) wants legislation to restrict the use of antibiotics in farm animals to medical care only. Hill’s proposal follows a release of federal guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration. Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) proposed replacing special elections with gubernatorial appointments for legislative vacancies. The Bee reports that Steinberg said he was fed up with expensive special elections with low voter turnout, which kept the Legislature below capacity throughout the session. Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Chico) issued a statement on Steinberg’s proposed legislation on Dec. 19. “Voters should always have the final say at the ballot box as to who will represent them in the People’s House,” Logue said in the statement. “If passed, this proposal will truly be another step toward ending checks and balances in the state government.”

• Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) made the rounds in Santa Maria during the week before the holiday season kicked off. Capps toured Main Street Produce on Dec. 18 and on Dec. 19 she presented a flag for the Santa Maria Airport Military Wall of Honor. The Wall of Honor is a tribute to all military men and women and was dedicated over Memorial Day weekend, according to a press release sent out by her office.

Weekly Poll
Who do you want to see represent California's 24th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives?

Re-elect Salud Carbajal!
Justin Fareed is my guy!
Michael Erin Woody has fresh ideas!
Eh, they all stink.

| Poll Results