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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 17th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 11

Political Watch 5/18/17

• The firing of former FBI Director James Comey on May 9 came as a surprise to many Americans, but not for a handful of U.S. Senators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who reportedly received a courtesy call from President Donald Trump shortly before the hammer dropped. Fox News reported that Comey learned from a TV news broadcast he was fired as he was giving a recruitment speech in Los Angeles. Feinstein released a statement following the call. “President Trump called me at 5:30 p.m. and indicated he would be removing Director Comey, saying the FBI needed a change,” Feinstein said. Trump initially pointed to a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as the reason for the firing, stating that Comey “made serious mistakes” and refused to “accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken” on his handling of alleged hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016—something Trump originally praised at a rally on Oct. 31, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Mich. “It took guts for director Comey to make the move he made,” Trump said at the rally. A letter signed by Trump on May 10 stated that he “concurred with the Department of Justice” that Comey was “not able to effectively lead the bureau.” “It’s essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” Trump stated. Comey’s firing came after he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on why he re-opened the FBI’s email investigation days before the election. Days before his firing, The New York Times reported that Comey requested more prosecutors for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election. At the May 10 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Feinstein questioned Trump’s motives. “If the reason for firing Comey was because of his handling of the Clinton investigation, why now?” Feinstein inquired. “The decision to fire Comey raises questions about the appropriateness and timing of firing the person in charge of an investigation that could, I won’t say would, but could implicate the administration.” 

• On May 11, California state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) released a statement on California Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal. The funding for child care that was originally on pause in Brown’s January proposal was restored, Jackson said. “The governor continues to take a prudent approach to our state budget, given the great instability that Californians and our state face should Congress and President Trump repeal the Affordable Care Act and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, among other threats to date,” Jackson said in a statement. Meanwhile, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton) posted a Facebook statement on Brown’s budget revision as it relates to career technical education (CTE) on May 12: “We need to fund CTE to give students and parents pathways to meaningful careers. I will continue to fight for CTE funding because those programs change lives.”

• A medical records bill authored by a Santa Barbara County lawmaker recently got one step closer to becoming law. The Assembly Health Committee unanimously passed AB 1119, a bill written by Assemblywoman Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), on May 9 and would ensure emergency health care providers have full medical records when treating patients with mental illnesses. “AB 1119 provides emergency physicians with improved access to important medical records to allow them to deliver critical care to patients in need,” Limón said in a statement. The bill will be heard on the Assembly floor in the coming weeks. Limón represents the 37th Assembly District, which covers the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County to the Santa Clara River Valley in Ventura County.

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