Thursday, December 13, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 41

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 6th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 1 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 1

Political Watch 3/8/18

• Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) issued a statement on March 5, the day President Donald Trump set as the deadline to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, saying that the Trump administration "callously rescinded" the program and "arbitrarily chose today as its final date." "This administration created this crisis and sabotaged every effort by Congress to resolve it by using these young people as pawns to achieve an anti-immigrant agenda," Harris said. "Every single day we don't act to protect Dreamers is a day our country is failing an important moral test. Especially when we know there is a strong bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives, the USA Act, which is co-sponsored by 27 Republicans and could be voted on today. We must act."

• Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) joined 12 senators in asking the top health insurers in the U.S. to help combat the ongoing opioid epidemic, requesting the companies to review existing policies and to take additional steps to help curb addiction. "Unfortunately, it is often much harder for an individual to seek non-addictive pain medications or non-pharmacologic treatment options at the outset of treatment than it is to get a prescription opioid," Feinstein's March 1 letter states. "In order to effectively address this ongoing epidemic, we believe insurance companies must take additional steps to ensure they are playing a more active role in addiction prevention and treatment and providing beneficiaries full access to the range of clinically appropriate services available." The letter addressed specific policies that may unintentionally contribute to the crisis, like prior authorization, when a doctor must get prior approval from an insurer before prescribing a more expensive medication. "But when thousands are dying each day, insurance algorithms that default to the cheapest opioid alternative could miss opportunities to turn the tide against addiction," said a statement from Feinstein's office.

• California Assemblymembers Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) and Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) sent a letter to the Assembly Budget Committee in February, urging the department to fund the California Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention program (CalGRIP). According to Cunningham's office, Gov. Jerry Brown's latest budget proposal doesn't fund CalGRIP, which has provided grant funding to cities to support gang intervention, prevention, and suppression. "There are great programs already underway to combat gang activity on the Central Coast, such as Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino's Youth Task Force," Cunningham said in a statement. "We need to provide resources to local cities who are working with young people to keep them off the streets and reduce gang violence."

• At a meeting of the California Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance on March 1, Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) questioned the possibility of a new online community college for the state. "Having served on a school board, I also know that rollout and implementation is a whole other thing, no matter what the trend is doing," she said at the meeting. "And particularly for exactly the 2.5 million people we're trying to reach"and in a time where over the last 12 months we've talked about communities not having the full, needed access to internet"I think of how many people of the 2.5 (million) are in those exact same communities where we have the issues, that they still don't have full access, especially rural California. I think there's a lot of elements, but I too am looking for evidence that this is the right investment at this particular time."

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