Tuesday, December 18, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 41
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The following article was posted on December 5th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 40

Political Watch 12/6/18

• Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the State Capitol flag flown at half-staff in honor of President George H.W. Bush after news of his passing on Dec. 1. "Our thoughts are with the Bush family tonight," Brown stated. "America has lost a true public servant." Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) issued a statement as well, saying that "there's no question" that Bush "led our country through a time of turmoil" during the the Gulf War and fall of the Soviet Union. "But his service started many years before," Feinstein said. "An accomplished World War II pilot, a member of Congress, U.N. ambassador, CIA director, and vice president, George Bush dedicated his life to public service. ... My thoughts are with the country, but even more so with President Bush's loving family. He'll be missed."

• Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) issued a statement on Nov. 29 after Michael Cohen gave a guilty plea to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, admitting that he lied to Congress about efforts by the Trump organization to seek a Trump Tower Moscow deal before the election. "Cohen's sworn admission shows that the Trump family did have business dealing in Russia despite President Trump's repeated statements to the contrary," Feinstein stated. "It raises serious questions about the president's relationship with Russia and whether he and his family have been honest with the American people." Feinstein serves as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has interviewed Cohen and others involved in the investigation, like Felix Sater, but Democrats wanted to do more, Feinstein said in her statement. "However, lacking meaningful support from committee Republicans, Michael Cohen has not appeared before the committee to answer our questions," she said. "Today's guilty plea clearly shows that we still don't know the full story and that Special Counsel Mueller must be allowed to complete his investigation without interference or delay."

• Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Kamala Harris (D-California), along with Sens. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, calling on the Trump administration to "not block wineries from using the duty drawback program. ... which allows wineries to recoup duties, taxes, and fees on imported wines after exporting domestically produced wines." "In addition to violating congressional intent, prohibiting wineries from continuing to use duty drawback would eliminate a critical export promotion tool at a time when the wine industry is already facing significant export barriers," the letter states. "In retaliation for tariffs imposed by the administration, U.S. wine is now subject to a total tax and tariff rate of 79 percent in China, one of the fastest-growing markets for U.S. wine, putting our domestic producers at a severe disadvantage compared to foreign competitors."

• State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) and Assemblymember Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) held an informational hearing of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management and the Assembly Select Committee on Natural Disaster Response, Recovery, Rebuilding on Nov. 27, with the stated focus on public notifications during disasters and wildfires. "Frankly, it's really tragic that we're here today discussing raging wildfires that have become the new abnormal in our state," Jackson said. "These fires have snuffed out the lives of over 150 Californians in the past year alone, destroyed homes and property [and the] hopes and dreams of thousands." There were reports from emergency response officials as well as reports on legislation by Jackson and Limón, including Jackson's SB 821, which helps agencies automatically enroll citizens for emergency notices. Limón's bill, AB 1877, is to help ensure translation services for emergency notifications.




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