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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 9th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 45

Political Watch 1/10/19

• State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) authored four bills focusing on wildfire prevention and protection efforts that went into effect starting Jan. 1. Senate Bill 1260 is aimed at enabling forest management practices that could reduce the risk of wildfires, such as prescribed burns. SB 821 gives counties the option of automatically enrolling every resident in a targeted emergency notification program. Residents retain the ability to opt out of those alerts as well. In an effort to help homeowners in Montecito and other areas impacted by wildfires and subsequent flooding or mudslides, SB 917 clarifies that an insurance policy covers loss or damages resulting from debris flows if the acts were attributable to a condition already covered by the policy, such as wildfires. Local governments can expand their Property Assessed Clean Energy programs thanks to SB 465, which seeks to help homeowners in high fire hazard areas pay for fire safety improvements to their homes. 

• In December, President Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which changes the way federal law views hemp and cannabis with low concentrations of THC. Hemp was removed from the Controlled Substances Act, making it a legal substance. Following the bill's signing, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb released a statement clarifying the agency's position on the matter. "Congress explicitly preserved the agency's current authority to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds," Gottlieb wrote. "This allows the FDA to continue enforcing the law to protect patients and the public while also providing potential regulatory pathways for products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds." The agency is concerned about the number of products not approved by the FDA that claim to contain CBD and claim to have therapeutic benefits. Gottlieb said the agency would be holding public meetings in the future to get input on "lawful pathways" that cannabis products can be marketed and how to regulate those products. 

• California State Treasurer Fiona Ma kicks off a listening tour on Jan. 17 to learn more about regional housing issues and challenges in the state. The treasurer will be stopping in Los Angeles and San Diego on Jan. 17, Sacramento and San Francisco on Jan. 18, and Fresno on Jan. 25. You must register for the events to attend. Contact for more information. 

• In Gov. Gavin Newsom's first act as California's governor, he announced a series of executive actions intended to lower prescription drug and health care costs in the state. Newsom signed an executive order to create the largest single purchaser for prescription drugs and enable private employers to join the state in negotiating drug prices. The Department of Health Care Services will now negotiate all pricing and purchasing of prescription drugs under Medi-Cal. The executive order directs state agencies to purchase prescription drugs together, as opposed to negotiating with drug companies one by one. Newsom also signed an executive order to establish a California Surgeon General. 

• A number of bills authored by state Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) went into affect on Jan. 1, including Assembly Bill 1735, which gives victims of labor trafficking and adult victims of pimping and pandering the option to get 10-year protective orders from the courts. AB 1868 authorizes school districts to include information about the dangers of sending sexually explicit messages and images over social media in existing sexual education curriculum. Craft distillers can now donate drinks to nonprofits events and assist and manage drinks at permitted events thanks to AB 1986, and AB 2986 strengthens the safety of ride-sharing aps by ensuring passengers can accurately ID their driver before entering a vehicle.

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

| Poll Results