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The following article was posted on February 5th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 49 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 49

Political Watch Feb. 7, 2019

• On Jan. 30, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) introduced legislation to ensure that local governments meet the cultural and linguistic needs of all residents in their emergency preparations. Senate Bill 160 directs government bodies to incorporate cultural competency into their emergency plans by integrating interpreters and translators in emergency communications, incorporating representatives from community groups during the planning process, and using culturally appropriate resources when prepping community members for emergencies or disasters. “It is critical that all of our communities receive the life-saving information they need during an emergency or natural disaster,” Jackson said in a press release. “With more than 220 languages spoken in California and 44 percent of our residents speaking a language other than English at home, we must do everything we can to ensure our emergency plans incorporate the diverse needs of all residents.”

• After the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 29, U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) wrote a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission asking for more information about the funding available for oversight and the safe decommissioning of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. According to a press release sent out by Carbajal’s office, the Central Coast representative wants assurance that the utility company’s financial circumstances won’t impact its compliance with decommissioning funding assurance requirements, the agency’s safety and security measures, or the decommissioning trust fund for the facility.

• The California District Attorneys Association named Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) Legislator of the Year, recognizing him for his role in passing legislation protecting human trafficking victims and bolstering measures that can be taken against traffickers. “Assemblyman Cunningham has used his experience as a former prosecutor to stand up for public safety and lead the fight against human trafficking,” said Birgit Fladager, Stanislaus County district attorney and the association’s board president, in a press release.

• Gov. Gavin Newsom will deliver his first State of the State address before a joint session of the California Legislature on Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. The governor’s remarks will be webcast at

• On Feb. 4, President Donald Trump announced he was nominating the Department of the Interior’s deputy chief, former oil executive David Bernhardt, to succeed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who left his post in December amid a series of ethics investigations. According to The New York Times, Barry Russell, the chief executive of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said, “Mr. Bernhardt knows the department well, and understands the integral role that the Department of the Interior plays in oil and natural gas development, both onshore and offshore.” He added that the association was looking forward to working with the department on “new ways to continue growing” the economy “while improving the environment and enhancing life for all Americans.” Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species director, told the NY Times that Bernhardt “is the most dangerous man in America for endangered species and public lands,” adding that he has “been dismantling basic protections for lands that belong to all of us, and the vulnerable species, like the sage grouse, depend on them.”

• Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-SLO) was in Washington, D.C., starting on Feb. 4 to meet with federal officials about the future of offshore wind development on the Central Coast. “With Diablo Canyon slated to close in 2025, an offshore wind farm would bring jobs and renewable energy to our region,” Cunningham said in a press release. “I am hopeful that the federal government will consider our local interests when making the final decision on these projects.” Cunningham was slated to meet with U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) and members of the Defense and Interior departments.

Weekly Poll
What do you think of the changes Santa Barbara County made to its cannabis ordinances?

It was too early to make any changes. The industry is still new.
The changes were necessary. Cannabis farms are ruining our quality of life.
The changes are too restrictive and could stifle a growing industry.
More changes are needed to address the odor problems and other issues.

| Poll Results