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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 9th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 19

Political Watch: July 11, 2019

By Sun Staff

• On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion blocking a controversial question asking for a person’s citizenship status from appearing on the 2020 census. Many critics of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s plan to add this question believed it would prevent immigrants from participating in the census because of the fear of deportation. Gov. Gavin Newsom released a statement on the day of the court’s ruling supporting its decision. “The Supreme Court did their job today, but the fight continues,” Newsom said. “Every person counts. If Californians do not participate in next year’s census, the Trump administration wins.” Officials with the city of Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County told the Sun in May that they were concerned that this question could lead to inaccurate counts locally. Ensuring an accurate count is important because it affects how much funding local jurisdictions receive from the federal government for various city, county, and state services. Despite the court’s ruling, President Donald Trump and his administration are trying to find a way to add the question to the census. “We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question,” Trump said via Twitter on July 3.

• On July 3, state Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) wrote a letter to the California Coastal Commission urging it to not impose further limitations at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. According to a staff report for the commission’s July 11 meeting, the commission is set to discuss the possibility of implementing various changes to what’s allowed at the park, including prohibiting drivers from operating vehicles on the beach at night and reducing the number of vehicles allowed to use the dunes daily. In his letter, Cunningham said that imposing further limitations at the park would hurt local businesses that benefit from the visitors the park attracts. “These businesses would see a loss of economic activity if this commission imposes further limitations on off-road vehicles,” Cunningham stated in his letter. According to the meeting’s staff report, these limitations are being discussed because of public health concerns over the dust emitted at the park as well as concerns over damages to rare and endangered species and habitats.

• On July 3, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) announced that the Assembly on Housing and Community Development Committee passed Senate Bill 182, which Jackson authored. The bill would strengthen local planning requirements in areas prone to wildfires and would encourage local jurisdictions to seek fire-resistant development strategies. The bill moved to the housing committee after the Senate passed the legislation on May 29. Next, the bill moves to the Assembly Committee on Local Government, which is scheduled to have its first hearing on the bill on July 10. In a statement her office released when the Senate passed the bill in May, Jackson said with the number of homes and lives devastated by wildfires in recent years, the state must approve measures to make homes more fire-resistant. “The risk is simply too high to continue with business as usual in our state,” Jackson said. “SB 182 will ensure our communities are better prepared and more fire-resilient without sacrificing new home construction.”

Weekly Poll
How would you like to see transportation officials try to make highways in the Santa Ynez Valley safer?

Add biking and walking paths along the highways to keep pedestrians away from traffic.
Reduce speed limits near certain intersections.
Build more roundabouts.
It doesn't matter. Caltrans won't do anything about it.

| Poll Results

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