Political Watch: November 16, 2023

• U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) recently reacted to news that the United States successfully brokered a deal with Israel to approve daily pauses in military action in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians in need and facilitate the safe evacuation of civilians from areas where Israel may be conducting operations, according to a Nov. 9 statement from Carbajal’s office. “As I have repeatedly said, protecting civilians and rooting out the perpetrators of unconscionable terrorist attacks are not incompatible goals—and American diplomacy in the Middle East has been nonstop in pursuing that balance,” Carbajal said in the statement. “By brokering an agreement with Israel to allow for these pauses in military operations, we can now advance efforts to ensure that every step is being taken to get civilians out of harm’s way and that lifesaving aid is getting to those in need while we continue to support Israel’s mission of uprooting the Hamas terrorists who one month ago shattered the region’s fragile peace.” He added that the announcement is a positive step but there is still action needed to have a “balanced approach” that supports “Israel’s right to self-defense and the safety of Palestinian civilians” in Gaza.

• U.S. Sens. Alex Padilla (D-California) and Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced legislation in the Senate to ensure that truckers are compensated fairly for the hours that they are on the clock, including overtime, according to a Nov. 9 statement from Padilla’s office. The Guaranteeing Overtime for Truckers Act would repeal the motor carrier provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which excludes many truckers from overtime protections enjoyed by other workers. In response to an executive order by President Biden, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a Freight and Logistics Supply Chain Assessment in February 2022, which highlights high turnover rates and compensation issues in the trucking industry. Among its recommendations, the department called on Congress to repeal the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 motor carrier provision. “America’s truck drivers are on the front lines of our economy, enduring long hours away from home, and all too often unpaid wait time at congested ports and warehouses. That’s because for decades truck drivers have been excluded from overtime pay protections,” Padilla said in the statement. “If truckers are forced to wait while on the job, they should be paid. This is not just a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of public safety. Experienced truckers are safer truckers, and better compensation will help more of them stay in the profession. It’s time we guarantee overtime for truckers.”

• Ahead of oral arguments in United States v. Rahimi, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement urging the Supreme Court to uphold a federal law prohibiting individuals under domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms, according to a Nov. 7 statement from the governor’s office. This case is being heard by the Supreme Court following the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision ruling that the “red flag” law is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Newsom filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court earlier this year that argued that the lower court incorrectly interpreted the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision and that the government’s ability to enact gun regulations to protect people from dangerous individuals is supported by a long-standing tradition. “My message to the Supreme Court today is simple: Gun safety laws save lives—and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers is consistent with long-standing historical tradition and the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court must reverse the lower court’s outrageous decision,” Newsom said in the statement.

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