Political Watch: November 2, 2023

• U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) called on the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan government agency, to complete an independent assessment of the successes and potential improvements available for the nation’s 211 public information system and the services it provides to families across the U.S., according to an Oct. 26 statement from the congressman’s office. “In recent years, 211 systems have played an increasingly significant role in disaster response and recovery. Many 211 systems have formal agreements with local or state governments to serve as an official communication tool during times of disaster such as hurricanes, floods, and fires. In response to mass shootings, 211s have been relied on as a central point of information in communities,” Carbajal wrote in his request to Government Accountability Office. “Although the 211 system is a free and confidential service provided by nonprofit organizations that may help people find the local resources they need, there can be benefits to evaluating its effectiveness.” Carbajal asked the Government Accountability Office to share any data on 211’s current usages and services provided to callers across all 50 states, as well as what training and tools are provided to the nonprofits that operate the 211 call centers. The congressman’s letter to Government Accountability Office also asks for its help in identifying potential improvements, efficiencies, and public awareness actions that could be used to connect more families with the service and the valuable information it can offer.

• U.S. Sens. Alex Padilla (D-California), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado), and Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) introduced the Child Labor Accountability Act of 2023 to provide the Department of Labor (DOL) additional time to investigate child labor violations and build its cases to combat these abuses, according to an Oct. 26 statement from Padilla’s office. The legislation would also ensure Congress receives a detailed annual report from the DOL on its work to investigate and enforce against violations of federal child labor laws. Over the last several years, there has been a significant surge in child labor violations, including migrant child labor exploitation. According to data from the DOL, there has been a 76 percent increase in reported child labor violations, from 542 in fiscal year 2015 to 955 in fiscal year 2023, and the reported number of minors illegally employed has doubled in the past two fiscal years. “We must do everything in our power to crack down on companies illegally profiting off the exploitation of child labor—including of unaccompanied migrant children,” said Sen. Padilla. “That’s why I’m proud to join Sens. Rubio, Hickenlooper, and Marshall, working across the aisle to expand the window in which the Department of Labor can hold companies accountable for these unacceptable abuses and require more comprehensive annual reports for Congress on federal child labor law violations.”

• Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California is set to distribute $40.5 million in federal funding to build 270 electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers at 26 sites along highways, according to an Oct. 26 statement from Newsom’s office. Funded by President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the state is expected to receive more than $380 million to create 6,600 miles of EV corridors, with at least four fast chargers every 50 miles. This complements the more than $10 billion in state funding for zero-emission cars, trucks, buses, and infrastructure through California’s Climate Commitment. It follows the governor’s announcement that California surpassed both its zero-emission truck and vehicle sales goals two years ahead of schedule. “This is a direct result of President Biden’s infrastructure law. We’re using this money to deliver for Californians, building EV chargers throughout the state as we continue getting more clean cars onto our roads,” Newsom said in the statement.

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment