Judge, Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. of the US District Court in Oakland, on Sunday granted a request by more than a dozen states to temporarily block the Trump administration from putting into effect new rules that would make it easier for employers to deny women health insurance coverage for contraceptives.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Farm Employee Overtime
In 2016, California became the first state in the U.S. to require employers to pay overtime for farmworkers who work more than eight hours. The first phase of the new rules will begin in January, when agricultural employees will earn overtime after working 9 1/2 hours in a day or 55 hours in a week. Currently, California farmworkers can get overtime after working 60 hours in a week or 10 hours in a day. The change only applies to businesses that employ at least 26 people. The rules do not apply to smaller agricultural employers until 2022. Discloser, our office consults with agricultural employers on compliance matters and we represent employees on wage and labor claims. Aside from wage and hour claims, sexual harassment and discrimination are constant concerns on the farm.
Street Vendor Permits
A law going into effect in January will allow local governments to design permit programs for vendors and limits when they can be criminally prosecuted. It pertains to anyone selling food or other merchandise from a pushcart, stand or “non-motorized conveyance.” I anticipate the City of Eureka will embrace this new law and its economic benefits. I predict the County will ignore this law until the County is forced to follow it by a judge.
Home Kitchen Businesses
A new law encourages Counties (like Humboldt) to permit home kitchens for the purpose of selling food products. California Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, who authored the bill, says that homemade food sales are a vital part of self-reliant communities. “Legitimizing these home businesses will offer a means of economic empowerment and pathways for many to achieve the ‘American dream,’” Garcia said when the bill was signed. Humboldt historically resists new opportunities which provide residents access to residual income. Perhaps after the County Supervisors election in 2020 progress will be made on this front.
January 17, 2019
Measure S is the cannabis cultivation tax the voters passed. We are challenging the County Supervisor's decision to amend Measure S as passed by the voters. The Supervisors amended the tax to apply to the property owner, not the farmer, and regardless of whether any crop is grown.
Yesterday, we filed our response to the County's demurrer to the Measure S lawsuit. (Set to be heard January 28, 2019.) The County hired a large Sacramento Firm (founded the year I was born) to defend the lawsuit. They argue it's impossible to tax farmers for the actual crop grown because the County can't verify how much was grown. We informed the Court, governments since the beginning of governments have taxed farmers for crops actually grown, and we cited the Book of Genesis as our evidence.
The amendments by the Supervisors have been misreported. The Supervisors amended Measure S to tax the permitted area regardless of the amount of crop grown. As such, the supervisors have amended the tax to be assessed against fallow land, without regard to crop grown. We provided the Court authority that Measure S as amended is a property tax and is unconstitutional. We ask the Court to return Measure S to its original state which acted as an excise tax on legal crop actually grown.
We will update this one.
January 15, 2019
Our law library has dozens of reference books about criminal law, and I could only find one book about constitutional rights limited to 42 U.S.C § 1983 civil rights cases, a small subsection of constitutional law. Civil rights provide the platform for civil redress which is the alternative to violence.
We decided as a community to center ourselves around our jail, instead of a school, a library, museum, or performing arts theater. Our county supervisors meet at the same building as our jail, which sends a chilling message to anyone wanting to speak on the public agenda, especially federal outlaws. Our prison is being expanded to the tune of $25 million, give or take a dime, meanwhile our schools are in a financial crisis. The Humboldt establishment's response, is to stay positive and cheery.
In a 3-0 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Phyllis Randall, chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, violated the First Amendment free speech rights of Brian Davison by banning him for 12 hours from her “Chair Phyllis J. Randall” facebook page.
Last election my office received a few complaints from citizens who were censored for making comments critical of politicians, on the left and right (somehow our local politics are becoming politically polarized). Now these citizens may have recourse. This First Amendment decision could impact local elections nationwide by allowing the public to be heard.
January 8, 2019
This lawsuit challenges HUD's rule which forces subsidized apartments to evict medical cannabis users. Plaintiff was evicted from her HUD apartment on July 10, 2018 when a maintenance man discovered some medical cannabis in her bedroom. She remains homeless and is not alone.
The lawsuit not only challenges HUD's rule but relies upon Murphy v NCAA (decided May 2018) to challenge the constitutionality of the Controlled Substance Act itself relative to medical marijuana in the State of California. The Supreme Court in Murphy v NCAA resurrected from near death the anti-commandeering doctrine, which in laymen's terms means the Congress cannot make orders directly to the States.
We are optimistic this lawsuit will prevail. If the District Court issues an order in our favor appealing the decision would pose a political pitfall for the Trump administration.
I will update this one.
January 3, 2019
We filed an action in Butte County on May 17, 2018 with the intent of having a jury decide punitive damages. We would be the first party to bring the defeat device case to jury trial. Peer reviewed studies proved thousands of people with lung diseases died from the fraud.
The California water bill now ready for the president's signature dramatically shifts 25 years of federal policy and culminates a long and fractious campaign born in the drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley.
A rough five years in the making, the $558 million bill approved by the Senate early Saturday morning steers more water to farmers, eases dam construction, and funds desalination and recycling projects. Its rocky road to the White House also proved a costly master class in political persistence and adroit maneuvering.
“I believe these provisions are both necessary, and will help our state,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
Feinstein and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, and their staffs, crafted the final water package, which the Senate approved on a 78-21 vote. They also made the hard-ball tactical choice to fold it into a widely popular infrastructure bill, which eased Senate passage while it left retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer fuming.
“I think it is absolutely a horrible process, a horrible rider,” Boxer said during floor debate Friday. “It’s going to result in pain and suffering among our fishing families.”
Boxer cited, in particular, California’s salmon industry, whose members fear the diversion of water will deplete rivers critical to salmon reproduction.
Boxer’s post-midnight vote against the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which included the approximately 98-page California bill, was likely to be the last of her 33-year congressional career. It was a sour ending for her long-time Senate partnership with Feinstein, with whom she’s amicably served since 1993.
Though ultimately futile, Boxer’s stand against the California water bill also foreshadows some of the big challenges ahead once the legislation takes effect. These include healing the rifts that have pit one region of the state against the other, managing the new Trump administration’s implementation of the law and coping with the inevitable litigation.
“It’s ugly, and it’s wrong, and it’s going to end up at the courthouse door,” Boxer predicted.
This year’s final California water package includes many elements, some of which are not especially controversial.
Non-native predatory fish in the Stanislaus River will be test-targeted for elimination. Money will support water recycling projects in cities such as Sacramento and San Luis Obispo, and to desalination projects like ones proposed for Southern California.
More controversially, the bill streamlines potential construction approval of Western water projects that could include Temperance Flat on the San Joaquin River and Sites Reservoir in the Sacramento Valley. The bill’s funding includes $335 million for the water storage projects, which is only a fraction of their total cost.
With highly technical but important language, the bill also directs the pumping of more water to farms south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and seeks to ensure that Sacramento Valley farmers receive all of their allocated water.
“This water is for the tens of thousands of small farms that have gone bankrupt, like a melon farmer who sat in my office with tears in his eyes,” Feinstein said.
Boxer, echoing environmentalists, countered that the real beneficiary will be “big agribusiness.”
All sides agree the California water package marks the biggest federal shift in the state’s water use since the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act, which focused more on protecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Farmers hated the CVPIA but, in a mirror image of this year’s water bill, it was included in a bigger package that rolled right over one of the state’s protesting senators.
The Republican senator who was left standing alone in fighting the 1992 bill, John Seymour, was subsequently defeated by Feinstein. One of the other big losers in that earlier legislative fight, the Westlands Water District, is among the victors in this year’s bill, after spending more than $1 million on lobbying in the last two years.
IT’S GOING TO RESULT IN PAIN AND SUFFERING AMONG OUR FISHING FAMILIES.Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
Other California water districts, farmer organizations and environmental groups poured resources into trying to shape the final bill. Feinstein stressed that she went through “dozens of versions” and consulted extensively with both the Obama administration and state officials to craft the legislation.
House Republicans, in turn, kept the pressure on by repeatedly passing more aggressive California water bills. These competing measures, led first in 2011 by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, and then by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, kept presenting Feinstein with an issue that would not go away.
Last year, for instance, Feinstein and Boxer jointly introduced a 147-page Senate bill not long after the Republican-controlled House approved a 170-page bill along largely party lines. The competing bills helped frame the subsequent negotiations.
“My House and Senate colleagues and the people of the Valley have fought long and hard to get this legislation passed out of both chambers,” Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, said Saturday.
The fighting, at times, turned personal. Last year, Feinstein angrily accused a McCarthy staffer of trying to sneak ambitious California water language onto another must-pass bill, while California’s House Republicans united in an extraordinary denunciation of the state’s two senators for alleged inaction in the face of an emergency.
Read the original article here.
In : Water Bill