FROM George Runner
Amazon, Traditional Business and the California Ballot The US Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that online retailers don't have to collect sales tax unless they have a physical presence in the state. Amazon is headquartered in Washington State, but Governor Brown has just signed a new law requiring it to pay taxes in California, on the grounds that Amazon's so-called "affiliates" give it a "presence" here. Amazon is trying to qualify a referendum for next year asking voters to turn that around.
Has Jessica’s Law Kept California Children Any Safer? Last year, 70% of California voters approved Jessica’s Law —a measure designed to crack down on sexual predators. It prohibits paroled offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or a park used by children. It requires that parolees wear GPS monitors for the rest of their lives. But local officials say the residency requirement is so tough that parolees can’t find places to live and that the GPS monitors are too expensive. Governor Schwarzenegger created the Sex Offender Management Board to study the problems, and it held hearings last week in San Francisco, Bakersfield and San Bernardino.
Schwarzenegger Cries Budget Wolf Governor Schwarzenegger once promised to " blow up the boxes " by reorganizing state agencies that are inefficient and sometimes dysfunctional. Now, he is boxed in by the very structural problems he and the legislature have failed to resolve.
Intransigent Republicans Attack Welfare The Assembly and Senate were supposed to pass a state budget almost a month ago. Last week the Assembly passed a $145 Billion dollar spending plan and left on vacation. Republicans in the Senate insisted the Assembly version was not balanced, and they refused to go along. The budget requires a two-thirds vote so they can hold it up, even though the Democrats are in the majority. Today the Republican Senators got specific about $840 Million dollars in cuts including a $300 Million cut from welfare.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?