FROM Kathay Feng
Lawmakers' Five-Day Vacation to Maui -- All Expenses Paid This coming weekend, members of California's Assembly and Senate will be taking off for a five-day vacation at a five-star resort on the Island of Maui. It's all paid for by corporations and unions that try to influence the law-making process in Sacramento. They support a nonprofit called, the Independent Voter Project, which organizes the event. Every year, Patrick McGreevy of the LA Times tries to find out who's going and what they're going to be talking about.
Nonpartisan Goals and Political Expectations Elections are supposed to be competitive between political parties, but consider this. In the past 10 years in California, just one out of 53 congressional seats has changed hands, only six of 80 Assembly seats and no seats in the State Senate. That's because the state legislature drew district boundaries to preserve the status quo. Voters decided they'd had enough, and created a citizens commission to draw new lines using the data from this year's census. Eight of 14 commission members have been chosen by a complex process administered by the State Auditor — four Asian Americans, two whites, one Latino and one African American.
Prop 11 and the Politics of Redistricting Every ten years when there's a new federal census, the state legislature redraws boundaries for the Congress and the State Board of Equalization. They also reapportion their own districts in the Assembly and Senate. Proposition 11 on next month's ballot would take that last task away from the legislators themselves and give it to a board of 14 appointed commissioners.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?