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.
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?