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.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
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?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?