The U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs has canceled its contract with a California state agency that approves colleges to receive GI Bill funds, after a lengthy dispute over how to regulate for-profit and out-of-state schools.
The VA said Friday it will take over responsibility for deciding which California schools qualify to receive military education benefits, a role it has traditionally delegated to states.
But state officials insist that state law authorizes them to carry out those responsibilities and say they will continue to do so — setting the stage for another potential showdown between California and the Trump administration.
The dispute comes after the VA pushed the California State Approving Agency for Veterans Education to approve the payment of GI Bill benefits to Ashford University, an online for-profit college. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is suing Ashford, alleging the school lied to prospective students about financial aid and job outcomes, and engaged in illegal debt collection practices. State regulators said they would not act on the university’s application while the lawsuit is pending.Read More
Updated on August 16, 2019.
As President Donald Trump published controversial new rules on Monday making it harder for legal immigrants to get green cards if they use — or are likely to use — Medicaid, food stamps and other social safety net programs, California has reacted with anticipated outrage—and a new lawsuit.
“This is a reckless policy that targets the health and well-being of immigrant families and communities of color,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference earlier this week.
He followed that up with a starker assessment of President Trump’s motivates as he announced a lawsuit this morning: “He has a particular problem with brown people.”
The new rule “is unprecedented. And that is what truly makes this really a scary proposition for a lot of people.”
Give Gavin Newsom credit on this one. Signing a bill that would require Donald Trump to disclose his tax returns to qualify for next year’s California primary ballot was a savvy political maneuver for our governor.
Not only does it reinforce his pre-eminence as the state’s preeminent Resistor-in-Chief, his decision unites his party behind him at a time when he is preparing to take on difficult policy challenges that are likely to divide it.
California Democrats may not agree on housing or education or tax policy, but they are fully united in their animosity toward Trump. Newsom is smart enough to realize that any criticism he takes from his own party on these and other issues will be muffled by the unanimity of support he will receive from taking potshots at the president. So kudos to a politically adroit governor for a shrewd political stratagem.
But the practical impact of Newsom’s maneuver is negligible and the potential downside is considerable.
The question of whether a state can impose additional requirements on a presidential candidate beyond those specifically outlined in the U.S. Constitution is an unsettled one. Legal experts are lining up on both sides of the argument with a level of ferocity that suggests a drawn-out court battle.Read More
Gov. Gavin Newsom set off a blizzard of criticism last week by signing a law requiring that all presidential and gubernatorial candidates provide five years’ of income tax returns in order to appear on California’s primary ballot.
Most of the pearl-clutching has plopped into the following three baskets:
I’m neither a constitutional lawyer nor scholar–don’t even play one on TV–but I can read plain English, and as several real constitutional experts have opined, I see nothing whatsoever unconstitutional about this measure. The Constitution clearly gives states the power to determine how their presidential electors are chosen.
And there is urgency. Newsom was particularly justified because the United States is facing an unprecedented circumstance with arguably the most utterly corrupt president ever to sit in the White House.Read More
Jeanny Morris had a 1-year-old baby and a resume of dead-end retail jobs when she enrolled in the Marinello Schools of Beauty cosmetology program in 2012. She used her welfare benefits to pay for transportation to and from school where, she says, staff pressured her to take out student loans to pay for supplies they had previously promised to provide, such as books, drapes and combs.
Classes intended to prepare students to pass the state’s licensing exam were chaotic, Morris said, neglecting basic skills such as giving perms. Teachers often left students alone to watch YouTube videos. Fights broke out in the parking lot.
“It was like [the movie] Dangerous Minds, minus the good teacher,” the El Dorado Hills resident said.
Morris graduated from the 10-month program with more than $22,000 in student debt, but today is unemployed, saying she’s been unable to find work that pays more than minimum wage.
“I made more money without my cosmetology license than I do with it,” she said. Read More
The old joke about the California lieutenant governor’s office has been that its occupant’s main duty is to wake up in the morning, see whether the governor is still alive and, if so, go back to bed.
But that was before Gov. Gavin Newsom made Eleni Kounalakis his point woman on President Donald Trump’s trade wars.
Now, California’s lieutenant governor is among the busier officeholders in Sacramento—hustling to meet with members of Congress, federal agencies and trade organizations and deploying whatever influence she can to protect California’s place in the world market.
Last September, China added a 10% tariff on U.S. wine imports, atop a previous 15% tariff increase implemented in April 2018. Photo by Susan Tripp Pollard, Bay Area News Group
She has her work cut out for her. It has been a year since Trump sent a collective shudder through California’s economy, imposing taxes on imported steel and aluminum that in turn prompted China to impose new tariffs on agricultural products. Read More
California is once again defending the Affordable Care Act, leading a coalition of Democratic states against a small army of Republican lawmakers seeking to undo the Obama administration’s signature healthcare law.
This morning, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and 16 other attorneys general appealed last month’s ruling by a federal judge in Texas that declared the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, unconstitutional.
“I’ve seen how the ACA has transformed lives and I’ve seen it up close,” Becerra said in a phone call with the press this morning. “That is why so many of us are committed to defending the ACA.”
Many legal experts, both liberal and conservative, have predicted that the Texas ruling will be overturned by a higher court. Last month, Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth ruled on a lawsuit filed against the federal government by top law enforcement officers and other elected leaders of 20 states, including Texas and Florida. That legal coalition of red states argued that the individual mandate, which requires people to either buy insurance or pay a fee, was unconstitutional. The Texas judge agreed—and argued that the healthcare law should be nixed in its entirety.
In 2012, the United States Supreme Court gave the green light to the mandate, arguing that Congress had the right to penalize the uninsured through its power to impose taxes. When Congress eliminated that fee as part of its sweeping change to the federal tax code last year, Republican lawmakers argued that the mandate could no longer be upheld as a tax. Read More
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is labeling as unconstitutional the Trump administration’s proposed rule that would block some legal immigrants from getting a green card if they’ve used—or may use in the future—public services like health care, food assistance and housing programs.
Just hours before a midnight Monday deadline for comment, Becerra submitted a 51-page denouncement of the “public charge” rule, warning it would have “dire consequences for the vitality of California and undermine our State’s investment in our communities and our commitment to supporting working families.”
Since the proposal’s release, he has promised to take “any and all legal action to challenge this reckless proposal.” Becerra already has sued the Trump administration 42 times, with nine of those cases contesting President Trump’s immigration moves.
Becerra’s latest comment contends that the Trump administration has “utterly failed to account for the potential impact the Proposed Rule has on states and their residents, especially in California. The Rule will have truly damaging and irreparable ramifications to our State’s families, employers, economy, and public agencies for years to come.” It says the proposal unconstitutionally targets immigrant communities of color and interferes with California’s administration of programs that benefit the health and safety of its residents.
The controversial proposal is viewed as another step in the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce migration from developing countries and make it more difficult for poorer immigrants to stay and potentially pursue a path to U.S. Citizenship. More than 115,000 comments have been filed nationwide in anticipation of the federal government issuing a final determination. Read More
President Donald Trump is largely to blame for the GOP wipeout in California’s midterm election, two of the state’s most prominent pollsters said Monday. He’s so widely disliked in California that his Republican presidency motivated voters to help Democrats flip at least six House seats, which appears to have had the ripple effect of flipping about seven GOP seats in the state Legislature.
“As one of the most polarizing figures in modern U.S. politics, Trump really did set the table for the potential blue wave that eventually swept the state. He gave Democrats and the Democratic Party here an historic opportunity and they exploited it to the fullest,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll.
He offered some numeric evidence to back up his conclusion. Before the election, DiCamillo conducted polls for the Los Angeles Times in eight contested House races, all represented by Republicans. In six of those districts, Trump’s approval rating was below 50 percent. Democrats flipped all six. In two districts—held by GOP Reps. Duncan Hunter and Devin Nunes—Trump’s approval rating was, respectively, 54 percent and 56 percent. Both Republican incumbents won re-election.
“There was this extremely strong correlation between how voters were rating the job that President Trump was doing as president and who they were supporting in their district for Congress,” DiCamillo said.
He compared Democratic successes in the Trump era to Republican wins under Democratic President Barack Obama, and said the GOP strategy to boost Republican turnout with Proposition 6—a ballot measure to repeal the gas-tax increase—“really didn’t pan out.” Nearly 57 percent of voters rejected the repeal, and Democrats have won six of the seven GOP House seats they targeted. The seventh, held by GOP Rep. David Valadao of Hanford, is still too close to call, with Democratic challenger TJ Cox of Fresno pulling to within less than 1,000 votes by the end of today. Read More