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Bill's Bills
By William Saracino

We'll begin with a bit of good news. No, really. A couple of the bad bills reported on previously actually died a well deserved death. The business community helped to stop SB 705 (Allen; D-Santa Monica) from reaching the Assembly. SB 705 would have prohibited food vendors from using take-out food containers made from polystyrene foam. The bill was placed on the Senate Inactive File by Senator Ben Allen where it will remain and won't be eligible for consideration until 2018. Also stopped was SB 567 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) which proposed multiple tax hikes on state employers. The bill targeted family-owned businesses that transfer the business upon death to other family members. SB 567 also sought to eliminate the current deduction allowed for compensation paid to executive officers for achieving performance-based goals. Senator Ricardo Lara moved the bill to the Senate Inactive File.

AB 1576 (Levine; D-San Rafael) was never brought up for a vote on the Assembly Floor. The bill proposed to significantly amend the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1998 so that businesses could easily have been sued for a consumer's assertion that there was a price difference for substantially similar goods due to the gender of the intended user. The bill would have required businesses to settle consumer complaints with a minimum of $4,000 in damages or face further costly litigation. Before you start feeling giddy however, there's still plenty of legislative excrement moving through the process. AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher; D-San Diego) Also known as the Public Shaming of California Employers Act, this bill imposes a mandate on California employers to collect data on the mean and median salaries paid to men and women under the same job title or description without also considering any bona fide reason for differences in compensation, to publicly shame California employers and expose them to costly litigation for alleged wage disparity where no violation of the equal pay law exists. SB 63 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Imposes new maternity and paternity leave mandate and unduly burdens and increases costs for small employers with as few as 20 employees by requiring 12 weeks of protected employee leave for child bonding and exposes them to the threat of costly litigation. And the absolute worst of the bunch, SB 562 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) creates a new single-payer government-run, multibillion-dollar health care system financed by an unspecified and undeveloped "revenue plan" which will penalize responsible employers and individuals and result in significant new taxes on all Californians and California businesses. This is the mutant whose estimated annual cost is twice - yes twice - the annual California budget. The Democrats have no idea - or at least they are not admitting that they do - of how to pay for this. Never the less, the Senate passed it onto the Assembly. On non-legislative matters:

There are rays of hope that the monopoly power of teachers' unions may soon be broken by a U.S. Supreme Court decision, the damage done to current students trapped in public schools is appalling. The latest numbers from the California Department of Education tell a tragic tale. According to an analysis of the data by CALmatters, less than one fourth of African American boys meet even the dumbed-down Common Core standards used by today's government schools. More than half of them scored in the lowest possible category, suggesting they are unable to read even the most basic material. Among Hispanic boys, less than a third met the dumbed-down government standards in English. And among whites, while the numbers are slightly better, more than 40 percent failed to meet even the basic standard. In every grade except 11th, less than 50 percent of students met the literacy standards, which again, are dumbed down to the extreme. Besides the hope of a Supreme Court decision, voters in the LAUSD obviously had seen enough, as they recently threw out the pro-union majority and installed an independent, pro-charter school majority on the L.A. Board for the first time - ever. Any improvement of course will take time - and tragically in the meantime it is the poorest children who are suffering the the teachers' unions neglect of their basic job - to teach. You no doubt saw the lapdog media drooling over Governor Moonbeam's trip to Communist China, though with the far-left majorities in the Legislature he certainly didn't need exposure to Marxist philosophy. His ostensible purpose was to sign a new "pact" with China about global cooling...err, global warming...err climate change. He did so - but I hate to burst his bubble. When the agreement is challenged in court - as it will be - it is going to run into that pesky document called the United States Constitution, which in Article 1, Section 10, reads in part: "No State shall, without the consent of Congress...enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign Power..."

And speaking of global climate whatever, reality keeps intruding on the enviro-whacko Chicken Littles, as a Canadian climate change expedition to the Artic had to be cancelled because of ...uhm...climate change! And guess in which direction? As the newspaper headline put it, "unprecedented thick summer ice". Hmm, now where would all that ice come from? The story went on to note that "the expedition had to be cancelled because the scientists' icebreaker was required by the Canadian Coast Guard for a rather more urgent purpose - rescuing fishing boats and supply ships which had got stuck in the unprecedented ice conditions. "It became clear to me very quickly that these weren't just heavy ice conditions, these were unprecedented ice conditions," Dr. David Barber, the lead scientist on the study, told us. "We were finding thick multi-year sea ice floes which on level ice were five metres thick... it was much, much thicker and much, much heavier than anything you would expect at that latitude and at that time of year." Climate change true-believers are the 21st century's flat earth society. That's it for now - please join your fellow club members at the 94th Aero Squadro to nosh, imbibe, and discuss these and other political tidbits. I look forward to seeing you. I'll be the Chill Wills look-a-like with the Moscow Mule in my hand.

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Chairman's Update - Richard Sherman
Being a Republican means working hard and in Los Angeles County, it also means being courageous – standing up against the Democrat orthodoxy, creating opportunities for you, and fighting against the odds.

The richness of our Party comes from the hard work, ingenuity, and diversity of our members and volunteers – people of all ages and all walks of life who embrace the Republican message and fall under our big tent. Republican values are American values – individualism, personal responsibility, and hard work – the same values that build families, communities, and businesses and invigorate our civil society.

With just under one million registered Republicans countywide, we are the largest County Party in the country, and our membership reflects that. We are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian; Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials; monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual speakers; first-generation legal immigrants and long-time Americans; and students, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers.

Our party members are in their respective communities volunteering for campaigns to get Republicans elected into office, organizing pro-Trump rallies, hosting speaker events and fundraisers for local causes, creating jobs through entrepreneurship, imagining new ways to expand the reach of Republicanism, and flying the stars and stripes proudly.

At the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, we are committed to providing an alternative to the status quo of increasing taxes and decreasing affordability by fighting against the Democrat establishment of one-party rule across the county and state.

We have supported strong candidates for local office across the county who seek to increase public safety and accountability. Republican candidates for School and Community College Board offer solutions to increase opportunity and choice in education rather than failed Democrat policies that rank California 42nd nationally.

At the national level, the media has been relentless in their attempts to delegitimize President Trump and our Republican leadership. We wish the media had been this dogged under the last eight years of the Obama Administration, but we are channeling that same spirit into a worthwhile cause: targeting the Democrat supermajority in our State Senate.

One of our next goals is to recall the election of State Senator Josh Newman and get a Republican back in office representing the 29th Senate District. After the Democrats in Sacramento were able to pass the gas tax, increasing the price we pay at the pump and decreasing our disposable income for the next several years, we cannot continue to allow their power to go unchecked.

Inherent in the American identity is a healthy suspicion of government and belief in checks and balances – institutional safeguards against the potential tyranny of the majority. One of the only ways we will be able to check the supermajority power of Democrats in Sacramento is to remove that supermajority entirely.

Together, we are leading the movement to restore accountability and reason at all levels of government, bringing your voice - the taxpayer’s voice - to Los Angeles County and California at large.

In 2017, the New Republican Party of Los Angeles County is retaking our seat at the negotiating table, and we are doing it with you.


Richard Sherman
Chairman, Republican Party of Los Angeles County

Bill Saracino is a member of the Editorial Board of CA Political Review and Treasurer of the Southern California Republican Women and Men.

Last week, labor unions took a series of body blows. First, it was announced Monday that Missouri had become the 28th right-to-work state. The Show-Me State showed the unions that worker freedom now takes precedence over their forced dues racket. Not only that, but according to F. Vincent Vernuccio, Director of Labor Policy at the Mackinac Center, a pending bill, SB 210, would end release time - a scam that allows teachers and other public employees to conduct union business during working hours paid for by the taxpayer. Also, SB 210 would allow workers in Missouri to periodically recertify their union (or not), subject government unions to the same transparency requirements as private sector unions and establish the right to a private ballot in government union organizing elections.

Also on Monday, the Center for Individual Rights announced it was filing a lawsuit against the state of California and the California Teachers Association on behalf of eight teachers and the Association of American Educators. Yohn v. CTA is focused on forced "agency fees," which unions use to finance their collective bargaining agenda. The plaintiffs argue that they have moral objections to the way the unions spend their money. As things stand now in non-right-to work states, all teachers are forced to financially support union policy concerning issues like school choice, tenure, seniority, etc. The lawsuit is similar to Friedrichs v CTA et al, filed by CIR in 2013, which was on its way to victory in SCOTUS. But Antonin Scalia's sudden death just a year ago led to a 4-4 split, leaving the original law in place. CIR hopes to get the case back before the Supreme Court during the 2017-2018 session. If the plaintiffs are successful, joining a teachers - or any public employee - union or paying them any dues whatsoever would be voluntary.

CTA president Eric Heins responded to the new lawsuit by trotting out standard-issue pieties from the union playbook. He claimed the goal of the new case was to "weaken all unions and the voice of working people." Heins is of course wrong. The case, if successful, will strengthen the voices of dissenting teachers while leaving the voices of other workers intact.

Then on Tuesday, the teachers unions and their fellow travelers descended into loopy-land. The spectacle after Betsy DeVos was narrowly confirmed as the new Secretary of Education was something to behold. What follows is a very small sample of comments emanating from the frothing naysayers:

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten (apparently with a straight face) said it was "a sad day for children."
CTA president Eric Heins referred to the nomination as "a blow to our nation."
National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia was defiant, insisting that "There will be no relationship with Betsy DeVos."
Factually challenged film maker Michael Moore tweeted, "The Senate Republicans have just sent a big FU to the school children of America. Even the worst countries don't sh*t on their own kids."
Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson, who apparently has been guzzling the Kool-Aid a bit too long, tweeted, "Betsy DeVos's policies will kill children. That is not an exaggeration in any sense."
Speaking a day before her confirmation, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, pointed out DeVos' lack of experience in the field, insisting that Education Secretary is "not a job for amateurs." (Note to Franken: Since your main qualification for running for the Senate was being a comedian on "Saturday Night Live" - and not a very funny one - maybe you should lighten up on the sanctimony.)
The viciousness toward DeVos is animated by several things: She is rich, a school choice supporter, a Christian, a school choice supporter, a Republican, and most of all, a school choice supporter. As such her goal is to provide the best education for every child in the country, whether it is via a private school, home school, charter school or traditional public school. This drives the public school monopolists nuts. The turf they have occupied - the one-size-fits-all 19th Century children-as-widgets education model - is endangered. Typical is Maine Senator Susan Collins, one of two Republicans who voted against DeVos' confirmation, "Her concentration on charter schools and vouchers, however, raises the question of whether or not she fully appreciates that the Secretary of Education's primary focus must be on helping states and communities, parents, teachers, school board members, and administrators strengthen our public schools." (Emphasis added.)

But Collins is wrong. The mission of the Dept. of Education is "to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation." Note that there is no mention at all of "public schools." Its focus is on improving education outcomes. Period.

What the unhinged mob doesn't understand - or at least won't acknowledge - is that DeVos is not a dictator who will rule over a vast national education empire. In fact, the great majority of education policy and financing is handled at the state and local level. Fordham Institute president Mike Petrilli understands this and is correct when he makes the case that, "Actually, Betsy DeVos is perfectly qualified to be Education Secretary." He points out that that DeVos' job concerns itself with education politics and policy and to "work with members of Congress and governors, to understand how a bill becomes a law, to provide moral support to reformers as they fight it out in the states and at the local level. With her decades of involvement in politics, with policymakers, and in the trenches of the parental choice movement, DeVos is an inspired choice for the job...."

National Association of Scholars' president Peter Wood suggests that being an outsider makes DeVos an especially good pick. "The strength of Secretary DeVos's appointment is that she brings strong independent leadership to American education. She will not be steered by organized labor or by the higher education establishment. This means that we have the opportunity for real reform."

While the teachers unions had a bad week, it was just the latest in a series of recent upsets for them. The NEA and AFT collectively gave over $36 million in the last election cycle to Super PACs - 100 percent of which went to Democrats. Yet after the voters weighed in, the U.S. wound up with a Republican president, Republican majorities in the Senate and House, 32 Republican dominated state legislatures and 33 Republican governors.

Dictatorial union ways are in decline. Right-to-work laws, teacher-freedom litigation and a Secretary of Education not beholden to the unions or any other special interest group will reap benefits for children, parents, teachers and taxpayers.

May the good times continue.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network - a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

LINKS to Republican Oriented Websites and Articles (For your information and perusal)

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