Skip to content Skip to navigation

SARL Members and Alumni News

In Trump vs. California, the state is winning nearly all its environmental cases

Los Angeles Times | Posted on May 9, 2019

More than two years into the Trump presidency, California has embraced its role as chief antagonist — already suing the administration more times than Texas took President Obama to court during eight years in office.It’s having an effect.California’s lawsuits have targeted the administration’s policies on immigration, healthcare and education. But nowhere has the legal battle had a greater impact than on Trump’s agenda of dismantling Obama-era environmental and public health regulations.In its rush to delay, repeal and rewrite rules it considers unduly burdensome to industry, the administration has experienced significant setbacks in court. Federal judges have sided with California and environmental groups in cases concerning air pollution, pesticides and the royalties that the government receives from companies that extract oil, gas and coal from public land.

Vaccination-boosting bill passes Oregon House

Oregon Live | Posted on May 9, 2019

The highly controversial bill to eliminate loopholes in the state’s vaccination law passed the Oregon House on Monday and is on its way to the Senate. Gov. Kate Brown has already said she plans to sign House Bill 3063.The 35-25 vote fell largely along party lines, with two Republicans -- including Bend Rep. Cheri Helt, who introduced the bill -- voting in favor of its passage. Four Democratic representatives voted against it.

Protection for pre-existing health conditions passes in Nevada

Las Vegas Review Journal | Posted on May 9, 2019

Nevada stands to become the fifth state to fully incorporate the federal Affordable Care Act’s protections for patients with pre-existing conditions into state law after unanimous passage of a bill in the state Senate.Assembly Bill 170, which also sets up a procedure to help health care consumers navigate and resolve problems with insurers, was rewritten to incorporate safeguards that were originally the basis of a different Senate bill that passed earlier.The Assembly version passed on April 23 by a vote of 40-1, with Assemblywoman Robin Titus, R-Wellington, voting no. With Senate passage Tuesday, it now heads to the governor for his signature. Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, who sponsored the earlier Senate bill and carried the Assembly rewrite on the floor Tuesday, called its passage a “huge deal” 

Ohio lawmakers seek to relax profit limits on FirstEnergy, other utilities | Posted on May 9, 2019

State rules to prevent significantly excessive profits by FirstEnergy and other Ohio utilities would be loosened by language slipped into Ohio’s massive two-year budget bill. If passed, the Akron-based utility would stand to make more money from ratepayers, rather than having to issue refunds to more than a million customers in northeast and north-central Ohio.The amendment, one of dozens added by lawmakers last week, would change the state’s calculation of what constitutes “significantly excessive” profits in a way that allows the utility’s subsidiaries -- Ohio Edison, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison -- to “artificially dilute” the profits they report, said Jeff Jacobson of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel

Washington sets aside $21.55 million for faster rural internet

Capital Press | Posted on May 9, 2019

Over the next two years, Washington plans to lend $14.44 million and give another $7.11 million to public agencies, tribes and businesses to bring high-speed internet to rural areas and Indian reservations. The money, set aside in the new two-year capital budget, is a fraction of the $1 billion the Washington Independent Telecommunications Association estimates will be needed to blanket the state with service that meets the federal definition of high-speed internet.Because the funding will be mostly loans, the program may not do much to introduce internet to isolated areas with few paying customers, the association’s executive director, Betty Buckley, said.“If we could make money or even repay a loan, we’d have done it already,” said Buckley, who represents 18 small companies that serve rural areas. “We are cutting out the really remote areas,” she said. “Everyone wants to make rural broadband happen, but no one wants to pay for it.”

Bill Would Allow Vets To Report Suspected Animal Abuse

WUFT | Posted on May 9, 2019

Veterinarians in Florida may soon be able to report suspected animal abuse they witness at work. The Florida Senate is considering a criminal justice bill, HB 7125, that would allow vets to report suspected criminal violations, like animal abuse, to authorities as long as the animal doesn’t live on agricultural land. Clients who own the animal on agricultural land would need to be given notice before the vet can call the authorities.Currently, state law prohibits vets from discussing a patient’s condition without a subpoena and notice to the client. While federal law says health care providers may disclose information to authorities regarding child abuse or neglect, that doesn’t apply to animals.The law now penalizes vets who share medical records by referring them for disciplinary action by the state’s licencing board. If the bill passes, the Board of Veterinary Medicine would no longer have the authority to discipline a licensee, said Patrick Fargason, the spokesman for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.Of vets surveyed nationally, 87 percent said they’ve encountered at least one case of animal abuse at work

New York wants to fight climate change through good farming. Here's the dirt.

Grist | Posted on May 9, 2019

Dobson’s work drew the attention of Barrett a few years back. In 2015, she toured the farm for the first time and asked him for advice on how to incentivize climate change–thwarting farming practices. “It just seemed like a no brainer,” Barrett said. “New York can lead on this.” The resulting pilot project, included in this year’s state budget, will test out different methods of farming in a way that promotes soil health and fights global warming.It’s true that nothing quite compares to the natural ability of trees to soak up carbon dioxide. Reforesting parts of the U.S. could sink up 307 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 65 million cars), whereas cover cropping could mitigate 103 million metric tons (another 21 million cars), according to a 2018 study in Science Advances.But humans need farms to survive. And it’s Dobson’s kind of farm that might just help us survive in the long run.

Federal court rules Ohio’s congressional map is unconstitutional

Fox News | Posted on May 9, 2019

A federal court on Friday found Ohio’s congressional map unconstitutional, ordering that a new map be proposed by June ahead of the 2020 elections -- and blocking the state from holding another election under the current map.“Accordingly, we declare Ohio’s 2012 map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, enjoin its use in the 2020 election, and order the enactment of a constitutionally viable replacement,” the decision said.

In North Carolina, bill to raise electric vehicle registration fees stalls

Energy News Network | Posted on May 8, 2019

Meanwhile, a bill that would fine drivers for blocking charging stations advances in the House. Some North Carolina state lawmakers want to fine drivers of gasoline-powered cars for blocking charging plugs for electric vehicles. Others want to hike annual registration fees for plug-in cars to become the highest in the country.“On one side, you’ve got something good for [electric vehicles], on the other — really just the worst,” said freshman Sen. Wiley Nickel, a Democrat from Cary, who authored a bill (S511) to outlaw blocking charging stations and has fought against raising electric vehicle fees.

California to ban controversial pesticide blamed for harming child brain development

CBS News | Posted on May 8, 2019

The nation's most productive agricultural state will ban a widely used toxic pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies, California officials said. The move would outlaw chlorpyrifos after scientists deemed it a toxic air contaminant and discovered it to be more dangerous than previously thought. State Environmental Secretary Jared Blumenfeld said it's the first time the state has sought to ban a pesticide and the move was overdue."This pesticide is a neurotoxin and it was first put on the market in 1965," Blumenfeld said. "So it's been on the shelf a long time and it's past its sell-by date."