Wednesday’s Briefing: Covered California Rates to Jump 12.5%; Big Oil Spent Big Money to Water Down Climate Bill

Plus, animal rights activists force Berkeley’s Local Butcher Shop to post sign decrying the killing of animals.


Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 2, 2017:

1. Insurance companies announced that they will raise rates under Covered California—the state’s version of Obamacare—by an average of 12.5 percent next year, reports Catherine Ho of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Part of the increase is due to threats by President Trump to defund Obamacare plans nationally. In Alameda County, rates are expected to increase by 8.3 percent—less than the statewide average—because Kaiser Permanente is raising prices by a lower amount.

2. The oil industry spent $2.5 million on lobbying this spring in Sacramento to water down climate-change legislation approved by the governor and the state legislature, reports Chris Megerian of the LA Times$. Many environmental groups have decried the new legislation, saying it’s too industry friendly. The new law bans local air districts from capping refinery greenhouse emissions.

3. The owners of Berkeley’s Local Butcher Shop, which specializes in grassfed, non-factory farm meat, agreed to post a sign in its front window, decrying the slaughter of animals, in order to appease militant animal rights activists who have been demonstrating weekly in front of the business, reports Natalie Orenstein of Berkeleyside. The business’ owners said they felt they had no choice but to agree to the activists’ demands.

4. Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney has racked up about $58,000 in debts in her legal defense fund, stemming from an investigation of her involvement in blocking a proposed housing project next to her home, reports Darwin BondGraham of the East Bay Express. McElhaney has received donations from Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, along with a host of lobbyists and real estate interests, but has not raised enough money to cover her legal expenses so far.

5. Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer and Library Director Jane Chisaki announced the selection of a veteran teacher and the president of a local poetry group as the city’s new poet laureates, reports Peter Hegarty of the East Bay Times$. Greg Kahane has taught for 30 years, including at Alameda’s at Haight Elementary School, Wood Middle School, and Encinal High School. Cathy Dana is president of Alameda Island Poets.

6. President Trump’s controversial plan to build a large border wall on the California border with Mexico will be exempt from environmental regulations, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced, KPBS reports (h/t Rough & Tumble).

7. President Trump is supporting a GOP plan to tightly restrict legal immigration into the United States, CNN reports.

8. The Trump Justice Department has also launched an initiative to overturn affirmative action admissions policies at colleges and universities around the country on the alleged grounds that they discriminate against white people, The New York Times$ reports.

9. And President Trump finally signed sanctions against Russia for meddling in last year’s presidential election, although he argued in a signing statement that part of the law, which drew widespread bipartisan support in Congress, is unconstitutional, the Washington Post$ reports.   

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.


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