Tag: Votes

Siskiyou County Board Of Supervisors Votes To Secede From California

Northern California County Board Votes For Secession From State – KCBS

Supervisors in a far Northern California county where residents are fed up with what they see as a lack of representation at the state capitol and overregulation have voted in favor of separating from the state.


The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday for a declaration of secession, the Record Searchlight of Redding reported. The vote appears mostly symbolic since secession would require approval from the state Legislature and the U.S. Congress, but supporters say it would restore local control over decision making. They want other rural counties in Northern California and Southern Oregon to join them in the creation of a new state called the State of Jefferson.

“Many proposed laws are unconstitutional and deny us our God-given rights,” Gabe Garrison of Happy Camp said at the meeting. “We need our own state so we can make laws that fit our way of life.”

Garrison was among more than 100 people who attended the meeting, and most were in support of the declaration, according to the Record Searchlight.

The declaration does not launch any type of formal process toward secession, but only reflects the county’s support, said Tom Odom, the county’s administrative officer.

The idea to create the separate state of Jefferson goes back decades. It gained momentum in 1941, when the mayor of a southern Oregon town called on counties in the region and their neighbors in California to form a new state. The goal was to raise attention to the region’s poor roads.

The movement became popular, especially in Siskiyou County, where residents have long felt that their concerns are overshadowed by more populated parts of California. It was shelved after the attack at Pearl Harbor, though its spirit lives on today.

Another proposal that came up two years ago in Riverside County called on more than a dozen mostly conservative counties to break off and form the state of South California.

Residents of the majority-Republican Siskiyou County lobbied the board in August to consider secession, according to the Record Searchlight. In addition to a lack of representation in Sacramento, they cited concerns about water rights and a rural fire prevention fee.

The $150 annual fee was approved by the Legislature in 2011 to offset the costs of providing fire service to people who live far from services. It affects more than 825,000 homeowners who were billed for the first time between August and December of last year.

“I haven’t had one contact in regard to this issue that’s in opposition,” Supervisor Michael Kobseff said about the secession declaration.

The lone vote in opposition was cast by Board Chair Ed Valenzuela. Valenzuela said he took an oath to uphold the state Constitution and was elected to solve problems within the existing system.

Voters in some Colorado counties are also considering secession. The issue is on the ballot in at least three counties.

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Arizona Senate Votes To Approve Guns For Any School Employee

Senate Votes To OK Gun For Any School Employee – Arizona Daily Star

State senators voted Wednesday to allow a teacher, administrator, custodian or even a cafeteria worker at rural and some suburban schools to be armed.


Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, said SB 1325 would improve student safety. He said while better mental-health screening and more police officers at schools are important, it is also necessary to provide schools with a “self-defense component.”

Crandall joined with other Republicans to beat back an effort to require that whoever is designated to carry a gun must report to police if the weapon is lost or stolen. That brought derision from Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix.

“The only reason that gun owners do not want to report they lost their gun or they misplaced it is because they’re too embarrassed,” Gallardo said. “They don’t want people to know that they’re an irresponsible firearm holder.”

And Gallardo said that notice of an errant gun really should not be limited to police.

“At the very least, I would believe every parent would want to know that their child is going to a school that may have a gun roaming around,” he said.

Crandall’s legislation needs a final roll-call vote before going to the House.

The measure is limited to schools with fewer than 600 students that also are more than 30 minutes and 20 miles from the closest law-enforcement facility. He said the most isolated schools, like those in Crown King and Wikieup, are far too far away from anything to be able to depend on prompt police response.

The Republicans who control the Senate also killed an attempt by Gallardo to scale back the legislation so it would apply only to schools of fewer than 200. Crandall said larger schools need similar self-defense capacity, specifically mentioning the elementary and high schools in Elfrida.

But the Senate action may not be the last word. Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, already has said he hopes to expand the scope of the legislation when the measure reaches the House.

Stevens had crafted a proposal to allow an armed teacher at all of the state’s more than 2,000 public schools. But it was introduced too late to get a hearing of its own.

Crandall said his legislation is modeled after laws in Texas that give school districts similar permission to let school employees be armed.

Aside from the school size and location limits, the legislation says weapons either must be carried concealed by the designated employee or secured in a storage locker.

Senate Minority Leader Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, questioned the whole premise of allowing a school board to decide whether one of its employees is qualified to be armed and potentially walking around the building with a loaded weapon.

But Senate Majority Leader John McComish, R-Phoenix, dismissed those concerns.

“Who better to decide than the local school board, elected by the local community?” he said. Ultimately, he said it will be up to the community, acting through the school board, that decides whether it wants any employee armed.

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House Votes To Stop Obama’s War On Coal

House Votes To Stop The ‘War On Coal’ – Daily Caller

On Friday, the House of Representatives voted 233 to 175 to stop the Obama administration’s so-called “war on coal,” passing a bill that would limit the EPA’s regulatory authority over greenhouse gases and limit the Interior Department’s ability to issue coal mining rules.

“The Obama administration’s ‘all of the above but nothing from below’ energy policy threatens our electricity independence,” wrote Republicans Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan and Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma in an op-ed Thursday.

The vote was largely split along party lines, with 19 Democrats voting with 214 Republicans. Meanwhile, 13 Republicans broke with their party and voted against the bill along with 162 Democrats.

The Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 is a bundle of provisions which the House has already passed, including one prohibiting the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and another which is an alternative to EPA rules for coal ash disposal and management.

The bill also restricts the Interior Department from issuing regulations regarding surface mining operations and limits the EPA’s ability to veto permits issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, while also promoting the cooperation between the federal government and the states regarding water pollution controls.

“Since taking office, the Obama Administration has waged a multi-front war on coal – on coal jobs, on the small businesses in the mining supply chain, and on the low-cost energy that millions of Americans rely upon,” said Washington Republican Rep. Doc Hastings on the House floor Thursday.

However, the bill faces an uncertain fate in the Democratic-led Senate, and President Barack Obama has threatened a veto.

Democrats argue the coal industry is on the decline because of competition from other energy sources like cheap natural gas, and not because of regulations.

“Republicans have been so busy manufacturing fake wars on coal and oil that they’ve missed the real American energy revolution in natural gas, wind, solar and other cleaner, cheaper forms of energy,” Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Ed Markey said.

“Republicans do favors for coal and oil, even though their prices are going up and jobs are going away. Then they attack and ignore clean energy and natural gas, even though their prices are going down and the jobs they create are adding up,” Markey added.

It has been a rough year for the coal industry starting off in January with an announcement by FirstEnergy of the early retirement of six plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland because of costs and uncertainty over new EPA regulations.

In February, GenOn announced it was shuttering 13 percent of its generating capacity by 2015 due to new environmental regulations.

Over the summer, OhioAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy Corp., announced layoffs in Ohio after five years of operation and that about 50 employees would be affected. PBS Coals Inc. and its affiliate, RoxCoal Inc., laid off 225 workers working in deep and surface mines in July, citing low demand and aggressive regulations.

Patriot Coal recently announced it was going to cut coal production by 85,000 tons per month for 60 days, which will impact 250 jobs across three mine complexes in Southern West Virginia – the latest in a series of cutbacks in recent months.

Earlier this week, coal company Alpha Natural Resources announced it would be laying off 1,200 workers and closing eight coal mines to face two new challenges: cheap natural gas and “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.”

“These lost jobs aren’t random events – they are the direct result of the policies and actions of the Obama Administration – these are the outcomes of their regulatory war on coal,” Hastings added.

New analysis by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity found that more than 200 coal-based electric generating units across 25 states are scheduled for shut down in part due EPA regulations, equivalent to shutting down the entire electricity supply of Ohio.

“This is further evidence that EPA is waging a war on coal, and a war on affordable electricity prices and jobs,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE.

“EPA continues to ignore the damage that its new regulations are causing to the U.S. economy and to states that depend on coal for jobs and affordable electricity,” he added.

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House Votes To Block Obama’s Change To Welfare Requirement

House Votes To Block Obama’s Change To Welfare Requirement – The Hill

The House voted Thursday to block the Obama administration’s decision to let states waive the current work requirement for welfare recipients.

Members approved the Republican resolution of disapproval in a 250-164 vote, after a bitter debate in which Republicans charged President Obama with trying to change the law without consulting Congress, and Democrats said Republicans were raising the issue to help GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney after his widely criticized remarks about people on welfare. Nineteen Democrats voted for the resolution.

While the measure passed the House, the Obama administration’s change to the implementation of the welfare law will remain in effect until the Senate approves the resolution, which is not expected to happen.

Republicans said the rule, from the Department of Health and Human Services, would gut a central element of the 1996 welfare reform law that created the current system under which federal welfare benefits are delivered through block grants to states. That law requires 50 percent of a state’s welfare recipients to be working, or undertake efforts to prepare for work, such as training or looking for a job, which Republicans say is a critical component.

“The requirement that 50 percent of a State’s welfare caseload work or prepare for work was a central part of the bipartisan 1996 welfare reforms signed into law by President Clinton,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said. “Those reforms were overwhelmingly successful in reducing welfare dependency and poverty while increasing work and earnings.”

Camp also said the change is “unlawful,” as the work requirement is in a part of the law that cannot be waived, and because the change was found to be a rule that was never notified to Congress.

Democrats argued repeatedly that several “fact checkers” in the media have found that GOP claims that the change would gut the welfare reform law are not true. This argument rests on the idea that the waivers could only be granted to states who are looking to put in place a new welfare program that meets the 1996 law’s goal of getting more people to work.

Republicans rejected that by noting the Obama administration made a unilateral decision to create the waiver without any consultation with Congress despite the practical changes made in the implementation of the law. They added that this came after years in which former administrations said they did not believe they had any authority to waive the work requirements.

“I don’t understand why my friends on the other side of the aisle are defensive about this,” said Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). “This is nothing to defend. This is to say the White House made an error in engaging substantively in downgrading work requirements for welfare, and rather than being defensive about it, say, ‘Look, they messed up.’ ”

Democrats spent most of the debate arguing that Republicans were dodging more pertinent issues such as the farm bill and the uncertainty over taxes, and called up the resolution in order to score political points as the November election nears.

Several Democrats went further by saying the vote was meant to help Mitt Romney’s election chances, particularly after Romney’s much-maligned comment that 47 percent of voting Americans believe they are entitled to welfare and other benefits.

“Just because the candidate for president made another mistake, we’re going to have to now legislate something to show that we think he makes any sense,” Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said, describing what he presumed to be the motive of Republicans. “It is wrong and it ain’t going nowhere.”

“This is a paid political broadcast brought to you by the majority side of the Ways and Means Committee,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said.

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said work on the welfare resolution was typical of the GOP-led Congress that has left several key issues until after the election.

“The bill before us today exemplifies the do-nothing Republican Congress,” he said. “Once again, Republicans are choosing to focus on a political message over serious issues like jobs, middle-class tax cuts or a farm bill.”

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