When Californians approved Proposition 64 to legalize marijuana in California last November, it was no secret that the drug would remain illegal under federal law. But that fundamental contradiction seemed manageable at the moment because the federal government had largely taken a hands-off approach to states that had already allowed the recreational sale and use of marijuana, and candidate Donald Trump had said he would let states decide on legalization. The risk of a clash with the federal government seemed low compared with the benefit of replacing the state's quasi-legal medical marijuana regime and its underground market for recreational pot with a regulated and controlled system for adults. That's one reason The Times endorsed the proposition last year. Now, however, we have President Trump, who seems to have forgotten his laissez faire stance on marijuana, and Atty.
The survey, released by smart-cities research and advocacy organization Smart Government, underscores the opposition by some cities and local government groups to a provision in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act that would make the FAA the sole regulator over drones, the group said. The provision would prohibit state and local governments from passing their own drone regulations and restrictions. Some local governments want the authority to pass their own restrictions covering where drones can be used. The survey comes out the same week that a federal advisory committee has proposed rules that would expand the uses of small commercial drones. In the Smart Government survey, 68 percent of those polled agreed that state and local governments should make drone rules because the federal government does not know the particular concerns of their community well enough.
President Trump seems to have mended fences with most Republican governors, even hosting a cordial meeting last month with'never Trumper' John Kasich of Ohio. But one GOP governor from the land of Bernie Sanders is emerging as the exception – threatening to cause turbulence for the president from the same side of the aisle. Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who was elected comfortably in one of the smallest and most liberal states on the same night Trump shocked the nation by defeating Hillary Clinton, is taking on Trump's executive orders boosting immigration enforcement. He has done so on two fronts: assembling a special "cabinet" to push back and promoting legislation to challenge what he calls federal overreach. "[I]t is increasingly clear that many elements in the orders have the potential to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens, and infringe on states' rights afforded by the Tenth Amendment," Scott said last month, joined by a bipartisan group of state officials supporting the bill.
The head of California's emergency services on Monday penned a letter to the U.S. Forest Service that raised to prospects that the state may stop protecting national forests during fires. Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci said the agency has stiffed local governments $18 million for fighting wildfires on federal lands last year. "I cannot continue to support the deployment of resources to protect federal land that ultimately may bankrupt our local governments," Ghilarducci said in the letter sent Monday to Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell. Rich Webb, chief of the Linda Fire Protection District, said the federal government's failure to meet the deadlines was particularly hard on smaller communities that had to push budget shortfalls to the current fiscal year. Some communities were just recently reimbursed for last summer's Cedar Fire in Sequoia National Forest and several Northern California counties are still awaiting payments for other fires.
The Trump Administration's proposed budget, which was released earlier this week, was more of a wish list than a policy blueprint. The proposal was distinguished by its call for deep cuts to the social safety net. But the document wasn't all cuts: it included a significant boost in spending on immigration enforcement. A hundred million dollars is earmarked for Border Patrol; a hundred and eighty-five million dollars for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to hire hundreds of new agents; $1.2 billion for ICE to expand its detention facilities; and another hundred and thirty-one million dollars to institute a mandatory program for employers to run immigration background checks on potential hires. In an appendix buried on page five hundred and forty-four of the budget, the Administration also proposed changing a law so that the government could withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, places where local law enforcement resists coöperating with federal immigration authorities.