Represent! | Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Senate avoids poison pill; immigration debate advances

California Democrat Barbara Boxer has half a dozen amendments she wants added to the Senate immigration bill.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Immigration reform jumped a giant hurdle Thursday as Senate Democrats killed a poison pill amendment designed to stall legalization of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. It's the first of a long list of amendments to the Senate's immigration reform bill — including one that could help L.A. and other Southern California counties.

The amendment from the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley of Iowa, would have postponed legalization for undocumented immigrants until the U.S.-Mexico border is secure for six months. The measure failed 57-43 in a procedural move by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. 

It's the first of many amendments, including a number of tough border security measures. But the way the Majority Leader handled this first amendment infuriated Grassley, who labeled the "so-called open and fair process a farce."

California Democrat Barbara Boxer has proposed several amendments, including one that would reimburse providers — such as L.A. County — for the cost of treating uninsured, undocumented patients in hospital emergency rooms. She called it a "national opportunity to say counties and cities are going to have this extra burden and let's help them a little bit."

The Senate bill currently forbids spending federal dollars on health care for undocumented people.


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Maven's Morning Coffee: lights out for medical marijuana clinics, a commission on child welfare, a step back for reform in Anaheim

Federal authorities have ordered 100 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County to close.
H. Lee

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, June 13, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


Federal prosecutors are cracking down on a 100 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County, reports the Daily News. "The government's actions represent the latest effort to enforce federal laws and the newest challenge to California's 17-year-old, voter-approved law allowing the sale of marijuana as a medicinal treatment," according to the paper.

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas wants a blue ribbon commission created to look at child protection, reports KPCC. The 10-member board would be tasked with reforming the Department of Children and Family Services. Meanwhile, an editorial from the Los Angeles Times seems to endorse the idea. "The supervisors should see this as the last, best and final opportunity to leave behind a county child welfare system that works, or at least one that is on the road to improvement."


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California Counties and state lawmakers reach provisional plan for Medi-Cal expansion

Thousands of uninsured patients attend a free temporary health clinic In Los Angeles.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

After months of wrangling over how to pay to expand Medi-Cal--California’s  health care program for low-income residents--counties and state lawmakers have sketched out a formula for splitting the costs.

California opted to expand Medi-Cal by more than a million people next year as part of federal health care reform.  

In exchange, the Brown Administration asked counties to relinquish hundreds of millions of dollars they get from the state each year to treat the poor at public hospitals and clinics.  The thinking was that counties costs would drop because many of those people would be eligible for Medi-Cal.

But local officials pushed back.

LA County lobbied for a cost-based formula for figuring out how much money, if any, counties should give back. 

“The most important thing for L.A. County was to have an agreement with the state where our costs are taken care of as it relates to the Medi-Cal expansion in addition to making sure that our safety net is sustained, ” county Assistant Chief Executive Officer Ryan Alsop said Wednesday.


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What does Darrell Issa want?

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, whose district straddles San Diego and Orange counties, has raised his national profile as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
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A California Republican is in the spotlight on Capitol Hill, taking on the Justice Department, the IRS and the Obama administration. But what does Southern California Congressman Darrell Issa want? 

Issa seems to be everywhere these days – CNN, the Sunday talk shows, even "Saturday Night Live." But most especially while chairing the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Issa has led investigations into the ill-fated ATF gun running operation known as “Fast and Furious,” in which guns tracked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were found near where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed.  He's looked into lavish spending at IRS training conferences.

Since calling the President’s press secretary a “paid liar” earlier this month, Issa has avoided the media, including a request to be interviewed for this story. Still, University of California political science professor Marc Sandelow says Issa’s spotlight is growing brighter as he leads two investigations: the deaths of four Americans when the U.S. compound in Libya was overrun by Islamic extremists; and the extra scrutiny the Internal Revenue Service has given to conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.


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Ridley-Thomas wants blue ribbon panel on LA child protection agency

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas wants a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to examine the Department of Children and Family Services.

Amid new concerns Los Angeles County is failing to protect children from physically abusive parents, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Thursday called for the creation of a blue ribbon commission on child protection.

He cited the recent death in Palmdale of Gabriel Fernandez, 8, who suffered a skull fracture and had severe burn marks on his body. Prosecutors have charged his mother and her boyfriend with murder.

“Once again, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is under scrutiny,” Ridley-Thomas said in a written statement. “In Gabriel’s case, there appear to have been repeated reports of abuse and neglect preceding his death.”

Ridley-Thomas also pointed to the 2009 death of a six-year-old boy, “despite repeated reports of abuse,” and the 2011 death of a two-year-old girl  from “massive trauma inflicted by her mother’s boyfriend.”


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