A recently approved trade agreement that divided Congress almost
evenly down partisan lines, also split local legislators down the
The House on Wednesday voted to ratify the Dominican
Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement, which would open up
new markets for, and reduce tariffs on, U.S. goods.
The pact was approved by the Senate last month.
Rep. David Dreier came out as strongly in favor of the agreement
as Rep. Adam Schiff was opposed.
The agreement helps address serious cross-border security
concerns, Dreier said on the floor of the House Wednesday. The
economy of foreign countries and U.S. security are becoming
increasingly intertwined, he said.
“We can not afford to pretend that poor political and economic
conditions outside our borders do not affect our security as a
nation,” he said.
The agreement addresses the issue of illegal immigration by
providing more economic opportunity to countries immigrants flee for
the U.S., Dreier said.
“If we want to address illegal immigration, we must address its
root causes,” he said.
All California Republicans in Congress voted to support the bill,
and all of the state’s Democrats voted against it.
The trade agreement will hurt U.S. jobs, businesses and the
environment, Schiff said.
“I hope that the administration lives up to its commitment to
enforce intellectual property protection, labor standards and
environmental protections,” Schiff said. “I have been concerned with
the administration’s record in the past.”
While the U.S. government continues to open its border to foreign
markets, it has not done enough to make sure that American companies
can break into overseas markets, Schiff said.
“The playing field has to be leveled,” he said. “We have been
content to open up our markets without insisting that other countries
open up theirs.”
Schiff seeks lifetime monitoring for sex offenders
Sexual predators would be required to wear lifetime electronic
monitoring devices under an amendment proposed by Rep. Adam Schiff,
which passed a key committee Thursday.
If approved by Congress, Schiff’s amendment would be attached to
his larger Childrens Safety Act -- a comprehensive bill aimed to
combat sex offenders who prey on children.
States that meet requirements of the bill within three years of
the bill’s enactment would receive a 10% bonus in law enforcement
States would be required to provide lifetime electronic monitoring
for a released sex offender if the victim was younger than 12 or
where the offender had a prior sex offense conviction.
The offender would be required to wear a GPS tracking unit,
probably an ankle bracelet during probation, parole or supervised
Schiff’s impetus for the most recent amendment to his bill was a
visit with Mark Lunsford, the father of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford,
who was allegedly molested and murdered by a sexual predator in
“It had a very strong impact on me,” Schiff said. “What he is
enduring is every parents’ nightmare.”
Not even rehabilitated offenders would be spared from the
monitoring, Schiff said.
“People who molest children are a very poor prospect for
rehabilitation,” he said. “They are a continuing danger, and they
should be locked up and to the degree they are released, they should
be continually monitored.”
Most states have laws requiring sexual offenders to register and
update their place of residence when they move, but the requirement
is flawed, he said.
A means of keeping nurses local
To address the severe shortage in critical care nurses in trauma
care facilities and emergency rooms in Los Angeles County, the Board
of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a scholarship program for
nurses who commit to serving four years at Los Angeles Country’s
hospitals or clinics.
The motion, put forth by Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s, also
proposed similar scholarships to current nurses who successfully
complete advanced coursework in specialty nursing services including
critical and emergency care.
The Health Services Department will report back to the board in 30
days with an evaluation of the proposals and current county nurse