The DC: NOAA worries about politicizing the weather, and... 📭 Should package theft be a felony?
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by Countable | 9.10.19
Welcome to Tuesday, September 10th, metric and imperial systems...
NOAA's chief scientist will investigate why the agency backed Trump over its own experts regarding Hurricane Dorian.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist, Craig McLean, said he plans on investigating whether the agency violated ethical and policy standards by backing President Donald Trump's incorrect assertion that Alabama "would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated."
Soon after Trump made his assertion on September 1st, the Birmingham, Alabama, NOAA office refuted the president's claim:
But on September 6th, the NOAA issued an unsigned statement defending Trump's week-long assertions that he was correct about Dorian threatening Alabama, writing "[t]he Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time."
In an email obtained by the Washington Post, McLean told staff the agency's response was “political” and a “danger to public health and safety.”
"My understanding is that this intervention to contradict the forecaster was not based on science but on external factors including reputation and appearance, or simply put, political," McLean wrote.
"If the public cannot trust our information, or we debase our forecaster’s warnings and products, that specific danger arises," McLean said.
California May Restrict 'Gig Economy'
The California legislature may soon approve a controversial bill that would restrict companies from classifying workers in “gig economy” jobs as independent contractors to avoid paying the benefits they’d be owed as employees.
If it’s enacted, several companies that rely on independent contractors — namely Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash — have pledged $90 million for a ballot measure that would repeal the bill.
Those in favor of the bill argue that corporations are exploiting workers by classifying workers as independent contractors to avoid paying them a minimum wage, payroll taxes, and providing other workplace protections.
Critics contend that workers choose to take jobs as independent contractors rather than employees because of the flexibility to work whenever, wherever, and for whomever they choose.
Before bills and nominations are brought up for a passage vote in Congress, they typically have to be considered and approved by relevant committees.
We take a thorough look at the hearings Congressional committees will be holding this week in our Committee Watch, but here are a few we're watching extra closely:
- Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to markup up six bills, including three gun control bills.
- Also today, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing titled “A $1.5 Trillion Crisis: Protecting Student Borrowers and Holding Student Loan Servicers Accountable”.
- On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up appropriation bills regarding: Defense; Energy & Water; State & Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services; and Education.
Under the Radar
Texas porch pirates beware: stealing packages is a felony in the Lone Star state as of September 1st.
HB 37 made stealing anything that can be considered mail a felony, including letters, postcards, packages, and other sealed items. Also included under the law is mail that has been left to be collected for delivery.
“They’re looking at time so it’s definitely a deterrent,” Texas state Rep. Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio) told KSAT. “All of our mail here in this building, we get hit several times. It’s a problem everywhere."
Molly, an Austin resident who didn’t provide her last name, told the local Fox affiliate she was "[h]appy to hear it is a felony [but] I don’t know if that will deter anyone from doing it, but I hope it does. We’ll see."
Your Gov at a Glance 👀
The White House: President Trump in D.C.
- At 12:30pm EDT, the president will have lunch with the vice president.
- At 2:15pm EDT, the president will deliver remarks at the 2019 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference.
- At 4:00pm EDT, the president will participate in the swearing-in ceremony of the ambassador to the United Nations.
The House of Representatives: In
- Voting on a bill to require the Federal Reserve to interview diverse candidates for regional bank president positions.
- Voting on a bill to loosen requirements for appraisers of FHA-insured mortgages.
- Voting on a bill to permanently authorize the USDA's program to support rural housing.
- Voting on two other bills.
The Senate: In
- Voting on the confirmation of Kelly Craft to be U.S. Representative to the UN General Assembly.
- Voting on the confirmation of Elizabeth Darling to be HHS Commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families.
- Taking procedural votes and potential confirmation votes on the nominations of director of the Office of Foreign Missions, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, and deputy secretary of Veterans Affairs.
What You're Saying
Here's how you're answering Should Federal Agencies Develop Strategies to Reduce Their Energy Usage?
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Also Worth a Click
- Mark Sanford Announces GOP Primary Challenge Against Trump
- Audit the Fed: Does Congress Need a Review of the Federal Reserve's Operations?
And, in the End…
On September 10th, 1953, Swanson introduced America to the "TV dinner":
TV dinner not microwave correctly? Point fingers—it's also Blame It on the Large Hadron Collider Day,
Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.
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