LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved more than 300 legislative priorities that it plans to promote with congressional representatives in Washington, D.C.
The county’s overarching priority is to avoid losing any federal funding, especially from Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance, Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai stated in a letter to the board.
The CEO highlighted what she called the “unfinished business” of Congress, including appropriations for the current fiscal year, “avoiding automatic spending cuts as the result of sequestration, funding for hurricane and wildfire disaster relief, measures to address the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and stabilizing the (Affordable Care Act’s) health insurance markets.”
The county will oppose proposals that would further weaken the ACA and push back against recommendations to change Medicaid funding to state block grants.
It will also continue to take stands less directly tied to federal funding, including the protection of an estimated 1 million undocumented immigrants that live in Los Angeles County.
“The county will continue to support proposals to assist undocumented immigrants who meet certain conditions, including those who entered the country as children, are parents or spouses of U.S. citizens, served in our military, and/or would face extreme hardship if they were removed from the country,” according to the letter.
One possibility for bipartisan cooperation Hamai cited was a push for infrastructure development, with an emphasis on $2.8 billion of unfunded transportation needs, including road and bridge repairs.
The first item listed in the detailed agenda — which was not ordered by priority and includes items approved over series of years by the board — was support for more funding for the county’s costs of jailing undocumented immigrants accused of a crime under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program.
The Sheriff’s Department was awarded about $6 million under that program in 2016. However, some lawmakers have proposed barring jurisdictions with “sanctuary policies” from receiving funds.
Though nearly every item seeks to sustain or increase federal funding for something, at least one recommendation seemed to run contrary to the county’s stated aims. It calls for increased funding for “border enforcement (and) Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to the county’s jails,” despite limits set by the board for cooperation between ICE agents and the sheriff’s custody division.
And there are items on the legislative list that don’t affect county revenues, like support for net neutrality and a federal minimum wage.
There was one item in the 29-page legislative agenda that caused Supervisor Kathryn Barger to withhold her vote.
She asked to be recorded as abstaining from a vote to support a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, though she also specifically added her support to a ban on devices, like “bump stocks,” that allow semiautomatic weapons to function as assault weapons or automatic weapons.
Asked for comment, Barger told City News Service that the focus should be on existing state and federal laws that regulate and “prevent these semiautomatic weapons from falling into the wrong hands. My biggest fear is that a nationwide ban would result in the largest assault weapon surge in history, followed by the creation of an unregulated black market.”