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California Capitol Hill Bulletin
            Volume 13, Bulletin 9 -- March 31, 2006    [or see pdf version]  [or jump to the previous bulletin]


CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE

Institute Joins with UC, TechNet In Hosting Skilled-Worker Immigration Forum

Guestworker And Legalization Programs Accepted By Senate Judiciary

House Approves McKeon Higher Education Rewrite; CBA Unchanged, Repeal of “Tuition Sensitivity” Will Ease Burden on State’s Community Colleges

Finance Checks Status of China Trade Compliance

Assembly Speaker Nunez Discusses Immigration, Other Issues, During DC Visit

House Oversight Hearing Held on Immigration and Customs Enforcement

US Dairy Exports Hit Record High

California’s K-12 Students Reportedly Face College Access Roadblocks

Field Poll Finds Californians in Support of Guestworker Program

Senate Commerce Hearing on Basic Research

Hispanic-Owned Businesses Grow, According To Census

CCST Event on Wednesday, April 5

CSS Holds Cherry Blossom Festival Reception on Monday, April 3

To expand communications between Washington and California, the California Institute provides periodic bulletins regarding current activity on Capitol Hill that affects our state.  Bulletins are published weekly during sessions of Congress, and occasionally during other periods.


Institute Joins UC, TechNet In Hosting Skilled-Worker Immigration Forum

             The University of California Washington Center, the University of California, Berkeley, and the California Institute joined TechNet, which promotes the growth of technology and the innovation economy, in hosting a forum on “Maintaining America’s Competitiveness: Recruiting and Retaining the Best and Brightest Minds.” The forum, held March 27, 2006, in the Senate Russell Caucus Room, was sponsored by Oracle, CompeteAmerica, Cisco Systems, Intel, the National Venture Capital Association, and Symantec.

             Senator John Cornyn (TX), in his keynote speech, stressed the need for the United States to attract the best and brightest minds from around the world in order to maintain our competitive edge. He supported the provision in Sen. Arlen Specter’s (PA) immigration reform proposal that would raise the cap on H1-B skilled worker visas from 65,000 to 115,000 annually, and argued that the consequences of a low cap on H1-B visas would be greater outsourcing of jobs from the U.S.

             Sen. Cornyn was followed by a panel of experts who examined what is behind the decline in attracting the best, most talented minds in the world to study in the US and its long-term implications for national security, higher education, and international competitiveness. The panel consisted of: Rep. George Miller (Martinez), Ranking Member, House Committee on Education and the Workforce; Stuart Anderson, Exec. Dir., National Foundation for American Policy, Victor Johnson, Assoc. Exec. Dir., NAFSA: Association of International Educators; and Debra Stewart, President, Council of Graduate Schools. The panel was moderated by Jack Citrin, Assoc. Director, The Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley. The overriding theme expressed by all of the panelists was, to paraphrase columnist Thomas Friedman, that a green card should be stapled to the back of each diploma awarded to a foreign student at a U.S. university. Rep. Miller, however, also warned that the whole range of issues facing U.S. education must be addressed. He emphasized that K-12 education must be improved for U.S. students as well, or Americans would not support encouraging foreign students to remain in the United States.

             The second panel was comprised of: Tod Loofbourrow, Chairman & CEO, Authoria, Inc.; Jonathan Silver, Managing Partner, Core Capital Partners; Russ Campanello, Sr. Vice Pres., Human Resources, Keane, Inc.; Woody Sessoms, Area V.P. for Enterprise Sales and Exec. Sponsor for Education, Cisco Systems, Inc.; and, Sandy Boyd, Chair, Compete America and VP, Human Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers. The panel was moderated by Evan Thomas, Asst. Managing Editor, Newsweek. The panelists agreed that the U.S. must encourage and improve K-12 education in math and science for U.S. students. However, they noted that is a long-term solution, and today’s global competitiveness demands immediate steps. They warned that if U.S. policy does not encourage foreign students to remain in the United States after graduation the consequence will be that jobs move overseas. They argued that the world’s best minds are needed here to boost the U.S. economy, which in turn will increase the living standard for all Americans.

             For additional information, visit http://www.technet.org .


Guestworker And Legalization Programs Accepted By Senate Judiciary

             After approving inclusion of a guestworker program for immigrant workers and a path to citizenship for both agricultural and non-agricultural illegal immigrants now in the United States, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported out a comprehensive immigration reform bill on March 27, 2006, by a vote of 12-6. The bill is now being considered on the Senate floor as an amendment to S. 2454, authored by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN), with final action expected late next week. Sen. Frist’s bill is confined to border enforcement and security issues similar to those passed in the House bill, H.R. 4437, in December 2005. See, Bulletin, Vol. 12, No. 35 (12/22/05).

             The Judiciary Committee considered several amendments to the mark proposed by Chair Arlen Specter (PA) during its markup of the bill. Senator Dianne Feinstein was successful in adding provisions tracking the AGJobs bill to the Chairman’s mark by a vote of 11-5. Under the amendment, which would sunset after five years, undocumented agricultural workers could apply for a “blue card,” if they can demonstrate that they have worked in American agriculture for at least 150 work days within the previous two years before 12/31/05. Blue card holders are then eligible for a green card (permanent resident status), if they can demonstrate having that they have worked in American agriculture for an additional 150 work days per year for 3 years, or 100 work days per year for 5 years. The program is capped at 1.5 million blue cards over the five year length of the program. The AGJobs bill in the House, H.R. 884, was cosponsored by Rep. Howard Berman (North Hollywood) and Rep. Chris Cannon (UT).

             The Committee also accepted an amendment by Sen. Edward Kennedy (MA) which establishes a guestworker program from workers not currently in the United States and provides a path to citizenship for those workers. The vote was 11-6. The program creates a new temporary visa which is valid for 3 years, and can be renewed one time, for a total of 6 years. It also contains a flexible market-based cap on the number of visas available annually, starting at 400,000 per year, and increasing or decreasing based on demand. The amendment also requires the payment of the prevailing wage to visa holders and contains other provisions to protect workers.

             Sen. Lindsay Graham was successful in offering an amendment to deal with the estimated 11 million undocumented workers currently in the United States. Like, Kennedy’s amendment, it tracks provisions of the McCain-Kennedy bill introduced earlier in the Senate. It sets up an eleven year path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who meet several requirements. They would have to pay a $1,000 fine and pass a comprehensive background check before receiving a work visa. They would also have to be continuously employed in the United States; a 45 day period of unemployment would subject them to deportation. After working in the United States for six years, the immigrant could apply for a second five year visa, undergo another background check, pay another $1,000 fine, and pay any back taxes. Then, after attending an American civics class and showing proficiency in the English language, the immigrant could then apply for citizenship, which would not be granted until all prior legal applicants had been approved. The Graham amendment passed 12-5.

             During the Committee’s markup it also added numerous other amendments, including:

             - the “Dream Act” (S. 2075) bill, which allows young persons who were brought to this country illegally by their parents before they were 16 to petition for permanent resident status and to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements;

             - provisions protecting from prosecution individuals and organizations giving humanitarian aid to undocumented workers.

             - authorizing 12,000 new border patrol agents by 2011 (more than doubling the current 11,000 border patrol agents);

             - eliminating provisions that would make illegal status a criminal misdemeanor punished by up to six months in jail; and

             - criminalizing the financing and/or construction of a tunnel across the U.S. border.

             Among the many other provisions included in the Chair’s mark is one to increase the number of H-1B temporary visas granted annually to 115,000 from the current level of 65,000, with the potential for increasing the cap by 20 percent each year. H-1B visas are used to hire foreign skilled workers when U.S. employees are not available. The cap reached a peak of 195,000 in 2003 before reverting to 65,000. In addition, a special category of 20,000 additional visas are reserved for U.S.-educated immigrants with advanced degrees in math and science fields. Similar provisions were not included in the House-passed immigration bill, but the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the need for increasing H-1B visas on March 30, 2006.


House Approves McKeon Higher Education Rewrite; CBA Unchanged, Repeal of “Tuition Sensitivity” Will Ease Burden on State’s Community Colleges

             By a vote of 221-199 on Thursday, March 30, 2006, the House of Representatives approved the College Access & Opportunity Act (H.R. 609), legislation that would reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The bill, titled the College Access & Opportunity Act (CAOA), is authored by House Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (Santa Clarita).

             Proponents of the measure applaud its expanding of college access by strengthening the Pell Grant program, providing parents and students more information about spikes in college costs, and bolstering of math and science education. “The new realities of an increasingly competitive global economy have made a college education more necessary than ever before,” said Chairman McKeon. “Unfortunately, even with historic levels of federal funding for higher education, the dream of getting a college education continues to elude many low- and middle-income Americans. This bill takes a huge step toward making that dream a reality.”

             Importantly for California, and particularly for the California Community Colleges (CCC), the bill repeals a federal rule that needlessly limits the amount of Pell Grant aid a student attending a very low-cost school may receive. The CCC system was the only higher education institution in the nation that had tuition low enough to be penalized for the so-called “tuition sensitivity” limitation on Pell Grants.

             In addition, the bill would change Pell Grant rules to permit students to receive grants on a year-round basis. It would increase the maximum authorized Pell Grant to $6,000. However, because grants are subject to allocations provided in annual appropriations measures, actual funding for Pell is considerably less (the grant has remained at a $4,050 maximum for several years).

             During floor debate, the House rejected (220-200) a substitute amendment by Education & the Workforce Committee Ranking Democrat George Miller (Martinez) that, among other things, would have reduced student loan interest rates for very poor college attendees. Miller commented that his legislation “would have made a down payment on real college affordability.”

             Earlier versions of the bill would have altered the formula for the campus-based aid programs (TRIO, GEAR-UP, and Perkins Loans) to lessen preferential treatment now given to older colleges with established programs. The initially-proposed change would have improved California’s overall share of funding (with some winners and losers within the state), but opposition from many older schools from around the country rallied to get the improvement Accepting the change, McKeon requested a GAO study into CBA fairness issue.

             More information is available from Education & the Workforce at http://edworkforce.house.gov .

             In addition, a California-focused analysis of the formula provisions contained in the bill is also available. In conjunction with the California Institute, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) recently released a report detailing House higher education reauthorization activity, California’s student aid returns, and the California perspectives regarding formula components of higher education law. To view a download a free copy of “Student Aid and Higher Education”, which is part of the Federal Formula Grants and California publication series, or for more information visit the PPIC website at: http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=627 .


Finance Checks Status of China Trade Compliance

             In connection with the upcoming April visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on March 29, 2006, to check on the status of the administration’s efforts to get China to resolve numerous trade problems with the U.S., ranging from intellectual property protection to revaluing the yuan to more accurately reflect its value.

             The Committee heard from several witnesses, including: Karan K. Bhatia, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; Timothy D. Adams, Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Treasury; and Franklin L. Lavin, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce; Joe Papovich, Senior Vice President International, Recording Industry Association of America.

             In their testimony, the Administration witnesses detailed positive steps that China has taken to improve enforcement of trade laws, but acknowledged that “the U.S.-China trade relationship lacks balance in opportunity, as well as equity and durability, with China’s focus on export growth and developing domestic industries not being matched by a comparable focus on fulfilling market opening commitments or on the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and internationally recognized labor rights, as Ambassador Bhatia stated. He also noted that China’s membership in the WTO has also been mixed, with the country fulfilling its easier obligations, but not the more demanding ones.

             During the Q&A, several Senators, including Ranking Member Max Baucus (MT), were critical of China’s intransigence in removing trade barriers and protecting intellectual property, opining that it wasn’t sufficient that the appropriate laws were on the book, the country has never shown the will to enforce those laws. Sen. Baucus also criticized the Administration for not taking stronger action against China by bringing enforcement cases under U.S. laws. He argued that it was past time when China should remove its restrictions on U.S. beef imports, and told the Administration witnesses that the ban “better be lifted by the time the president is here, or there would be a real problem.” On currency exchange rates, Chair Charles Grassley (IA) pointed out that despite China’s announcements, its currency is still not appreciating appropriately or sufficiently. He noted that he and Sen. Baucus have introduced a bill to improve how the U.S. responds to material currency imbalances and providing for “meaningful consequences” if countries fail to eliminate impediments to normal exchange rate adjustmentss.

             For further information on the testimony, go to the Committee’s website at: http://finance.senate.gov .


Assembly Speaker Nunez Discusses Immigration, Other Issues, During DC Visit

             During a trip to Washington DC on Wednesday, March 29, 2006, California State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez discussed immigration legislation and other federal issues as he addressed members of the California-Washington news media.

             At a roundtable with reporters, Speaker Nunez acknowledged that border security issues do need to be on the table as immigration legislation moves, but he commented that simply erecting fences and adding guards without dealing with other overarching issues, such as undocumented workers already in the U.S., would be a major mistake. He suggested that the bill on the Senate floor would be a good alternative.

             The Speaker expressed sympathy for the position of students who had marched in California and other states to protest federal actions on immigration legislation, but he noted he has urged the protesters to return to school. He noted that most of the demonstrators had been wearing white shirts as a symbol of peace and that the actions have largely been conducted in a civil and orderly manner.

             Regarding term limits. the Speaker discussed a proposal to change the current state legislative limitation of what in essence amounts to 14 years (a member of the Assembly, for example, could serve up to 6 years or 3 terms in the Assembly and then 8 years or 2 terms in the Senate). Instead, Nunez suggested that both bodies could be subject to a single 12 year limit, but that jumping from one chamber to the other would therefore be required.

             Speaker Nunez also discussed levee repair, California’s share of federal spending, and the results of his meetings with members of the bipartisan California Congressional delegation. For additional information, visit http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a46/mainpage.htm .


House Oversight Hearing Held on Immigration and Customs Enforcement

             On March 28, 2006, the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations held an oversight hearing to examine how the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sets investigative priorities. ICE, the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities in the nation’s border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security.

             Testifying on behalf of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Richard Stana, Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, relayed to the Committee that the Office of Investigation (OI) – the primary investigative agency of the Dept. of Homeland Security – accomplishes its homeland security mission by focusing on cases that appear to have a connection to national security rather than concentrating on any particular category of investigation. Evidence extracted from ICE’s case management system revealed between 10-15 percent of investigative resources were used for investigations considered by ICE to have a link to national security. These investigations were mainly related to munitions control, illegal exports, compliance enforcement of visa violations, and terrorism. Most of OI’s investigative activities generally relate to legacy missions, with roughly half of OI resources during FY2004 and the first half of 2005 used for cases related to drugs, financial crimes, and general alien investigations. Most of these cases did not contain a nexus to national security. Furthermore, GAO’s report showed poor management of resources, illustrated by the fact that an equivalent of about 400 of OI’s 5,600 special agents were working full time to identify incarcerated aliens who were eligible for removal from the US, an ICE responsibility, but a job that does not require the skills and training of criminal investigators. ICE plans to free investigators for more appropriate duties by shifting these functions to other ICE units, and to submit a plan for the expanded use of a noninvestigatory job series for civil and administrative violations, according to Stana. By deferring to OI’s major field offices and the judgements made by agents in charge, OI tries to ensure that its resources contribute to the prevention of exploitation of systematic vulnerabilities in customs and immigration systems. Although there is no evidence that OI has failed to investigate any national security related lead that came to its attention, Stana recommended that OI apply a risk management approach to determine what types of customs and immigration violations represent the greatest risks for exploitation by terrorists and other criminals could provide greater assurance that OI focuses on preventing violations with the greatest potential for harm while striking a balance among its various objectives. Moreover, Stana testified that OI also lacked outcome-based performance goals that relate to its objective of preventing the exploitation of these systematic vulnerabilities. Lastly, it was recommended in the GAO’s report that OI attain and maintain sufficient systems to help ensure ongoing monitoring and communication of vulnerabilities discovered during its investigations.

             Richard Skinner, Inspector General of the Dept. of Homeland Security, also testified before the Committee. In his statement, Skinner acknowledged that there was a communications disconnect between ICE and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP); that the role similarities between the two agencies outweighed the unique characteristics of each. Hence, Skinner recommended the two agencies merge. Also present to testify before the Committee was Robert Schoch, Deputy Assistant Director of ICE who stated the mission and accomplishments of his agency and acknowledged room for improvement.

             Additional information is available on the House Government Reform website: http://www.reform.house.gov .


US Dairy Exports Hit Record High

             The U.S. Dairy Export Council reported that U.S. dairy export values increased 56% over the past two years, reaching a record-high $1.66 billion in 2005. Despite historically high world prices, the Council attributes the increase in the global sales of milk components to the economic growth in Asia, Russia, Mexico and the Middle East. In 2005, the U.S. was the world’s leading supplier of skim milk powder (SMP), whey and lactose.

             According to the Council’s trade data, SMP exports averaged 91.2¢/lb., up 19¢ from the 2003 average selling price; cheese exports jumped 26¢ in two years to $1.59/lb.; and exports of sweet whey were 29.4¢/lb., up 3¢ from 2003 levels. California’s export data compiled by UC Davis showed that in 2004, California’s percent share of dairy and products totaled 29.7%, or $4.4 million. In the CA Dept. of Food and Agriculture’s “California Agriculture Highlights 2005” publication, milk and cream ranked first on the list of CA’s top commodities, contributing $5.37 billion in value.

             Developing export channels is critical for capturing all the value in the milk stream, the Council said, because U.S. processors and manufacturers produce more milk solids than the domestic market can consume. In 2005, the United States exported about 35% of all nonfat milk powder produced, 40% of sweet whey and whey protein concentrate, 55% of whey protein isolate and 61% of lactose, according to USDA and USDEC data.

             With strong commercial markets overseas, there were no sales of excess dairy products to the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. last year for the first time in at least 35 years, according to USDEC.

             Additional information regarding this report is available online at: http://www.usdec.org .


California’s K-12 Students Reportedly Face College Access Roadblocks

             The California Educational Opportunity Report released a new analysis about how well the state’s K-12 public schools are preparing students for college, and it compares California’s schools with schools across the nation. The report shows every high school, the relationships among California’s educational infrastructure, rates of high school completion, and enrollment in the state’s four-year colleges and universities.

             The recurring theme of the analysis is that California students face significant roadblocks on their pathway to college. The authors argue that those factors help explain why California sends fewer students to four-year colleges than most other states in the country. According to the report, 1) A lack of counselors, teachers with adequate training, and college preparatory curriculum block the pathway to college for a majority of California public school students; 2) California’s high school counselors are responsible for more students than high school counselors in any other state; 3) California’s high school teachers are responsible for more students than high school teachers in any other state, and more than a quarter of California high schools routinely assign “improperly trained” teachers to college prep courses; and 4) more than one-half of California high schools offer too few college preparatory classes for all students to complete the college preparatory curriculum

             The roadblocks to college are reportedly greater for students in low-income communities of color. Every California community feels the effect of the state’s educational crisis, but all communities don’t suffer equally, the analysis concludes. Schools with high concentrations of students of color, many of whom are poor and learning the English language, report the highest rates of unqualified teachers and shortages of college preparatory courses in the state. These students are not given a fair and equal opportunity to learn, the authors argue.

              According to the report, California’s failure to invest the necessary resources in education is the root cause of the problem. California’s per capita income is among the highest in the country, yet it has one of the lowest levels of per-pupil educational spending. Adjusting for regional cost differences, California ranks 43rd among the states in education spending per student. The shortage of counselors, teachers, and college preparatory courses is a direct reflection of too few dollars going into the state’s educational system, the analysis states. Schools with too few counselors, appropriately trained teachers, and college preparatory courses have a very poor record of success.

             More information is available from UCLA/IDEA at http://idea.gseis.ucla.edu/publications/eor06/index.html .


Field Poll Finds Californians in Support of Guestworker Program

             A poll conducted by the Field Research Corporation and released on March 9, 2006, found that “seven in ten Californians (70%) think that illegal immigrants are generally doing jobs that other residents don’t want, while just 22% see them as taking jobs away. In addition, a 65% majority of the public favors the idea of creating worker programs for illegal immigrants that would legalize their status, while only 27% are opposed.” Nevertheless, nearly three out of four Californians (73%), according to the poll, are concerned to some degree about the issue of illegal immigration, with 43% being extremely concerned. That number was down somewhat from the percentage that were “extremely concerned” in earlier years: 58 percent in 1997, and 49 percent in 2005.

             The poll also found a shift over the last twenty-four years in how Californians view the impact that illegal immigrants are having on the state overall. “For example, in 1982, 75% felt illegal immigrants had an unfavorable impact on the state, while just 19% thought their overall impact was favorable. This narrowed a bit to a 69% to 23% margin in 1987 and to a 67% to 26% margin in 1994. However, in the current survey, the proportions of residents who feel illegal immigrants are having an unfavorable impact has declined to 45%, while about as many (47%) now feel they are having a favorable impact.” But the report also shows that there are growing differences between the views of voters and non- voters on this. Voters, by a 57% to 36% margin, continue to see illegal immigrants as having a more unfavorable than favorable impact on the state. By contrast, those not registered to vote, about half of whom are non-citizens, according to the authors, hold a much more positive view, and, by a 64% to 26% margin, see illegal immigrants as having a generally favorable impact on the state.

             The findings in the report are based on a random sample survey of 500 California adults age 18 or older conducted by telephone February 12-26, 2006 in English and Spanish. The sample included 337 registered voters and 163 who were not registered. For more information, visit http://www.field.com/fieldpollonline .


Senate Commerce Hearing on Basic Research

             On March 29, 2006, the Senate Commerce Committee’s Technology, Innovation, and Competitiveness Subcommittee held a hearing on the importance of basic research to U.S. competitiveness. The hearing explored how basic research in the physical sciences impacted both long term economic development in the U.S. and the ability of American industries to remain globally competitive.

             Dr. John Marburger, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, testified that basic research is necessary to U.S. competitiveness; so much so that the President established the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) for this very purpose. Marburger stated that while the President is strongly committed to reducing federal spending across the board, increasing America’s future competitiveness is a priority. Thus, the President has asked Congress for a two percent increase, $59 billion, in non-defense research and development funding for this purpose. In his testimony, Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), illustrated the numerous ways NSF has contributed to research in science and technology and increased America’s competitiveness.

             Steven Knapp, Provost and Senior Vice President at Johns Hopkins University explained to the Committee that Johns Hopkins strongly supports basic research, and has a strong track record of being innovative and advancing science and technology for America. In addition, Knapp recommended that funding should not be shifted between physical science and biological sciences as times change; instead, funding should be given to both. Knapp suggested that the issue of visas should be addressed in order for America to recruit well qualified candidates from around the world to contribute to basic research. He also stated that more funding for K-12 education (specifically for math, science, engineering, and technology) is needed in order to establish a stronger foundation for future innovative basic research.

             Additional information regarding this hearing is available at http://www.commerce.senate.gov .


Hispanic-Owned Businesses Grow, According To Census

             A recently released U.S. Census Bureau report, 2002 Survey of Business Owners: Hispanic-Owned Firms, finds that the number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew 31 percent between 1997 and 2002 – three times the national average for all businesses. Those nearly 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses generated nearly $222 billion in revenue, up 19 percent from 1997.

             Overall, Hispanics owned nearly 7 percent of nonfarm businesses in the United States in 2002. While 13 percent of Hispanic-owned firms employed more than 1.5 million people, the vast majority of businesses owned by Hispanics (nearly 1.4 million) had no employees. In comparison, the survey shows that more than 3-out-of-4 non-Hispanic-owned firms also had no paid employees.

             States with the fastest growth rates for Hispanic-owned firms between 1997 and 2002 included New York (57 percent), Rhode Island and Georgia (56 percent each), Nevada and South Carolina (48 percent each). Los Angeles County, however, led counties with the highest number of Hispanic-owned firms with 188,472; Miami-Dade County, Fla. followed with 163,188; Harris County, Texas had 61,934; and Bronx County, N.Y. had 38,325.

             Further information may be obtained from the Bureau’s website at: http://www.census.gov .


CCST Event on Wednesday, April 5

             On the evening of Wednesday, April 5, the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) will host a Capitol Hill reception. Among other purposes, the event will presenting CCST’s new report, “California’s Federal Laboratories: A State Resource.” The reception, held in Collaboration with the California Institute for Federal Policy Research, will take place on Wednesday, April 5, 2006, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., in the House Space Subcommittee hearing room - Room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC.

             At a time when California’s economic future increasingly relies on scientific and engineering expertise, the federal labs provide critically important know-how and highly specialized facilities. Today, going beyond their federal missions, the labs work hand in glove with California state agencies, industry, and universities to collaboratively solve local problems and pursue new research initiatives. Even so, they remain a largely untapped resource, and, in some respects, their future is being threatened by competition from other states. Given their many contributions and remarkable potential, it is to California’s advantage to ensure that the federal laboratories flourish in the state.

             Clarifying what the labs represent is the first step in helping the state make the most of what they have to offer - and act to maximize their chances for success. The new report from CCST, “California’s Federal Laboratories: A State Resource,” clarifies the contributions that national laboratories make to the state, what actions should be taken to ensure the stability of the national labs in California, and what can be done to further leverage their substantial contributions to the state.

             California’s primary federal laboratories are affiliated with either NASA or the U.S. Department of Energy. Several labs related to DOE are run by or affiliated with the University of California, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL). The Sandia National Laboratories (the Livermore-based branch of a New Mexico headquartered lab run by Lockheed Martin) and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) are also DOE labs. Among NASA labs are Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, which is operated by Caltech for NASA.

             CCST is a nonpartisan, impartial, not-for-profit corporation established in 1988 at the request of the California State Government and sponsored by the state’s major postsecondary institutions and affiliate national laboratories, in conjunction with leading private-sector firms. CCST’s mission is to improve science and technology policy and application in California by proposing programs, conducting analyses, and recommending public policies and initiatives that will maintain California’s technological leadership and a vigorous economy. For additional information, see http://www.ccst.us .

             (For purposes complying with House gift rules, prospective attendees may wish to note that both CCST and the California Institute are 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits, all refreshments and food are considered of nominal value, and the event will be widely-attended.)


CSS Holds Cherry Blossom Festival Reception on Monday, April 3

             On Monday, April 3, 2006, the California State Society will hold its annual Cherry Blossom Reception. The event is open only to current 2006 members of CSS, but membership may be purchased ($10) or renewed online at http://www.californiastatesociety.org .

             Held as part of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, the reception will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Monday in the Foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building, located on Independence Avenue, SE (at South Capitol Street) in Washington DC. CSS members may sign up to attend by sending email to RSVPforCSSevents@yahoo.com .

 

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