Apr 5, 2017

California legislators unveil new plan to fight the border wall

Christian Torres / AP

Three California state legislators have introduced a bill that would require state pension funds to divest from companies involved in building or maintaining President Trump's proposed southern border wall.

Why it matters: The nation's two largest public pension systems — The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) — are managing more than half a trillion dollars in combined assets. Not only does that make them major stock and bond market players, but they also have deep holdings in private equity funds that often own construction and building materials companies.

What the pensions are saying: Nothing publicly yet, but the top spokesman for CalPERS twice tweeted a Pensions & Investments editorial that savaged the proposal as "unacceptable interference in the fiduciary investment duties" of state pension funds.

Precedent: Some California pensions do have divestment policies, covering such things as tobacco companies, firearms companies and investments in countries like Sudan. Sometimes it's driven by legislators, sometimes by its own board. In general, the systems believe that if the divestment runs counter to fiduciary objectives, then there must be some other net positive for pensioners. For example, the CalPERS decision on tobacco was rooted in public health concerns. There also was a divestiture bill recently introduced related to companies helping to build the Dakota Access Pipeline, although it has not yet gotten a vote. CalPERS was a signatory to a letter asking participating banks to address or support the rerouting requests of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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