Aug 28, 2018

California wants companies to put more women on boards

Photo: View Pictures/UIG via Getty Images.

An unprecedented bill that mandates publicly traded companies headquartered in California to have women on its boards will face another test this week, the SF Chronicle reports, as it heads to the floor of the California Assembly.

Why it matters: California could be the first state to enact a law of this type, in a push to give those who identify as women a seat at the corporate table. According to Board Governance Research, women made up 15.5% of California-based public companies in 2017, while men made up more than 80% of seats.

This law is the first of its kind in the United States, but not the first in the world. In 2003, Norway introduced a gender quota law. Since then, the percentage of women board members in the country has doubled, according to the Economist.

What's next: The bill still needs to get through the California State Assembly, and then return to the Senate for a final vote.

The other side: In a letter opposing the proposal, the California Chamber of Commerce and dozens of other businesses said, "We are concerned that the mandate under SB826 that focuses only on gender potentially elevates it as a priority over other aspects of diversity."

  • In a statement to Axios, state Senator Jeff Stone (who voted against the bill) said, "The State of California has no business concerning itself with the composition of the board of directors of privately owned firms that are otherwise following all the applicable laws of the state and nation… Intrusive bills like this provide incentives for firms thinking of leaving California to do so."

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Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

Your best defense against coronavirus

Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Frequent hand washing can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known preventative for COVID-19 and influenza.

Major League Soccer embarks on its 25th season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Major League Soccer begins its 25th season, the league is financially stable and surging in popularity, and its 26 teams have gorgeous facilities and rapidly increasing valuations.

  • It also continues to expand, with David Beckham's Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to debut this season as the 25th and 26th teams. Plans are in place to reach 30 franchises by 2022 — triple the number from 2004.
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