🌞 Happy Monday! Today's Smart Brevity™ count: 1,175 words ... 4½ minutes.
🏀 Congrats to heroic ODU basketball coach Jeff Jones on his 500th career win.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
California’s unprecedented law requiring all public companies headquartered there to have at least one female board member by 2020 is drawing lawsuits, reports Axios' Courtenay Brown.
The law sets a penalty of $100,000 in fines for public companies that don't have at least one woman on their board by the end of 2019.
The other side: A coalition led by the California Chamber of Commerce, said in a letter to lawmakers that by focusing "only on gender," the law "potentially elevates it as a priority over other aspects of diversity."
The big picture: Most big companies subject to the law — like Google, Wells Fargo and Disney — have had women on their boards for years, prodded, in some cases, by backlash against all-male boardrooms.
What’s next: Lawmakers in other states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington, hope to follow California's lead.
House Republicans are asking Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) for "firsthand information" about Ukraine-related meetings, briefings and conversations with President Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
The senator said yesterday on "Meet the Press" that he had received the letter, and said he'd be working over the weekend on preparing his "telling of events."
Boeing's 737 MAX airplanes sit idle after leaving the assembly line. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images
"U.S. air-safety regulators are considering ways to alter fundamentally how they certify aircraft in the wake of Boeing Co.’s 737 MAX crisis," FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson told the Wall Street Journal (subscription).
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke at Nevada Democrats' event for 2020 candidates yesterday at the Bellagio in Vegas, ahead of its Feb. 22 caucuses.
Above: A cardboard Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) — who also appeared live.
Below: The real Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
And this is the cover of today's N.Y. Post:
President Trump reversed course on a plan to ban most flavored vaping products "because he feared it would lead to job losses," report WashPost's Josh Dawsey and Laurie McGinley.
"He didn’t know much about the issue and was just doing it for Melania and Ivanka," a senior administration official told the Post.
The Intercept tells the story behind its publication of a trove of secret Iranian intelligence cables: "The source said they wanted to 'let the world know what Iran is doing in my country Iraq.' They sent ... 700 pages of secret intelligence reports from Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security."
Why they matter, per the Times: The documents expose "Tehran’s vast influence in Iraq, detailing years of painstaking work by Iranian spies to co-opt the country’s leaders, pay Iraqi agents working for the Americans to switch sides and infiltrate every aspect of Iraq’s political, economic and religious life."
Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, warned at the consulting firm's annual GZERO Summit in Tokyo today that a rising "tech Cold War" between China and the West poses "the greatest threat to globalization since the end of World War II."
Bremmer says these "parallel technology systems" are more worrisome than China's military threat, which is "smaller than many in Washington believe":
China has even less interest in going to war with the U.S. than the U.S. has in going to war with China. China is a regional, but not a global, military power. ...
The greatest source of U.S.-China conflict comes from technology. Here, China is, today, a true superpower. Here, the U.S. does have an interest in seeing China fail, because China's technological development poses a foundational challenge to the values on which global stability and prosperity depend.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The real debate on climate change is happening in the courtrooms, writes Axios' Amy Harder in her "Harder Line" column.
Three big cases to watch:
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