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In California: Foes of Gov. Gavin Newsom have enough signatures to force recall vote

Plus: EPA takes aim at Trump-era attack on California vehicle emissions standards and California is losing a seat in the U.S. House

I'm Winston Gieseke, philanthropy and special sections editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, bringing you some of today's headlines from this great state of ours.

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Did you watch the Academy Awards Sunday night? If not, here's a recap of the show and who wore what. A list of the winners can be found here. For this messenger, the evening's most memorable moment came when Tyler Perry spoke after receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. There was not a dry eye on my face. Read his powerful speech in its entirety here.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom to face recall vote

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference in Coachella, Calif., on Feb. 17, 2021.

California's secretary of state said Monday that organizers of a petition drive to force a recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom have gathered more than 1.6 million valid signatures — about 100,000 more than needed to force a vote on the first-term Democrat.

The deadline for county elections officials to verify the validity of any remaining signatures is Thursday. After that, voters have 30 business days during which they may request a removal of their names from recall petitions.

In a recall election, voters would face two questions: Should Newsom be recalled and who should replace him? The votes on the second question will only be counted if more than half say yes to the first.

Newsom opponents, frustrated with the Democratic governor's liberal policies and approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March submitted more than 2 million petition signatures to qualify the recall election against him.  

An election could be held in October or November, depending on how long various steps in the process take.

More information on the signature process, including how to request a removal of yours, can be found here.

Census: California losing a seat in U.S. House 

U.S. Capitol building

For the first time in its 170-year history, California is losing a U.S. House seat, dropping its delegation from 53 to 52 members, according to Census Bureau population data released Monday.

California's population grew by about 2.3 million people since the 2010 Census but has been nearly flat since 2017. While the Golden State remains the most populous by far with nearly 39.58 million people and will continue to have more House seats than any other state, it is growing more slowly than states like Texas and Florida, which have added population and as a result will gain seats.

The number of seats in Congress is fixed at 435, and the Census Bureau uses a population-based formula to decide how many seats each state gets. That means if one state loses, another one gains.

The loss of a House seat also means a possible dip in federal funding for Medi-Cal, the health insurance program for low-income people, as well as less money for highways, schools and a wide array of social services that are based on population.

EPA takes aim at Trump-era attack on California vehicle emissions standards

A vehicle charges at a charging station in the parking garage of the Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs, Ca., December 15, 2020.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced that it will seek to undo a Trump-era attack on California's ability to set its own vehicle emissions standards. This announcement comes only days after the federal Department of Transportation took a similar stance.

If both actions move forward as expected, California will once again have a Clean Air Act waiver that allows it to set its own emissions standards that are more strict than those set federally. Before the Trump administration ripped up the waiver, 13 other states and Washington, D.C., had signed onto California's benchmarks, helping shift the entire auto industry toward building cleaner cars.

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