Congressman John Garamendi, D-Waltnut Grove, paid a visit to Marysville on Friday to host a town hall so he could hear from his Mid-Valley constituents. Many topics were brought up for discussion, but one of the most animated subjects involved relations with North Korea – or more specifically, if the United States has a plan in case nuclear energy wipes out wireless communication.

“I’ve been working with the Armed Services Committee on this issue,” Garamendi said. “The U.S. has to develop a backup to the GPS system in case this happens. It’s a very important topic in national security.”

Cellphones operate using the GPS system, which is located on a satellite. If this system were to fail, even ATM machines would be inaccessible, according to Garamendi.

“I’m working with Congress to develop a solution,” Garamendi said. “We’re considering bringing back the Moran radio system as a backup. Some towers still exist. If it’s successful, Samsung will put a second chip in their phones that will allow them to switch to this system in emergencies.”

Other town hall concerns

On a more local level, Congressman John Garamendi promised a Live Oak woman he would investigate whether trains were operating legally within the town. The woman was concerned the trains were traveling too fast – allegedly 70 mph – through Live Oak.

“If that’s the case, it’s definitely a safety issue,” Garamendi said. “I’ll check in and see what’s going on.”

In national terms, Garamendi told those in attendance at the Marysville town hall that he opposes President Donald Trump’s border wall, and he wants to work with the federal government to find an amicable solution for undocumented immigrants.

“These people have made their lives here, they’re part of our community,” Garamendi said. “Are we going to turn them out just because they don’t have the paperwork? We would lose out on a lot of workers, and families would be torn apart.”

Garamendi told the audience he would like to see undocumented residents become citizens. He hopes to work with his colleagues to devise a plan to make the path to citizenship more accessible. Not everyone in attendance was supportive of the idea, but Garamendi encouraged them to consider the issue from the point of view of families affected by current immigration policies.

“This affects every culture, not just Mexicans,” he said. “People’s lives are being determined by these laws. Don’t buy into the ‘us versus them’ ideology; some of the world’s greatest atrocities started with that mindset.”

Nielsen’s marijuana       packaging bill gains support

Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) is concerned children will unwittingly consume marijuana once it becomes legal in the state on Jan. 1, 2018. To prevent cannabis companies from marketing to people under 21, Nielsen introduced a bill, SB 663, that sets strict guidelines on how these products are packaged and advertised.

“Studies have shown the dangers that accidental marijuana ingestion poses to young children,” Nielsen said in a press release. “This measure will prevent marijuana from being packaged to attract children.”

The bill prevents any pictures of cannabis-laced baked goods or snacks from being featured on packaging. Containers cannot mimic the designs of non-marijuana snacks, or feature cartoons and wording that appeals directly to youth. Nielsen believes these measures will prevent kids from accidentally consuming cannabis; his bill has received support from regional governments and law enforcement.

“Young children in Colorado are facing a dramatic exposure to marijuana. We do not yet know the full impact of these products on the developing brain of a child. That is why it is so important to keep these products out of the hands of minors,” said Roseville Vice Mayor Bonnie Gore.

Law enforcement officials in Placer County are enthusiastic about the measure, and echo Nielsen’s idea that it will help keep marijuana from children.

“We encourage the governor to sign Senator Nielsen’s proposal into law,” said Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell. “Marijuana is already a major problem facing Placer County. This law will reduce any ambiguity in current child safety measures in relation to marijuana.”

Some public officials are concerned about legalization in general because it’s new territory.

“The marijuana industry is new and creates many challenges,” said Scott Owens, Placer County district attorney. “Currently, there are insufficient tools to protect children. Sen. Nielsen’s measure will help keep these dangerous products out of the hands of children.”

As of yet, Nielsen’s bill has not been signed into law.

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