HIT: Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, made points among many of his 32nd District constituents back in April when he voted against a bill to increase gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees to fund road repairs and transit improvements. But in so doing he lost points among his Democratic colleagues in the Assembly, and it cost him his chairmanship of the influential Business and Professions Committee.

Apparently he’s back in their good graces, because his latest bill, AB 1279, which would bolster reporting requirements for valley fever, was approved 57-0 this week.

AB 1279 would empower a workgroup of local health officers from counties impacted the most by valley fever to find ways to streamline the way the disease is reported to the state public health department and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We’re chipping away at the scourge of valley fever, and Salas’ bill represents another important tool. The Assembly agrees unanimously.

MISS: Measure C, the Kern River Valley parcel tax that would’ve brought $32 million to the region’s only hospital for badly needed renovations, went down in flames Tuesday night.

The proposed annual $98 per parcel tax needed a two-thirds majority vote but garnered only 52 percent.

That leaves residents of the relatively isolated community with limited health care resources — and potentially even fewer after 2030, when state earthquake standards will kick in and require the below-code hospital to close.

What now? First District Supervisor Mick Gleason must convene a team that can put together a response, whether it’s another, better organized bond effort — which would represent the fourth attempt since 2006 —or some kind of enhanced accommodation with Clinica Sierra Vista, which has small offices in the towns of Wofford Heights and Lake Isabella.

We know this: The Kern River Valley simply can’t go without.

HIT: Legislation to introduce media literacy education into school curriculums passed the state Senate this week, and it couldn’t be a more timely or appropriate effort.

The bill, authored by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, aims to combat fake news and ensure students have the tools to succeed in the digital age. Dodd’s bill defines media literacy as the ability to analyze and evaluate information consumed from various media sources such as websites, social networking sites, television, print and radio

“While we already require critical thinking skills in our school, those skills haven’t kept up with the emerging technologies. Crafting a comprehensive curriculum for media literacy education is essential to combating fake news,” Dodd said. The bill would empower the California Board of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission to develop a model framework necessary for incorporating media literacy into school curriculums. The legislation, SB 135, will also advance media literacy training opportunities for teachers. The bill moves on to the Assembly, where it will be heard in the Assembly Education Committee this summer.

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