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Today’s Congressional odds and ends

Stark co-authors mental-health bill: Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, was joined by Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., today in introducing the Healthy Transitions Act of 2009, which he says will help millions of young adults with mental illness who fall through the cracks when moving from youth into adulthood. This bill is a response to last year’s Government Accountability Office report (requested by Stark and then-Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore.) which found that the nation’s estimated 2.4 million young adults with serious mental illness have a hard time finding services to aid them during their transition to adulthood because services that are available for mental health, housing and employment are not always suited for and directed to their age group. The bill would offer planning grants to states to develop coordination plans and implementation grants to execute those plans, as well as create a committee to coordinate federal programs helping mentally ill adolescents and young adults; to provide technical aid to states; and to report back to Congress.

Woolsey to testify on oil spills: Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, will be among those testifying Thursday at a House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing entitled “A New Direction for Federal Oil Spill Research and Development,” examining current federal efforts to prevent, detect and mitigate spills. Woolsey will speak on behalf of her new Federal Oil Spill Research Program Act of 2009, which aims to strength spill-response efforts and streamline development of new equipment and cleanup/containment methods. Also testifying will be officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the California Department of Fish and Game.

Honda, Lofgren and Lee tidbits, after the jump…

Honda, Lofgren to attend immigration reform event: Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, are scheduled to be among members of Congress attending a “National Town Hall Meeting on Immirgration Reform” tomorrow in Washington, D.C., organized by the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign to build momentum for comprehensive immigration reform later this year. The lawmakers will hear from “people who have had their families ripped apart, their rights violated, and community destroyed” by current policies, organizers say; in the afternoon, they’ll all troop up to Capitol Hill for a grassroots lobbying blitz.

Lee racks up awards: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, has a busy schedule of collecting awards this week. On Tuesday, the Campaign for America’s Future gave her a “Future Progressive Champion Award” during its annual America’s Future Now Awards Dinner, recognizing her efforts to help working families achieve the American Dream. And the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS will honor Lee tonight during its 2009 Choose Life Awards Dinner and National Call to Action, recognizing her contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Lee said she was humbled and honored by both.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR

    Hey, just for fun, let’s have Pete Stark screened for mental illness.

  • Josh Richman

    Gee whiz, RR, how’d I know you’d be the one to make that particular snippy comment? I could set my watch by you.

  • RR

    Let Ms Lee name 100 families she has helped achieve the American Dream, aside from her own staff.

  • RR

    Does Rep.”Wooly” dare to study the long-term effects of recent oil spills? Let’s start with the aftermath of the infamous Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, 20 years ago. Sorry to tell our Green friends, the long-term effects are zilch, about the same result as Three Mile Island, another “disaster” that never was.

  • Josh Richman

    Zilch, RR? I’d say that’s an open question at best, a flat-out falsehood at worst.

  • RR

    Esteemed JR, my friends in Alaska have asserted the sheer size of Prince William Sound and swift currents nearby mitigated the long-term effects of the oil spill. As for Three-Mile Island, there was no “spike” in cancer cases or birth defects in the adjacent area. Sorry if the facts get in the way of your opinions.

  • Josh Richman

    You’re relying on your “friends in Alaska” while I’m providing media clips quoting experts, and you’re talking about my opinions? Wow.

  • RR

    Forgive me, JR. I’m so naive as to believe experts with links to government while you rely on “independent” experts who presume all levels of government lie, unless of course, they stand to benefit by agreement.

  • Josh Richman

    Forgive me, RR, for not being so naive as to take the word of your unidentified “friends” or “experts” over people who are willing to put their names to their quotes.

  • Hey RR,

    I have some “friends” in Nigeria who have several million dollars they need to transfer. I know, I know, those annoying experts are always saying I shouldn’t help. But, you should totally help them out.