Ahead of his first confirmation hearing Tuesday, state attorney general nominee Rep. Xavier Becerra has assured legislators that he will be a strong force to counter the policies of President-elect Donald Trump, including opposing proposals for mass deportations and a registry of Muslim immigrants.
In a letter released Saturday, Becerra defended California's many programs to help immigrants in the country illegally get driver's licenses, college financial aid and legal assistance in fighting deportation orders.
"All of these policies and programs are representative of California's values as a welcoming state," Becerra wrote to members of an Assembly committee set to take up his nomination Tuesday.
In many ways, it was a decision that said more about what could be on the horizon than what's happening now: The former U.S. attorney general in the legal and political corner of Democrats in the California Legislature.
We also preview the 2017 legislative session, where a mix of new and familiar fights are in store. And we discuss the state of play for women in California politics and government, with a show of force in one major city but setbacks in Sacramento.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) pulled down a controversial painting that portrayed a police officer as a wild boar from a wall in the U.S. Capitol.
The artwork, painted by a Missouri high school senior, was on display as part of the national Congressional Art Competition. In the painting, the officer is pointing a gun at a protester, who is also depicted as an animal.
Hunter, a retired Marine, told Fox News that the painting made him angry and he decided to pull it off the wall. On Friday, he brought the painting to the office of Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who sponsored the national Congressional Art Competition in his state.
With a confirmation hearing scheduled Tuesday, Republican lawmakers on the Assembly Special Committee on the Office of the Attorney General say they want to know what Rep. Xavier Becerra will do in the office on issues including crime prevention, guns and marijuana.
The law-and order issues are in contrast to Democratic lawmakers' expected questions to Becerra on how he will stand up to President-elect Donald Trump’s threat of mass deportations of immigrants in the country illegally.
All three Republicans on the nine-member Assembly committee say they are going into the session with an open mind and are not ruling out a vote for confirmation.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s aides are assuring lawmakers that his new budget will include a plan for boosting repair of the state’s crumbling roads and bridges similar to the one he floated last year that would have increased transportation funding by $3.6 billion annually.
That plan and others did not advance because they called for increased taxes, which requires a two-thirds vote.
“Just as he did last year, the governor will include in his budget the proposal he had last year or something similar,” predicted state Sen. James Beall Jr. (D-San Jose), who has talked to the governor’s staff. "Hopefully, it’s a little higher in the dollar amount.”
Eight trade groups representing some of the state's most prominent agriculture interests, including strawberry growers, dairies and pistachio farmers, sent a letter Thursday to the Trump transition team, touting Maldonado's bona fides.
"California is the number one agriculture state in the nation producing over 400 commodities with worldwide distribution," the letter reads. "Abel is one of the 78,000 California farmers that makes this happen every day."
Three weeks after ride-hailing company Uber illegally debuted self-driving cars on San Francisco’s streets, a state lawmaker has introduced legislation to boost penalties on companies that defy the law.
The bill from Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) would fine any company that illegally operates such cars up to $25,000 per vehicle per day and prohibit the company from applying for a Department of Motor Vehicles permit to test the technology for two years.
“I applaud our innovation economy and all the companies developing autonomous vehicle technology, but no community should face what we did in San Francisco,” Ting said in a release. “The pursuit of innovation does not include a license to put innocent lives at risk.”
In another challenge to the immigration crackdown proposed by President-elect Donald Trump, a California lawmaker proposed Thursday to greatly expand the number of students in the country illegally who can get discounted, in-state resident tuition at state universities.
“Despite national rhetoric, California remains resolute in integrating the most vulnerable into our society,” said state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), the bill’s author.
A 2001 law provides in-state tuition if immigrants in the country illegally attend three years of school and get a high school diploma. Otherwise, they face more costly tuition charged to students from out of the country.