This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- Gov. Jerry Brown told the Times Wednesday that a decision by President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change would be "tragic."
- Legislators at the state Capitol will winnow down the hundreds of bills pending by Friday afternoon, quietly killing some of them which have been sitting in what's called the "suspense file."
- African Americans in the California Democratic Party want an apology made to Rep. Maxine Water (D-Los Angeles) after her microphone was cut off at last weekend's convention.
In his first 100 days in office, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra has filed a flood of legal briefs challenging Trump administration orders on immigration, the environment and other issues, and he said Wednesday he expects much of his future to be taken up by fighting new attacks on the state’s policies.
Becerra told reporters during an appearance to mark the completion of 100 days in office that he will also pursue other priorities, including a crackdown on nonprofit groups that scam consumers or improperly spend their money on political campaigns.
“I am tired of seeing people abuse the not-for-profit status for their own benefit or for someone’s benefit except for those they say they are trying to help when they ask you for charitable contributions,” Becerra said. He condemned "veterans organizations that are out there doing anything but helping veterans, or those folks who say give them 15 bucks and they will help you get your Social Security checks in the mail.”
Becerra, who took office Jan. 24, also noted that some nonprofits have gotten heavily into politics.
The state’s campaign finance agency levied $1 million in fines in 2013 against two secretive nonprofits from Arizona that funneled $15 million from undisclosed donors into initiative campaigns in California.
“The last thing I think most people want to find out is that all these groups that are getting tax breaks because they are not-for-profit are actually going out there and influencing our political system,” Becerra said.
The attorney general noted he spent much of his first 100 days fighting Trump immigration orders and has had to bring in an expert on immigration law, a resource that didn't exist in the office before Becerra arrived.
Becerra has filed several legal briefs in lawsuits challenging Trump administration orders involving immigration, including the threat to withhold federal funds from so-called "sanctuary cities" and states that don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents.
He said police officers and sheriff's deputies in California want to protect Californians by catching criminals.
“They understand that if you are afraid as an immigrant to step forward to be a witness or report a crime against you as a victim that crime will continue in the neighborhoods,” Becerra said. “Law enforcement has made it very clear; they want to enforce our public safety laws. They are not interested in becoming immigration enforcement officers.”
His future calendar also includes defending several gun control laws approved by the Legislature and governor last year that are facing lawsuits by the National Rifle Assn.
“We have the most farsighted laws and regulations for gun safety," Becerra said. "We know we are going to have to defend those. We will.”