California lawmakers on Thursday announced a new effort to address climate change with an increased focus on finding ways to help communities harmed by pollution and poverty.
As reported earlier, the legislation, AB 378, represents an opening bid in the conversation about how to handle the state's cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions.
Although Gov. Jerry Brown has asked lawmakers to extend the program, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said they're not ready to commit to that.
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Thursday formally announced his bid to run for election to the post in 2018, telling supporters he is ready to continue to battle the Trump administration when he thinks the president is trampling on rights.
“The stakes could not be higher,” Becerra wrote in an email to supporters. “Only a few days after I took the oath of office as California Attorney General, the White House began issuing unconstitutional and un-American executive orders that shouldn't see the light of day.”
Becerra, 59, was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to fill the last two years of Kamala Harris' term after she was elected to the U.S. Senate. Becerra has already filed friend-of-the-court briefs in two lawsuits challenging Trump’s travel bans.
An ambitious California law intended to help create retirement security for low-income workers is in the crosshairs of the Trump-era Congress, which is moving to block the state and others from launching programs to automatically enroll millions of people in IRA-type savings plans.
The push is one of the most direct confrontations yet with California and other liberal states by a GOP-led Congress emboldened by President Trump’s election.
And it is intensifying the debate about whether conservatives who now control Washington will honor their pledge to respect states’ rights, even when states pursue policies out of step with the Republican agenda.
For the second time this week, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Wednesday joined counterparts in 16 other states in filing a friend-of-the-court brief challenging President Trump’s travel ban as unconstitutional, this time intervening in a Virginia case.
The lawsuit filed by three Yemeni holders of U.S. visas alleges that when they flew into Washington Dulles International Airport, they were improperly handcuffed and detained and then sent on an airplane to Ethiopia.
The complaint alleges that plaintiffs Tareq Aqel, Mohammed Aziz and Ammar Aqel Mohammed Aziz were forced to sign papers that they neither read nor understood and consequently were coerced into surrendering their visas.
With President Trump pledging $1 trillion for infrastructure, California officials on Wednesday took a break from their feud with the new administration to propose a list of $100 billion in projects for possible federal funding to help rebuild the Golden State’s system of crumbling roads and bridges and improve transit and water storage.
Any federal money for the 51 projects would be in addition to money California is hoping to raise for its aging infrastructure, wrote Nancy McFadden, the governor’s executive secretary, in a letter to the National Governors Assn.
“In the short-term, these projects will benefit businesses up and down the state and put thousands to work — many in communities with the highest rates of unemployment,” McFadden wrote. “Long-term, this investment will have lasting, expansive economic benefits by moving goods and people faster, protecting vulnerable communities from flooding, bolstering emergency response capabilities, saving and storing more water and improving energy reliability.”
Seeking to better integrate refugee families across the state, California lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a package of bills that would offer schools funding to hire translators and counselors, and provide new residents with in-state tuition at public colleges.
The legislation, filed by Assembly members Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) and Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks), aims to push back at what the lawmakers called religious and racially charged rhetoric at the federal level spurring fear and confusion in their districts' refugee and immigrant communities.
"It's nice to be able to be at the forefront of a state that is going to say, 'No,'" Gonzalez Fletcher told reporters at a news conference. "We are going to say, 'No, we are not taking part in this fear mongering and this hatred. And in fact, we are going to do just the opposite.'"