This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- After receiving pressure to step down because of his cap-and-trade vote, Assembly GOP leader Chad Mayes held a caucus meeting Thursday to discuss his role. Mayes remains in his leadership post, but another top Assembly Republican stepped down from hers in protest.
- Backers of a campaign to force a recall election of state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) filed a lawsuit Thursday to block a new state law they say unfairly changes the rules.
- Environmental activist Tom Steyer renames his political action organization in an effort to shift the focus toward fighting the policies of President Trump.
Senators are breaking ahead of an expected late-night vote on extending cap and trade, the state's signature program to combat climate change.
There will likely be three measures voted on today as part of the cap-and-trade package:
- Assembly Bill 398: This is the main cap-and-trade bill, which would extend the program, now set to expire in 2020, for an additional decade. Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders are aiming for a two-thirds supermajority vote of the Legislature to insulate the decision from legal challenges.
- Assembly Bill 617: This is a companion bill designed to strengthen air quality rules across California. It was designed to address concerns from Democrats that cap and trade wasn't doing enough to protect communities from pollution. This measure requires a simple majority vote.
- Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1: This is a potential 2018 ballot measure written by Assembly GOP leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley. It would require one-time supermajority approval in 2024, as opposed to the majority vote typically necessary, to spend money generated by cap-and-trade auctions as a way to ensure that Republicans have more influence in doling out those revenues. This measure also requires a supermajority vote before it goes on the ballot.
All three measures are starting in the Senate, and if they pass they'll move to the Assembly for final approval. You can watch the Senate debate live here.