This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Wednesday that he intends to open a satellite attorney general's office in Washington, D.C. , as he prepares to fight the Trump administration.
- The results from California's latest cap-and-trade auction are in, and revenue from the sale of pollution credits was weak.
- A bill that would set up a state-funded legal aid system for immigrants will be amended by its author to allow those with criminal records to apply for assistance.
A Sacramento-area assemblywoman wants Californians to decide if it should be easier to raise taxes or issue bonds to finance transit, water, parks and low-income housing projects.
Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) has proposed a constitutional amendment that would lower the margin needed for local governments to pass a tax hike or bond measure to pay for such efforts from a two-thirds supermajority to 55%.
"Local communities know their priorities best," Aguiar-Curry said in a release. "This constitutional amendment will offer an important tool for local leaders to support projects and determine how to pay for them."
Because the measure is a constitutional amendment, it will require a two-thirds supermajority vote of the Legislature to pass. If that happens, state voters will decide whether to lower the threshold to pass these tax hikes in 2018.
Nearly 80% of two-thirds supermajority measures put before local voters since 2001 garnered more than 55% “yes” votes, but ultimately failed because they fell short of the two-thirds threshold, according to Aguilar-Curry's office.
Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has proposed a similar constitutional amendment to lower the threshold for passage, but only for transportation projects.