Within a day of President Trump’s election last November, California's top Democratic lawmakers responded with a joint statement that contained an audacious promise. It was their state, not Washington, D.C., that would be the "keeper of the nation's future."
An artistic rendering of that vow, with looping calligraphy and a roaring grizzly, is now on display in the offices of Senate leader Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. In the wake of Trump's win, the words seemed to be a sort of foundational document — California's declaration of resistance.
That pugilistic posture is often conveyed in shorthand: California versus Trump. But the ensuing legislative year, which ended Friday, revealed the messy reality of squaring up against the federal government.
From immigration issues to housing, some of the biggest debates of the Legislature's nine-month session happened at the very end.
In governing, as in life, deadlines often make things happen.
On this week's California Politics Podcast, we take an early look at some of the most important decisions lawmakers made in the final few days of the 2017 session in Sacramento. That includes a landmark decision to intervene in the issue of illegal immigration, and to pass a long discussed package of bills to begin addressing California's housing crisis.
A detailed plan for spending more than $621 million collected through California's climate change program was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday, along with new rules on the sale of medical and recreational marijuana.
Brown signed seven bills, all related to the state budget, just hours after the Legislature sent them to his desk in its final day of the 2017 session.
The climate money, raised through California's sale of greenhouse gas pollution credits, represents the bulk of a $1.5 billion spending agreement between the governor and Democratic legislative leaders earlier in the week.
California lawmakers on Saturday passed a “sanctuary state” bill to protect immigrants without legal residency in the U.S., part of a broader push by Democrats to counter expanded deportation orders under the Trump administration.
The landmark legislation by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) would limit state and local law enforcement communication with federal immigration authorities, and prevent officers from questioning and holding people on immigration violations. But the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown drastically scaled back the version first introduced, the result of tough negotiations between Brown and De León in the final weeks of the legislative session.
Its passage already is reverberating across the country. Trump administration officials have sounded off in opposition. And immigrant rights groups and some California law enforcement officials have come out in support of what they call a hard compromise.
Despite a last-minute push from environmentalists and actors from "The Avengers," legislation that eventually would require all of California's electricity to come from clean sources failed to advance this year.
Facing opposition from unions and utilities, Assembly leadership refused to put the measure, SB 100, up for a vote on Friday, the final day of the legislative session.
"The decision to not move the bill this year is disappointing," said Kathryn Phillips, director of the Sierra Club's California chapter. "But we are committed to moving this policy next year. There's no time to waste."
California lawmakers on Saturday shelved a bill that would have required Internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T to get permission from customers before using, selling or allowing access to their browser history.
The legislation by Assemblyman Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) would have enshrined in state law some federal Internet privacy regulations that were rolled back this year by President Trump and Congress. The regulations limited what broadband providers can do with their customers' data.
California lawmakers wrapped up their work for the year early Saturday morning, with sweeping new legislation to address issues from illegal immigration to the state's housing crunch — with hundreds of bills being debated and decided in the final 48 hours.
Leaders of the state Senate and Assembly praised the work of the Legislature in remarks after the final gavels fell in both houses.
"I think this has been an historic year for all of our accomplishments," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) just after 2 a.m. Saturday. "We put our values into action."
A proposal to help California guard against rollbacks of federal regulations stalled early Saturday morning at the end of the state's legislative session.
SB 49 would have enshrined large swaths of federal environmental protection regulations and other rules into state law. The goal was to prevent changes made by the Trump administration from affecting California.
"It's trying to freeze time," said Sen. Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles), an author of the legislation.
California lawmakers on Saturday passed a Senate bill that would turn the state into a sanctuary for immigrants without legal residency in the country, part of a broader push by Democrats to counter expanded deportation orders under the Trump administration.
After passionate debate on both House chamber floors, staunch opposition from Republican sheriffs and threats from Trump administration officials against so-called sanctuary cities, SB 54 by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) was approved with a final 27-11 vote. But the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown was drastically scaled back from the version first introduced, changes that were negotiated between Brown and De León in the final weeks of the legislative session.
On the Senate floor minutes before 2 a.m. Saturday, De León said the changes did not erode the mission of the bill, which was to protect hardworking families, and reflected a compromise between law enforcement officials and advocates.