This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislators went to Concord Thursday to tout their transportation package, which they unveiled Wednesday at the state Capitol.
- Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León amended his "sanctuary state" bill Thursday morning to allow law enforcement to notify federal immigration officials about the release of violent felons.
- Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones hosted a community forum on immigration Tuesday, where the guest speaker was the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Democrat Christy Smith will run against state Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Valencia) in 2018, setting up a potential rematch between the candidates who faced off in 2016.
Acosta beat Smith, the president of the Newhall School District, in November, winning 52.9% of the vote in the Santa Clarita-area district.
The district historically elects Republicans, but the GOP has seen its voter registration advantage slowly drop from an edge of more than 5 percentage points over Democrats in voter registration in the district in 2014 to just 1.7 percentage points in 2016.
The Santa Clarita area, which overlaps with Rep. Steve Knight's 25th Congressional District, has seen a surge in activism organized by local Democratic clubs since the inauguration of President Trump.
In a statement, Smith said she intends to capitalize on that energy.
"It's a movement that isn’t about any one of us — but rather all of us — and it's what has inspired me to step up to the plate and to run again for the California State Assembly," she said. "This movement has given me both the courage and the drive to stand up and fight against the politics of division and for a better life for the people of our community and our state."
Smith had been considering a run against Knight but declared in the state Assembly race hours after Agua Dulce Democrat Katie Hill said she was running for Congress in 2018.