Gov. Jerry Brown proposed Thursday to increase the budget of Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra to pay for continuing the barrage of lawsuits that have been filed challenging executive orders by President Trump on immigration, the environment and healthcare.
The revised budget adds $6.5 million to provide 19 attorneys and 12 support staff focused primarily on health care, environmental, immigration and consumer protection issues, according to Chris Moyer, a spokesman for Becerra..
“There are unique litigation expenses right now and the attorney general feels that he wants to pursue those and I think he should be given some latitude,” Brown told reporters. “There are some real legal issues [raised] by Mr. Trump and his deputies there in Washington. We do have to defend our rights. I think as an initial investment its reasonable but certainly I would be watching it carefully over the next year.”
Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday the state’s scandal-plagued tax board will have to undergo reform, but it is unlikely the panel would be merged with other state financial agencies.
A recent Department of Finance audit found that the state Board of Equalization “had difficulty providing complete and accurate documentation” in response to basic financial inquiries and could not consistently explain why some tax money was misdirected to the wrong state accounts.
In response, Brown stripped the board of its power to hire and approve contracts and asked for an investigation by the state Department of Justice.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget holds back $50 million from the University of California until it adopts reforms recommended by a scathing state audit that found the system has tens of millions of dollars in undisclosed reserves and paid excessive salaries to administrators.
“I put the $50 million in there so we can hold their feet to the fire,” Brown told reporters in announcing the May revision to his annual budget. “That’s the way we will reinforce the audit. They have to make some reports and create some transparency, and we will keep the money until they perform to the auditor’s satisfaction.”
Brown stopped short of calling for the resignation of UC President Janet Napolitano when asked about it by a reporter.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) has called for an independent prosecutor to take over the FBI investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's possible ties to it.
His comment comes on the heels of President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.
“The timing of the firing makes it necessary to hand the investigation over to an independent prosecutor so it’s above reproach,” McClintock said.
When it comes to climate change, the California Chamber of Commerce is best known for suing over the state's cap-and-trade program, a cornerstone of the state's efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.
But the lawsuit has faltered, and the powerful business group now wants to work with lawmakers to extend the program, which requires companies to buy permits to release emissions into the atmosphere. The chamber also wants to strike a deal in the next month, a deadline pushed for by Gov. Jerry Brown.
"Now is the time,” Allan Zaremberg, the organization’s president, said in an interview. “Not a year or two from now. It gets harder, not easier.”
The memo used by the Trump administration to explain the firing of FBI Director James Comey "appears to have been hastily assembled to justify a preordained outcome," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a statement Thursday.
Though she initially held back, in keeping with a temperament the long-serving senator is known for, Feinstein's criticism of Comey's firing has escalated since Tuesday.
The White House has leaned heavily on a memo written by Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein to push back against an outcry from Democrats and some Republicans over the firing of a man who was leading an investigation involving Trump's presidential campaign.
The contrast between the leading contenders to become the next chairperson of the California Democratic Party was clear at a debate between the hopefuls Wednesday: Longtime party official Eric Bauman said the party must expand on its existing successes, while activist Kimberly Ellis countered that it had lost its way and needs to be fundamentally overhauled.
“I’m running not just to bring a new vision to the party. I’m running not just to bring new perspective, not just to change the tone, tenor and culture of our politics,” said Ellis, the candidate who received loudest cheers and applause from the hundreds of delegates at the party gathering in a San Diego union hall. “I’m running to be chair of the California Democratic Party to redefine what it means to be a Democrat and get this party back to basics.”
The California Democratic Party, the largest and most liberal in the nation, has enjoyed years of electoral and financial success. But it is at a crossroads: The progressive forces that coalesced behind Bernie Sanders in last year’s presidential primary and railed against the Democratic establishment are now seeking to redefine the state party.