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.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) said Monday he is "not prepared" to vote for Republican's health care bill.
"I'm not prepared to vote for it [as it] is right now," the long-serving Republican congressman said Monday on "Fox and Friends."
Issa said there aren't specific aspects of the bill he disagrees with, but that he believes the current Republican plan could be better. He has proposed his own healthcare replacement bill, which would allow all Americans to purchase the insurance plans offered to federal workers.
Millions of Californians would lose health insurance if the GOP bill is approved, experts have estimated, largely because one in three residents is covered by Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program that expanded under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The GOP bill would start phasing out federal funding for that expansion in 2020, leaving states to foot the bill or drop poor people from Medicaid rolls.
Issa told the Fox hosts he is waiting to see Congressional Budget Office estimates about the costs and effects of the GOP plan, a number that should be available in the next day or two.
Issa scraped together a win in November over a novice candidate by fewer than 2,000 votes, as his Orange County district picked Hillary Clinton for president. Democrats have announced they will target his seat in 2018.
Several California Republicans who represent districts that went for Clinton has said they're either still making up their minds, or have been mum on the healthcare bill in general.
Issa held two town halls Saturday, one alone and a second with Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), both of which turned raucous at times with hundreds of residents voicing their concerns about potential changes to Obamacare.
"This is part of American democracy," Issa told the hosts. "I don't think anyone should be surprised."