After dozens of advocates and lawyers descended upon the state Capitol to lobby in support of bills to protect immigrants, the state Senate on Monday passed legislation that would provide lawyers for immigrants facing deportation and limit the cooperation between local and state law enforcement agencies with federal immigration officials.
The Senate floor approval was the first major hurdle cleared for a legislative package of bills introduced by the majority party Democrats amid rancorous debate over the election of President Trump. The bills now head to the state Assembly for consideration.
In hours-long debate, Democratic lawmakers argued the bills were vital to protect vulnerable immigrants from expanded deportation orders under the Trump administration. They pointed to the economic contributions of all immigrants to the state's economy, and they urged their colleagues to send a message against harmful national rhetoric stereotyping entire communities.
Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) clashed Monday with Gov. Jerry Brown over how a proposal to raise gas taxes for road repairs may add to increases in fuel prices expected from the state's cap-and-trade program.
Fong told Brown during a legislative hearing that he opposes a bill by the governor and legislative leaders that would raise the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon. He warned that drivers could already face higher prices at the pump from the state’s cap-and-trade program, which requires polluters such as oil refineries to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Fong pointed to a report he requested from legislative analysts, who said the price per gallon could increase between 24 cents and 73 cents per gallon by 2031, depending on the cost of cap-and-trade permits.
Actress and activist Sharon Stone spoke about Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) and her willingness to challenge the Trump administration in a new video released on Monday.
Waters, who has represented the 43rd Congressional District since 1991, has taken particular aim at President Trump since he took office in January, including repeatedly calling for him to be impeached.
The video, a mashup of Walters' photos and videos with Stone speaking over the footage, is a response to Fox News host Bill O'Reilly saying last week that he was distracted by Waters' hair while she was giving a speech about patriotism under Trump. He compared her hair to that of the late musician James Brown. O'Reilly apologized after an outcry.
Dozens of advocates, lawyers and community members gathered on opposite sides of the state Capitol on Monday to rally in support of bills to protect immigrants and to reform the bail system across the state.
Cumbia music blared at the start of the event organized by the Service Employees International Union near the Capitol rose garden. Attendees said they planned to lobby for bills they said would counter the effects of the Trump administration's expanded deportation orders.
Among the measures they plan to lobby for is a sanctuary state bill that was filed by Senate leader Kevin de León. It would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using resources for immigration enforcement. Another bill by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would require employers to ask for warrants during workplace raids and set standards so that they don't occur illegally.
The legal battles between California and President Trump over environmental policies are starting to pile up.
State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra is joining with his counterparts in other states to accuse the U.S. Department of Energy of unlawfully delaying new efficiency standards. Becerra and nine other attorneys general filed a notice that they're prepared to sue within 60 days if the federal government doesn't implement standards on portable air conditioners, walk-in coolers and other equipment.
“Energy efficiency standards are a win-win for consumers and the environment," Becerra said in a statement.
Faced with a personal appeal by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Senate panel on Monday gave the first approval to a measure that would raise gas taxes and vehicle fees by $52 billion during the next decade for road and bridge repairs.
The bill by Brown and legislative leaders was approved in a 5-2, party-line vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee, which sent it to the Senate floor, where it is proposed to come up for a vote on Thursday.
“The roads are broken and they are getting worse and they are not going to get better unless we get a significant injection of money,” Brown told the panel in rare testimony to a legislative committee.
Providing driver's licenses to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally has reduced the number of hit-and-run wrecks in California, a new study has found.
The report, released Monday by the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab, provides the first in-depth analysis of the impact of Assembly Bill 60, which in January 2015 allowed immigrants in the country without legal status to apply for special licenses.
More than 600,000 immigrants became eligible to drive legally under the reform in 2015, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The report found the law had no discernable effect on the number of traffic wrecks and fatalities in California.
The advocacy organizations that convinced voters last fall to impose a new waiting period for public review of bills have a message for the Legislature: Don't skip the rules if you don't want to end up in court.
The letter delivered Monday to leaders of the state Assembly and Senate pointed out what the advocates suggested was a less than complete implementation by lawmakers of the legislative transparency ballot measure.
"As supporters of Proposition 54, we write to express our concerns with the Legislature’s implementation to date, which could inadvertently result in the invalidation of bills that the Legislature wishes to pass," said the letter from members of the measure's campaign advisors.
A state Senate panel will conduct an investigation into allegations by the Department of Finance of mismanagement by the State Board of Equalization, which collects taxes, officials announced Monday.
Sen. Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside) says the probe to determine whether public funds were misused will be conducted by the Senate budget subcommittee No. 4 that he chairs.
“Californians should have confidence that their hard-earned tax dollars are being invested and managed in a responsible and transparent manner,” Roth said in a statement, adding that the issues outlined by finance officials “are deeply troubling.”
After failing last year in her attempt to allow Uber and Lyft drivers — and other workers in the state's growing on-demand economy — to collectively bargain for their pay and benefits, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) wants to try again.
Gonzalez Fletcher believes that the drivers should be able to argue for different working conditions, but she and others have struggled to develop a system that would accomplish her goals while at the same time preserving the flexibility that many drivers enjoy.