A group of officials including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday called on state legislators to end a stalemate over approving a transportation funding plan to cover a $130-billion backlog of repairs to California’s roads, bridges and highways.
Current legislation that would raise the gas tax and vehicle fees to generate $5.5 billion annually needs a two-thirds vote of the Legislature but has been bogged down with some Democrats withholding support.
“We have a very simple message for Sacramento today: Fix our streets,” Garcetti said during the rally. “It is time before the April 6 break for the California state Senate and Assembly to do the right thing and fix the streets of our cities and of our region.”
To tackle concerns about college affordability, a Democratic legislator is proposing to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for all Californians, and wants to tax millionaires to do it.
The measure, which echoes calls for tuition-free college by former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), is the latest in a flood of legislation that's been introduced this year to address concerns about the rising cost of attending college.
The state's 1960 Master Plan, which created a framework for higher education institutions, was meant to "make college affordable for everybody. That was going to be the California dream," Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), the proposal's author, said in an interview.
This year, California lawmakers are tackling more than 130 bills that aim to ease the state's housing affordability crisis. One longtime Sacramento observer said this is the most attention legislators have paid to housing issues in three decades.
Highlights include a measure that would strip the state's mortgage interest deduction from vacation-home owners and redirect the roughly $300 million a year saved to finance low-income housing. Other bills would increase spending on low-income housing development by billions of dollars and streamline some local permitting reviews.
Putting the price tag of California's brutal winter storms at $569 million, Gov. Jerry Brown asked President Trump on Sunday for a fourth federal disaster declaration to help speed up recovery and repairs across the state.
"California has experienced one of the heaviest precipitation years in its recent history, and the impacts of storms that occurred in January and February have been extremely destructive to the state," Brown wrote in the letter to Trump.
The request for another disaster declaration specifically mentions the serious damage to both the main and emergency spillways at the Oroville Dam, a crisis that forced the evacuation of almost 200,000 nearby residents on Feb. 11.
Gov. Jerry Brown is headed to Washington amid increasing worry from state lawmakers that sweeping proposals from President Trump and congressional leaders will hit hard on Californians and several high-profile government programs.
The governor's four-day trip, which begins Monday, will be his first since Trump took office, and comes less than a week after Brown sharply criticized the president's proposed path forward on a key environmental policy.
“This is a chance to get a lay of the land in rapidly changing times,” said Evan Westrup, Brown’s press secretary.
Frustrated House Democrats say they got few specifics from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly when they questioned him Friday in a closed-door meeting about his agency's efforts to comply with President Trump's immigration orders.
The orders have caused panic in many of California's immigrant communities because they are aimed at deporting millions of people who are in the country illegally.
Some Democrats in the meeting said Kelly told them "if you don't like the law, change the law," when they complained about how immigration officers seemed to be enforcing laws under Trump.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) takes time to meet with protesters who had a list of grievances against her as she arrived for a fundraising stop in Los Angeles.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) held an impromptu question and answer session Friday with a couple of dozen liberal activists outside a Hancock Park home where she was raising money for her 2018 reelection campaign.
Many in the crowd demanded Feinstein take a more outspoken stand against the Trump administration, including filibustering Judge Neil Gorsuch’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination.
Feinstein said “it makes no sense” for her to make up her mind before going through Gorsuch's cases, adding she was “humiliated” that President Obama’s pick to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat, Merrick Garland, never got hearings.
With a road-repair funding plan lagging in support among Democratic lawmakers, the Brown administration is stepping up pressure on them to reach a deal before the Legislature goes on spring break April 6.
A bill that would raise the gas tax and vehicle fees to provide $5.5 billion annually to fix crumbling roads and improve mass transit needs a two-thirds vote, which would require all Democratic senators to support it given that the Republicans oppose the tax increases.
But two Democrats — Sens. Richard Roth of Riverside and Henry Stern of Woodland Hills — did not vote for the bill, Senate Bill 1, in committee, and a third, Sen. Steve Glazer of Concord, indicated Friday that he is not yet on board.