There are a few bits of conventional wisdom that suggest Democrats have a long road ahead. For one, Republicans often turn out in greater numbers than their Democratic counterparts in midterm-election years.
And even though Hillary Clinton won seven of the Republican-held districts Democrats are now targeting, past election data show voters there still lean much more conservative than other parts of the state.
Within a day of President Trump’s election last November, California's top Democratic lawmakers responded with a joint statement that contained an audacious promise. It was their state, not Washington, D.C., that would be the "keeper of the nation's future."
An artistic rendering of that vow, with looping calligraphy and a roaring grizzly, is now on display in the offices of Senate leader Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. In the wake of Trump's win, the words seemed to be a sort of foundational document — California's declaration of resistance.
That pugilistic posture is often conveyed in shorthand: California versus Trump. But the ensuing legislative year, which ended Friday, revealed the messy reality of squaring up against the federal government.
From immigration issues to housing, some of the biggest debates of the Legislature's nine-month session happened at the very end.
In governing, as in life, deadlines often make things happen.
On this week's California Politics Podcast, we take an early look at some of the most important decisions lawmakers made in the final few days of the 2017 session in Sacramento. That includes a landmark decision to intervene in the issue of illegal immigration, and to pass a long discussed package of bills to begin addressing California's housing crisis.
A detailed plan for spending more than $621 million collected through California's climate change program was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday, along with new rules on the sale of medical and recreational marijuana.
Brown signed seven bills, all related to the state budget, just hours after the Legislature sent them to his desk in its final day of the 2017 session.
The climate money, raised through California's sale of greenhouse gas pollution credits, represents the bulk of a $1.5 billion spending agreement between the governor and Democratic legislative leaders earlier in the week.
California lawmakers on Saturday passed a “sanctuary state” bill to protect immigrants without legal residency in the U.S., part of a broader push by Democrats to counter expanded deportation orders under the Trump administration.
The landmark legislation by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) would limit state and local law enforcement communication with federal immigration authorities, and prevent officers from questioning and holding people on immigration violations. But the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown drastically scaled back the version first introduced, the result of tough negotiations between Brown and De León in the final weeks of the legislative session.
Its passage already is reverberating across the country. Trump administration officials have sounded off in opposition. And immigrant rights groups and some California law enforcement officials have come out in support of what they call a hard compromise.
Despite a last-minute push from environmentalists and actors from "The Avengers," legislation that eventually would require all of California's electricity to come from clean sources failed to advance this year.
Facing opposition from unions and utilities, Assembly leadership refused to put the measure, SB 100, up for a vote on Friday, the final day of the legislative session.
"The decision to not move the bill this year is disappointing," said Kathryn Phillips, director of the Sierra Club's California chapter. "But we are committed to moving this policy next year. There's no time to waste."