This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- Gov. Jerry Brown told the Times Wednesday that a decision by President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accord on climate change would be "tragic."
- Legislators at the state Capitol will winnow down the hundreds of bills pending by Friday afternoon, quietly killing some of them which have been sitting in what's called the "suspense file."
- African Americans in the California Democratic Party want an apology made to Rep. Maxine Water (D-Los Angeles) after her microphone was cut off at last weekend's convention.
State utility regulators will continue to oversee Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies for the foreseeable future under new plans unveiled by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday.
But Brown proposed shifting oversight of smaller transportation options, including intrastate moving companies, charter boats and hot air balloons, from the California Public Utilities Commission to different state and local agencies by mid-2018.
The governor argued the changes would allow the agency to focus on oversight for the ride-hailing, limousine and other industries under its control.
“Streamlining the PUC’s existing functions will improve the program performance for the transportation responsibilities that remain with the PUC,” Brown’s May budget revision says.
The PUC also regulates energy and gas companies and has been beset with years of problems in handling major energy crises, including the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear power plant and the Aliso Canyon gas leak. The PUC’s president, among others, has argued the agency should jettison some authority so it could better oversee the energy sector.
Last year, Brown and lawmakers had reached a deal to move some responsibility over ride-hailing companies out of the agency amid a number of other changes. But major aspects of the plan fell apart at the end of the Legislative session.
The governor remains open to further changes to transportation oversight at the PUC, the May budget revision says.