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.
Republican and Rancho Santa Fe venture capitalist John Cox officially announced his candidacy for governor Tuesday, pitching a platform to stabilize the state's finances.
Cox decried the state's high poverty rate, unfunded pension liabilities and high taxes.
“There are two Californias — the one we have, and the one we could have," he said in a statement. "The California we have is in trouble, and we need to do something about it.”
Cox, an attorney and certified public accountant who moved to San Diego County from Chicago about nine years ago, said last month that he planned to jump-start his campaign with $1 million of his own money.
Cox also is pushing a proposed ballot initiative to overhaul Sacramento by establishing a “neighborhood legislature,” which would add thousands of new “citizen legislators” to the 80 Assembly members and 40 senators who currently make up the California Legislature.
“This campaign is going to be about the neighborhood legislature,” he told The Times last month. “To take our government back from the funders, the cronies and the corrupt.”
There are numerous Democrats running for the office including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Treasurer John Chiang and former state Supt. of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.
Another Republican who has announced a run for governor is former Los Angeles Rams football star Rosey Grier.