This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- 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."
- Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) said Friday that a Montana congressional candidate's alleged attack on a reporter was wrong "unless the reporter deserved it."
- 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.
California's housing affordability crisis is driven by a shortage of new home construction.
For the last two years, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers have introduced legislation to make it easier for developers to build. But for even longer than that, the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, the labor group representing construction workers, has pushed for higher pay in homebuilding. The union also has used its considerable sway at the Capitol to influence a key housing cost study and target state bureaucrats and academics it believes have opposed higher pay standards.
The union's opposition was one of the main reasons Brown's housing plan failed last year, and its lack of support for similar pending bills looms over the current housing debate.