This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
- If congressional Republicans eliminate the federal estate tax, one Sacramento lawmaker says he'll ask voters to create a state version and use the money for a variety of California programs.
- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders received a rock star's welcome in Los Angeles over the holiday weekend.
Declaring California to be “out of control,” President Trump threatened to withhold federal funding to the state if it votes to declare itself a sanctuary state.
A state Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill from State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from using officers or jails to uphold federal immigration laws, effectively a statewide version of so-called sanctuary cities.
In an interview airing during Fox’s Super Bowl pregame show, Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly asked the president about the plan.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said, reiterating his opposition to sanctuary cities, which he said “breed crime.” He signed an executive order in his first week in office that threatened to withhold federal funding for cities that don't cooperate with federal immigration officials.
“If we have to, we’ll defund," Trump said. "We give tremendous amounts of money to California. California in many ways is out of control, as you know.”
Trump said it wasn’t his preference to do so, and that states and cities should get money they need “to properly operate.”
But, “if they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon,” he said.