Newsletter: Essential Politics: Becerra to sue Trump administration over DACA
President Trump kept a low profile this weekend as Hurricane Irma pounded the Caribbean, then the Florida Keys and made its way up the west coast of Florida. He huddled with members of the Cabinet at Camp David and issued an emergency declaration to allow the state to get swift relief once the hurricane passes.
Congress scrapped scheduled Monday votes due to the monster storm.
The Times lifted the paywall on this coverage to help anyone in need of information.
In California, the focus remains on what will happen with Trump’s immigration policies in the weeks and months to come.
John Myers reports that the state will wade into the legal battle Tuesday over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra will announce a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the rescinding of DACA. The action is scheduled to be announced at a late morning event in Sacramento. We’ll have more coverage on our Essential Politics news feed.
It’s the Legislature’s final week in Sacramento, and “sanctuary state” legislation will dominate the headlines. More on that below, but Los Angeles officials are preparing to declare L.A. a “city of sanctuary.” Our team explores if that’s purely an act of symbolism or the beginning of real change in city policy. On Sunday, downtown Los Angeles was the site of (yet another) immigration protest.
Meanwhile, Democrats see momentum on a potential Dream Act vote after Congress approved Trump’s deal with Democrats.
While many are dreaming of an outcome that sees Republicans and Democrats working alongside each other and putting aside differences for a compromise, if they don’t, this political episode could be the GOP’s nightmare, George Skelton wrote in his Thursday column.
REBUILDING TRUST BETWEEN POLICE AND IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES
Negotiations are coming down to the wire on Senate leader Kevin de León’s so-called sanctuary state legislation, which seeks to limit state and local law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration laws. Gov. Jerry Brown has said the goal of Senate Bill 54 should be to curb federal power but that some immigrants in the country illegally who have committed crimes “have no business being in the country.”
For those who remember the passage of the bill’s predecessor, the California Trust Act, the debate is familiar, Jazmine Ulloa reports. Like De León’s legislation, the Trust Act was introduced by Democrats to blunt the effect of federal policy on immigrant communities. It also ignited a bitter fight over whom the state should protect when the federal government casts a wide deportation net that can entangle hardworking families and criminals alike.
CROSSED WIRES ON ENERGY ISSUES
Lawmakers have one week left to make a series of sweeping decisions on the future of California energy, a topic that’s sparking bitter disagreements and last-minute maneuvering.
For starters, unions representing electrical and utility workers recently announced their opposition to Senate Bill 100, a measure from De León that would phase out fossil fuels for generating electricity by 2045.
Why the late opposition? The unions claim De León had promised changes to the legislation that would protect their jobs. But De León’s office claims no such promises were made, and accused the unions’ lobbyist of trying to hold the measure hostage.
The picture grows even more complicated as the governor races to lay the groundwork for a regional electricity grid that would make it easier to share clean energy around the West. It’s been a goal of his for years, but the proposal is becoming public only now after extensive closed-door negotiations with labor unions.
Chris Megerian got an early look at the proposal, which is now part of Assembly Bills 813 and 726. If approved by lawmakers, it could transform the organization responsible for managing California’s electricity grid into a regional entity capable of working with regulators and utilities in other states.
BIG DEVELOPERS WANT HELP FROM STATE LEGISLATORS
An effort to fast-track a proposed arena for the Los Angeles Clippers fell apart last Friday when state lawmakers shelved a plan that would have eased some rules under the state’s primary environmental law governing development for the project, Liam Dillon reports. Earlier in the week, organizers behind Los Angeles’ 2028 Olympic bid asked for their projects to be taken out of the bill. The Clippers have vowed to try again before lawmakers break for the year on Friday.
Meanwhile, Facebook and the developer of two proposed skyscrapers in Hollywood are pushing separate legislation that would provide some relief under the environmental law to get their projects done more quickly, too.
MAKING COLLEGE AFFORDABLE
California is thought of as a so-called progressive state, but there’s one area where it’s lagging behind deep-red Tennessee, Skelton writes in his Monday column: affordable college tuition. AB-19 from Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) would waive fees for all first-year, full-time community college students taking at least 12 units. Lawmakers have just days left until the legislative session ends to approve the bill.
WHO MIGHT STEP ASIDE
No one in the country’s largest state delegation to Congress has announced plans to retire instead of seek reelection in 2018. Yet.
We’re keeping an eye on a handful of California lawmakers ahead of the winter holidays when congressional retirement announcements tend to speed up. Sarah Wire has the story.
LOOKING FOR THE UNION LABEL
Just how much political muscle do the public employee unions have in California? Well, three of California’s top Democratic candidates for governor -- Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang -- ventured to the Inland Empire to show their support for a Service Employees International Union strike against Riverside County. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, who has been considering a run for higher office, also happened to drop by.
RIGHT TURN FOR STATE GOP CONVENTION
The California Republican Party’s October convention in Anaheim is looking like a lovefest for anti-tax conservatives. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, an up-and-comer in the GOP and — at 40 — the youngest member of the Senate, will highlight the conservative lineup of speakers. Others scheduled to appear include House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield); anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist; Fox News star Judge Jeanine Pirro and economist Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation.
NATIONAL POLITICS LIGHTNING ROUND
Talking with Charlie Rose in his first television interview, former White House strategist Steve Bannon wasn’t shy about wanting to seek revenge on the long list of people he thinks are in Trump’s way.
Unbowed by cancer, John McCain takes on Trump and Republicans on budget, immigrants and climate change.
Sen. Bernie Sanders doesn’t sound very excited about Hillary Clinton’s new book, and Doyle McManus writes on the op-ed page that a backward-looking slog through the disappointments of last year’s campaign is not what most Democratic politicians want to dominate the news this fall.
Get the latest about what’s happening in the nation’s capital on Essential Washington.
POLITICAL ROAD MAP: TARGETING THE TOP TWO
California’s Democrats, Republicans and third parties hardly see eye to eye on anything. But one topic elicits an almost unanimous response: They hate the state’s top-two primary.
In his Political Road Map column, John Myers looks at the desire of the party faithful to abolish the 6-year-old open primary system. Though one GOP activist has launched an effort to get a repeal proposal on the 2018 ballot, it’s unclear whether the state’s biggest political donors will open their wallets.
-- California’s reaction to Trump’s decision to roll back the DACA program is the top talker on this week’s California Politics Podcast.
-- Don’t forget that subscribers to this newsletter will be the first to see our new project on California’s congressional races.
-- California lawmakers voted to slim down the state’s bulky voter guide.
-- Sen. Kamala Harris is spending time in the battleground state of Ohio to headline five fundraisers for her Senate colleague Sherrod Brown.
-- A conservative blogger filed a complaint about Republican Travis Allen’s spending in his campaign for California governor.
-- Some members of California’s congressional delegation met with “Dreamers” fasting outside the U.S. Capitol last week.
-- Rep. Duncan Hunter’s chief of staff stepped down amid the FBI investigation into the congressman’s campaign funds.
-- Rep. Barbara Lee proposed legislation to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
-- The head of the Democratic National Committee blasted the Fresno GOP for inviting controversial former Sheriff Joe Arpaio to headline an upcoming fundraiser.
-- Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined other prominent Republicans in filing friend-of-court briefs arguing partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional in a landmark redistricting case the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear next month.
-- Joe Sanberg, a wealthy investor who is rumored to be considering a run for office, launched a statewide digital ad buy and plans to form a federal political action committee centered on his efforts to create and expand income tax credits for the working poor.
-- Former congressman Mike Honda, who lost his seat in a bitter battle with fellow Democrat Ro Khanna last year, has joined a group that’s working to unseat California congressional Republicans in 2018.
-- Berkeley braces for Ben Shapiro’s visit.
-- Former congresswoman and failed Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez is getting into the TV business.
-- A bill to shed more light on pharmacy benefit managers -- a little-scrutinized part of the prescription drug supply chain, was shelved for the year.
-- State lawmakers sent a bill to the governor blocking the public release of police body camera footage depicting rape victims.
-- A financial analysis of a proposed 2018 ballot measure to extend Proposition 13 tax breaks from older to younger homeowners could cost the state and local governments billions of dollars a year.
-- New legislation would provide up to $270 million in state tax dollars, should the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics go over budget.
-- De León brought a stuffed unicorn with him to the Senate floor last week. Here’s why.
-- Rep. Linda Sanchez came back to Washington with a pop of pink hair.
-- Former U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer will join The Times’ Melanie Mason in conversation later this month at the Sacramento Press Club. You can buy tickets here.
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