Attorney General Kamala Harris is keeping busy during her final days in office.
Harris officially takes the oath to become a U.S. senator on Jan. 3, nearly two months after trampling fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez on Election Day. While she’s preparing for her new position in D.C., California’s rising political star is still making news back in Sacramento.
In her capacity as attorney general, Harris and the California Coastal Commission filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the federal Department of Interior’s stance that fracking poses no significant environmental impact. The AG’s Office said the finding cleared the way for fracking off the California coast.
Harris followed on Tuesday announcing a $66 million settlement with Volkswagen over the company’s use of software to purposely bypass emissions controls in some Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche cars. The settlement represents California’s chunk of the company’s $225 payment to a national mitigation fund to address the air pollution caused by the vehicles.
Rep. Xavier Becerra is on deck to succeed Harris, pending confirmation by the California Legislature.
WORTH REPEATING: “We must take every possible step to protect our precious coastline and ocean.” – Harris speaking about the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior over fracking.
PACK YOUR BAGS: Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in late September that prohibited state agencies from forcing their employees to travel to states that allow discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill effectively banned state-funded travel to North Carolina, which passed a now-notorious law in March to strike down local measures protecting gays and lesbians from workplace discrimination and prohibited cities from passing new anti-discriminatory policies. But California’s ban on travel to the home of the Tar Heels could be lifted soon if North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory makes good on a plan to repeal the law in a special session on Wednesday.
VIGIL: Jewish Voice for Peace and the Council on American Islamic Relations are planning a vigil at the Capitol to denounce Islamophobia and racism. The groups intend to read off nine commitments, including condemning racist hate crimes, surveillance on the Muslim community and anti-Muslim profiling. The vigil begins at 5:30 p.m. on the West Steps.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Cheers to Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, who celebrates her 69th, and Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, who turns 61.