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Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder kicks off a two-day summit in Sacramento Tuesday, when Democratic leaders in the state Senate are expected to take up a broad assessment of possible threats and potential safeguards to California’s laws and policies under the Trump administration.
Already, the Legislature has proposed several bills this session to address concerns voiced by some, including Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, since Trump’s inauguration.
One would prohibit state and local law enforcement from using resources to investigate, arrest or detain suspects for immigration enforcement purposes. Another would establish a state legal aid fund to assist immigrants facing deportation. A third would bar landlords from disclosing information related to tenants’ immigration status.
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Democratic lawmakers last month hired Holder, agreeing to pay his firm Washington, D.C.-based firm Covington & Burling, $25,000 a month to assist with legal issues.
Holder, described in the agenda for the closed-door summit as an expert in “complex litigation and investigation matters,” was brought in to help lawmakers thwart moves they see as federal overreach. The move was unusual, in that state Attorney General Xavier Becerra acts as the state’s chief law enforcement adviser.
Becerra has upped the stakes for California in the intensifying national legal battle over President Donald Trump’s travel and immigration ban targeting people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, calling it “unconstitutional and un-American.”
On Monday he filed a friend-of-the-court brief, along with 15 other state attorneys general across the U.S., backing the lawsuit initiated last week by Washington state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The suit seeks to overturn Trump’s travel and immigrant ban, which has been temporarily halted by a federal judge.
The matter is expected to be key in discussions at the Senate’s Democratic Caucus annual gathering, in addition to conversations about other aspects of immigration policy, health care and environmental protections.
SHOWDOWN 2018: Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is expected to deliver his 2018 gubernatorial endorsement this morning to Treasurer John Chiang, his aides confirm.
Rendon and Chiang are longtime friends, so the selection is not surprising, even if the candidate field to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown includes several other well-known Democrats, from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
In addition to their personal relationship, Rendon views Chiang as a potential calming influence amid the tumult of the Trump presidency, the aides said, describing Chiang as a steady, progressive hand who during his time as treasurer and controller demonstrated an ability to lead in a measured way.
BILL WATCH: With less than two weeks remaining before the bill introduction deadline, lawmakers are championing a blitz of newly proposed laws. Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, is expected to introduce a bill at 10 a.m. in room 317 of the Capitol that would create a “bill of rights” for first responders.
“Today, (emergency-medical-service) workers across the state don’t have adequate rest and meal breaks, protections against violence in the workplace, or access to mental health care,” Rodriguez said in a statement. He is a longtime emergency medical technician.
CALIFORNIA TOKING: Lawmakers and government officials across the state are scrambling to create local regulations to address recently enacted medical marijuana regulations. Now state lawmakers will tackle the complex legal framework between medical and recreational marijuana at an informational hearing from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday in room 4202 of the Capitol.
WORTH REPEATING: “We have an obligation to provide a safe environment where students can grow and learn.” – Letter from Republican state senators, requesting a hearing on last week’s protests at UC Berkeley.
BY THE NUMBERS: California receives more than $343 billion a year in federal funds annually, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts study that analyzed data from 2012 to 2013. This is more than any other state, potentially giving Trump a lot of leverage. Not so fast, some California lawmakers say.
MUST READ: Trump restates that he has the authority to ban travel from certain countries after 16 attorneys general across U.S., including Becerra, back effort to overturn it.
Angela Hart, 916-326,5528 @ahartreports