Capitol Alert

Republicans call California ‘sanctuary state’ bill a threat to public safety

Sen. Joel Anderson is a conservative Republican from San Diego County, but he voted for a bill that would narrow use of California’s felony murder law.
Sen. Joel Anderson is a conservative Republican from San Diego County, but he voted for a bill that would narrow use of California’s felony murder law. The Sacramento Bee file

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Worried that President Donald Trump will ramp up deportations of immigrants living in the country illegally, California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León took the provocative step earlier this year of introducing Senate Bill 54, to prevent state and local police agencies from using their resources to assist federal authorities with immigration enforcement.

With the support of Democrats and immigrant rights advocates, who argue the measure would help build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities, SB 54 already passed its first committee in January. But it has also earned the ire of many Republicans, particularly state Sen. Joel Anderson of Alpine, who blasted it as a “sanctuary state” proposal that would protect “rapists, murderers, armed robbers, serial drunk drivers, people who endanger and hurt other in our communities” by allowing them back onto California streets.

Anderson is trying to drum opposition to the bill, which is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee next week. Along with several sheriffs, including Sacramento County’s Scott Jones, he will hold a press conference Monday to discuss why SB 54 is a threat to public safety, 10:15 a.m. in Room 113 of the Capitol.

WORTH REPEATING: “We need a clear-eyed view of what the Russians actually did so that all Americans can have faith in our institutions.” – Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself and allow an independent review of Trump-Russia ties

I BELIEVE THE CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE: Expanding early childhood education is a priority of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who ran an organization that prepared children for kindergarten before he ran for office. Along with Assembly Democrats, he’s pushing this year to increase the number of slots in state-subsidized programs, possibly setting up a clash with Gov. Jerry Brown, who has said California is a facing a looming budget shortfall and cannot afford it. Rendon also created a blue ribbon commission last month to examine early childhood education issues, which will meet for the first time at 9:30 a.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol.

LADIES FIRST: It’s the one time a year when there are more women than men on the floor of the California Assembly. The 80 members have each selected a “Woman of the Year” from their districts to be honored during session today at 1 p.m., as well as with a brunch reception in the Capitol basement at 11:30 a.m. and a luncheon on the west steps at 2:30 p.m. This year’s local recipients include Betty January of El Dorado Hills in the 6th Assembly District (Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin); Tamika L’Ecluse of Sacramento in the 7th Assembly District (Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento); Kiyo Sato of Sacramento in the 8th Assembly District (Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova); and Nancy Chaires Espinoza of Elk Grove the 9th Assembly District (Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove).

MUST READ: Layoffs, budget cuts prompted UC Berkeley to pay out $306,000 for PR contract

COMING HOME: It’s not quite the town hall that activists have been asking for, but Rep. David Valadao will host a “hometown huddle” with constituents at his district office in Hanford at 3 p.m. A what? Perhaps hoping to avoid the messy scenes that have greeted other Republican congressman at home, Valadao plans to meet one-one-one with residents for 10 minutes each on a first-come, first-serve basis – though he doesn’t specify how long the huddle will last. Valadao is a top target for Democrats in 2018 after Hillary Clinton carried the district in last November’s presidential election.

HIT THE ROAD, JERRY: There’s just one month left until the April 6 deadline that Brown and Democratic leaders set for themselves to reach a long-delayed deal on transportation funding. Can they negotiate their competing plans on how to raise new revenues for road repairs and public transit in time? The business, construction trades and local government groups that have been pushing for a resolution are ramping up the pressure. They will join Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, who has led the discussions in the Senate, to urge the Legislature to pass a funding package, 10 a.m. at River Glen Park in San Jose.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, who turns 44 today.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff