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California Secretary of State Alex Padilla wants to make it easier for people to vote.
President Donald Trump has continued to spread his allegation, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election, fueling Republican demands to enact stricter voter ID laws across the country. Padilla has repeatedly rebuked such claims, and recently strongly condemned a U.S. Department of Justice decision to abandon opposition to a Texas voting law that former President Barack Obama argued makes it harder for poor people and minorities to vote.
“The decision by President Trump’s Department of Justice to withdraw its claim that Texas intentionally discriminated against African American and Latino voters is an abdication of its responsibility to vigorously enforce the Voting Rights Act,” wrote Padilla and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a joint statement. “It risks denying those seeking to participate in the greatest guarantee of our democracy – the right to vote.”
Now Padilla is launching a voter registration effort aimed at encouraging more young people to vote. He’ll be at Robert F. Kennedy High School in Los Angeles to unveil California’s pre-registration initiative that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register so they can automatically vote once they turn 18. Pre-registration is available online. Padilla is expected to talk about the effort and walk students through the process.
WOMAN TAX? A pair of Southern California lawmakers are reviving an effort to overturn California’s so-called “tampon tax.”
Two assemblywomen – Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego and Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens – are expected to announce legislation Thursday to repeal the sales tax on tampons and pads, as well as diapers, after similar proposed legislation was vetoed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown. Garcia and others last year said it amounts to a tax on being a woman. A press conference is set for 10 a.m. in Room 317 of the Capitol. Other women and moms are also scheduled to speak.
HOUSING CRISIS: Momentum is building for legislation from two state lawmakers from San Francisco, one of the tightest rental markets in the country, to address California’s unprecedented housing crisis.
Assemblyman David Chiu’s Assembly Bill 71, which would eliminate a state mortgage interest deduction for second homes and provide an estimated $300 million a year for affordable housing programs, cleared the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee this week. And Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 35, which would streamline the construction for affordable housing projects, cleared the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.
GREEN PARTY: Jill Stein, the Green Party’s nominee for president last year who led a high-profile vote recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania after Trump won, is coming to UC Davis tonight. Stein is slated to discuss the “current political movement, progressive grassroots activism and the importance of local action.”
The talk, organized by the Yolo and Sacramento Green parties and the university’s Black Student Union, begins at 8 p.m. in Wellman Hall at UC Davis. Stein is also scheduled to address the Green Party of California’s spring convention in Bakersfield this weekend.
CAL BIZ: The California Chamber of Commerce hosts its state legislative summit from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Speakers are expected to discuss the state’s changing political landscape and statewide issues such as air quality and flood protection, transportation and health care. Becerra, former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg are among the speakers.
MUST READ: Will Los Angeles Mayor lauch a 2018 run for governor? If so, he’d join a growing list of contenders seeking to succeed Brown, who is termed out in 2018.
WORTH REPEATING: “We are building a massive and powerful coalition across ... this country.” – Treasurer John Chiang, on effort to prevent a GOP attempt in Congress to block California’s Secure Choice retirement program.
Angela Hart: 916-325-5528, @ahartreports