Capitol Alert

State lawmakers battle over whether California is safer as ‘sanctuary state’

AG Sessions says DOJ will cut funding to sanctuary cities

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice will stop awarding grants to sanctuary cities during a White House press briefing. "Unfortunately some states and cities have adopted policies designed to frustrate the enforc
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice will stop awarding grants to sanctuary cities during a White House press briefing. "Unfortunately some states and cities have adopted policies designed to frustrate the enforc

Welcome to the AM Alert, your morning rundown on California policy and politics. To receive it regularly, please sign up here.

A battle brewing in the state Legislature over how California law enforcement agencies handle undocumented immigrants detained for alleged crimes is growing more heated.

Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, is holding a 9 a.m. press conference to tout proposed legislation aimed at closing what he called “loopholes” in a so-called ‘sanctuary state’ bill, SB 54, by Senate President Kevin de León. The measure would “prohibit local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest” people for immigration enforcement actions.

Gallagher’s Assembly Bill 298 would require law enforcement agencies to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and hold undocumented people who have been convicted of felonies for up to 48 hours, even if the person is eligible for release from custody.

The law “would ensure felons are not protected if California becomes a “sanctuary state...” Gallagher’s office said in a news release. He is one of a growing number of Republicans taking aim at de León’s bill.

State Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, said in a recent interview that it “shields rapists and criminals,” while de León argued that “sanctuary counties are not only safer that comparable non-sanctuary jurisdictions but are also better off economically.”

Gallagher’s news conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. in Room 444 of the Capitol. The bill is up for its first hearing in the Assembly Public Safety committee, which begins at 9 a.m. SB 54 is expected to be taken up by the full Senate in early April, according to his spokesman.

TRUMP’S TAXES: State Sens. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg and Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, are calling on President Donald Trump to release his taxes. They’re expected to ratchet up public pressure by highlighting their Senate Bill 149 at a 1 p.m. press conference at Capitol Park on N Street, between 12th and 13th streets.

“President Trump broke with 40 years of tradition by every U.S. president – Republican and Democrat alike – by refusing to release his tax returns,” McGuire said in a statement. “What we need is true transparency – the transparency that provides the basis for real accountability and protects our constitutional values. And to get that, we need Donald Trump’s tax returns.”

The press conference is also aimed at drawing attention to a planned march on April 15, where the Democratic lawmakers will join a coalition calling for the release of Trump’s tax returns.

“Tax March Sacramento” is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 15 at Southside Park downtown Sacramento.

HIV LAWS: Wiener’s Senate Bill 239, which seeks to downgrade the punishment for infecting someone with HIV to a misdemeanor, is up for a hearing in the Senate Public Safety committee, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Room 3191 of the Capitol. Wiener said he proposed the bill in part because current law has not helped stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.

TEACHER TENURE: Public school teachers will join Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, at a 10 a.m. press conference to discuss her proposed bill that would extend the probationary time teachers have to qualify for tenure.

Assembly Bill 1220, or the Teacher and Student Success Act, would make the tenure probationary period three years instead of two, and allow school districts to extend it as long as five years. In a statement, Weber said the change will give teachers additional time, and professional development support, needed to achieve tenure if deemed necessary. In the statement, Weber said there is “consensus” among teachers that the current two-year tenure timeline is “too short.”

“For those circumstances where a teacher shows potential but hasn’t hit his or her stride, the bill provides for an optional 4th or 5th year with additional investment in professional development,” officials said in a statement.

The press conference is in Room 317 of the Capitol.

CALIFORNIA VETERANS: Republican state lawmakers are set to unveil a package of legislation aimed at expanding assistance for California military veterans. The proposed bills seek to improve mental health care for veterans, increase veterans medical facilities and expand job assistance programs, among other things.

The press conference will feature state Senators Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel (tentatively), Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, Andy Vidak, R-Hanford and Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-Santee. Veterans representatives from the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans America and the Women’s Veterans Alliance, among others, will also be present.

Additional details are set to be released at a news conference set for 10 a.m. in Room 305 of the Capitol.

SECURE CHOICE: The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on a Republican-sponsored proposal to scrap a U.S. Department of Labor regulation meant to ease the creation of state-managed retirement plans such as California's Secure Choice. Repeal would be bad news for Secure Choice, officials said Monday at the Secure Choice board meeting, but they think the program would still have adequate federal labor law safeguards to go forward.

FREIGHT IN THE GOLDEN STATE: Transportation experts are set to discuss the economic and environmental sustainability of California’s public and private freight system. The wide-ranging forum includes speakers from the University of California, as well as the California Transportation Commission. They will touch on how to improve efficiency, and transition to zero-emissions operations.

The event is free and open to the public. It’s at the University of California Center in Sacramento from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1130 K St., Room LL3.

WORTH REPEATING: “I hope you’re wrong.” – California Deputy Treasurer Steve Juarez, on the prospect that the U.S. Senate Tuesday will repeal a 2016 labor rule that helps the Secure Choice state retirement program

MUST READ: New state money for road repairs? A transportation deal is taking shape between Gov. Jerry Brown, Democratic state leaders.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, who turns 57 today.

Angela Hart: 916-326-5528, @ahartreports