Capitol Alert

California gets a win in Census fight + New Senate GOP leader + Newsom’s bullish forecast

‘Not our first rodeo’ California AG says in suing Trump on census question

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on March 27, 2018 describes a lawsuit the state has filed against the Trump administration over census question on citizenship status. Secretary of State Alex Padilla is to the left.
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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on March 27, 2018 describes a lawsuit the state has filed against the Trump administration over census question on citizenship status. Secretary of State Alex Padilla is to the left.

NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET

California officials woke up to some great news Wednesday morning, as a federal judge in New York ordered the Trump administration to remove a citizenship question from the upcoming 2020 Census.

While the case is far from over, given the likely appeal from the federal government, California elections officials are declaring victory.

Secretary of State Alex Padilla cheered the court’s decision, calling it “a major blow to the Trump Administration’s attempts to undermine the 2020 Census.”

“The Trump administration’s plan to question the citizenship of every person in America is a thinly veiled attempt to discourage diverse communities from participating in the census,” Padilla added.

What’s at stake for California?

If there is an undercount because of minority populations not participating because of the citizenship question, the state could have fewer representatives in Congress. California could also lose billions of dollars a year from the federal government for the next decade. California would lose about $2,000 from the federal government for every uncounted person.

Bottom line: This case is far from over, but California won a key round in the Census fight.

NEW SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER

California Senate Republicans unanimously elected Sen. Shannon Grove to be their next leader Tuesday. Grove, who represents Bakersfield, will succeed outgoing Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel.

Grove served in the Assembly from 2010 through 2016 and was elected to the Senate in November. She’s an Army veteran who focuses on Central Valley water, children with special needs and faith.

A vocal conservative, she made headlines in 2015 for suggesting drought was linked to abortion legislation. At the time, she implied that God eased drought in Texas because then Gov. Rick Perry signed a law restricting abortion.

“Shannon is an experienced legislator and I have no doubt she will be an effective messenger and leader,” Bates said in a statement.

Grove will take over as Republican leader March 1.

SPECIAL ELECTIONS ANNOUNCED

Voters will go to the polls in March to choose successors for outgoing Sens. Ricardo Lara and Ted Gaines.

Newsom announced the special elections Tuesday. The primaries will take place March 26 and the final elections will be June 4.

Lara left his Los Angeles-area Senate seat to become the state’s insurance commissioner.

Gaines, who represented the state’s northeast corner, left to serve on the Board of Equalization.

PREPARING FOR THE WORST

California Gov. Gavin Newsom made one thing abundantly clear to reporters when he presented his budget last week: Revenue forecasts are subject to change, given they are based on the economy staying strong. But a new report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office shows “schools could be vulnerable to a recession.”

Though Newsom’s “budget is in remarkably good shape,” the report notes that “recent financial market volatility poses some downside risk for revenues.”

Despite the economic uncertainties ahead, the LAO praises Newsom’s decision to pay down state debts. Among the budget highlights, Newsom wants to spend $4.8 billion more for the state’s “rainy day fund,” $4.8 billion to pay down unfunded retirement liabilities and $4 billion to pay off existing budgetary debt.

IMMIGRATION: CALIFORNIA V. TRUMP

UC Center Sacramento is hosting an event at noon on Wednesday evaluating the Trump administration’s ongoing clashes with California on the issue of immigration. Kevin Johnson, dean of the UC Davis School of Law, will offer his insight through the one-hour lecture.

TWEET OF THE DAY

Mayor London Breed (@LondonBreed) — “We can’t just say there is a homelessness crisis in our city and continue moving at our normal pace. That’s why today I’m introducing legislation declaring a shelter crisis, so we can build shelters and contract for services more quickly, with fewer delays.”

MUST-READ: Gavin Newsom’s first budget: Down payments made, but supporters still want more

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