Capitol Alert

Newsom, Trump escalate climate feud + Rethinking judicial workloads

Top of the Tuesday morning to you, readers. Tips, recipes, feedback, Sacramento’s best fall activities? Send ‘em my way: hwiley@sacbee.com

‘A DAMN SHAME’

That’s what Gov. Gavin Newsom called President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change.

“I don’t know what the hell happened to this country that we have the president that we do today on this issue,” Newsom said at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Monday.

“It’s a damn shame, it really is. I’m not a little embarrassed about it. I’m absolutely humiliated by what’s going on.”

Throughout his speech, Newsom compared the Golden State’s progressive energy policies to Trump’s continued efforts to rollback environmental regulations.

“We are not bystanders. We have agency. And we can shape this debate,” Newsom said. “Five to one, the number of clean energy jobs in the state of California versus fossil fuel jobs. Which makes, then, the paradigm of this notion of alternative energy flip on its head. Alternative energy in the state of California is fossil fuel energy.”

The state launched its 60th lawsuit against the White House last week after the president yanked California’s ability to set its own air pollution rules.

The next move, late Monday, came from the Trump administration.

“Since the 1970s, California has failed to carry out its most basic tasks under the Clean Air Act,” wrote Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler to California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols.

“As evidenced by the EPA’s recent work on interstate air pollution issues as well as analysis accompanying its rulemakings, California’s chronic air quality problems are not the result of cross-state air pollution or this administration’s regulatory reform efforts,” Wheeler continued.

The Trump administration advised California to withdraw its “backlogged and unapproved” plans to reduce air pollution in heavily affected areas. Instead, the EPA said California needs to work with the White House to develop “approvable” plans or risk the withholding of funding for highway projects.

“We certainly want to avoid these statutory triggers, but our foremost concern must be ensuring clean air for all Americans,” Wheeler concluded, before delivering an Oct. 10 deadline for a California response. “That is our goal.”

FRIENDS, NOT FOES

Two things former Gov. Jerry Brown and China have in common?

1. A distaste for Trump’s policies

2. A plan to combat climate change

Back in June, Capitol bureau reporter Sophia Bollag wrote that Brown had plans to launch the California-China Climate Policy Institute at the University of California, Berkeley with China.

At the U.N. summit on Monday, Brown and China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs Xie Zhenhua formally announced the initiative.

The two will lead the institute’s research plans.

Good timing, too, as Trump and President Xi Jinping duke it out over trade tariffs and China’s military efforts.

“As storm clouds continue to darken relations between China and the United States, climate change is a way to keep the doors open,” Brown said. “We are going to do something important, during this rather dismal state in our mutual relationship.”

The research topics will include cleaner transportation solutions, climate resilience, sustainable agriculture and long-term environmental strategies.

JUDGMENT DAY

The Judicial Council of California is convening today to consider a new approach that would prioritize needs for judges across the state.

Based on a Sept. 10 study, California is short 173 judges in 19 courts. To fill those slots, the report notes the state has to evaluate how new laws and policies are affecting judicial workloads.

Those revisions should weigh statewide efforts to “reform the criminal justice system,” and take into consideration:

  • A lack of legislative mandate funding that’s affected workload and courts personnel
  • An emphasis on rehabilitation and “less on punishment” that’s increased workloads in specialty courts
  • An increase in civil cases and mental health filings
  • An uptick in court supervision and the number of hearings tied to diversion programs

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

September 23 ⁠— Assemblyman Adam Gray, D- Merced

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“The world is waking up, and change is coming. Whether you like it or not.”

- Greta Thunberg, 16, speaking at the Climate Action Summit in New York on Monday

Best of The Bee:

Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
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