Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Jerry Brown closes out trip to Mexico with trade pact

Gov. Jerry Brown wraps up his trip to Mexico today with a focus on economic issues.

He will sign another “memorandum of understanding” this morning on California-Mexico trade before meeting with Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal and Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare Alfonso Navarrete Prida.

While boosting trade and investment opportunities was the main purpose of the trip, it has run up against Brown’s other major goal of expanding environmental cooperation with Mexico.

Despite his vocal efforts to address climate change, activists back in California have been critical of Brown’s ties to oil and gas companies like BP America and Sempra Energy, which were among the business delegates organized by the California Chamber of Commerce that paid for the trip. Hydraulic fracturing, the controversial oil extraction method, has been a significant point of contention.

Brown should be back across state lines by tonight, which leaves Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins half a day to make her mark as acting governor.

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HANDS OFF MY GAS: As California draws closer to bringing transportation fuel into its cap-and-trade program, tensions have arisen over an expected jump in gas prices. Oil industry groups are pushing back on the rule and Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, introduced a bill earlier this month that would delay its implementation for three more years, while utilities that are already regulated under cap-and-trade are urging the state to move forward with the expansion. Small businesses will weigh in today against the regulation. The California chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses is holding a press conference to discuss how increased fuel costs would negatively affect its members, 10 a.m. at the Squeeze Inn on Power Inn Road.

MISSED CONNECTIONS: Another legislative committee is brushing off the dust ahead of the return to session next week. The Assembly Select Committee on Addressing Out of School, Unemployed Youth holds a hearing on reconnecting “disconnected youth,” 9 a.m. at Pacoima City Hall in the Los Angeles neighborhood.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, who turns 41 today.

READ MORE: Gov. Brown agrees to Mexico pact on climate change; environment activists wary of business ties