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California lawmakers take anti-Trump stance as session ends

Fri 15th September, 2017 11:00am
By Sharon Bernstein 
    SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept 15 (Reuters) - California lawmakers 
will vote on whether to become a so-called sanctuary state and 
tussle over hot-button environmental issues including a 
long-shot plan to wean the power sector entirely off of fossil 
fuels as the legislative session winds down on Friday. 
    The majority Democratic lawmakers will head back to their 
districts having positioned the state in opposition to 
conservative policies proposed by the Republican-dominated U.S. 
Congress and President Donald Trump on immigration, the 
environment and other issues. 
    "It's a purposeful positioning," said political analyst 
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior fellow at the University of 
Southern California. "We have a different political path and a 
different ideological path than the Republican-controlled 
Congress and White House have." 
    This year, California lawmakers have strengthened 
protections for undocumented immigrants, increased the gasoline 
tax and extended a program aimed at compelling businesses to 
reduce air pollution, all in opposition to federal policies. 
    On Friday, lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that would 
bar local governments from forcing undocumented immigrants to 
spend extra time in jail just to allow enforcement officers to 
take them into their custody. 
    The bill, a compromise from a version that sought to 
severely restrict interactions between law enforcement and 
immigration officials, does allow communities to notify the 
federal government if they have arrested an undocumented 
immigrant with a felony record. It also allows enforcement 
agents access to local jails. 
    Trump issued an executive order in January targeting funding 
for cities that offer illegal immigrants safe harbor by 
declining to use municipal resources to enforce federal 
immigration laws. A San Francisco judge blocked the order. 
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1HX23B 
    A move by the Justice Department to withhold grant funds 
from cities that refuse to allow immigration enforcement agents 
access to local jails has been challenged in court by California 
and several U.S. cities.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N1L813W 
    Although California lawmakers have enacted several 
environmental protections this year, a measure aimed at weaning 
the state's power grid entirely off of fossil fuels by 2045 
faltered late Thursday as utilities opposed it. 
    California's three investor-owned utilities, Pacific Gas & 
Electric  PCG_pa.A , Southern California Edison  SCE_pe.A  and 
San Diego Gas & Electric  SDGE.UL , say the bill does not 
protect customers from the cost of switching from fossil fuels. 
    Senate Democratic Leader Kevin de Leon still planned to push 
for the bill, but Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee chair 
Chris Holden said it was too late to amend. 
    The legislature will also end the first half of its two-year 
session by taking up a spending package to distribute $1.5 
billion in income from the state's cap-and-trade air quality 
program, which raises money by selling businesses limited rights 
to emit pollutants. 
 
 (Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento and Nichola Groom 
in Los Angeles; Editing by Richard Chang) 
 ((sharon.bernstein@thomsonreuters.com;)) 
 
Keywords: CALIFORNIA POLITICS/
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