Monday was swearing-in day for California’s legislators, and is usually a day when not much “real” business is done – certainly not anything controversial.
Until 2016. After fiery speeches from Democratic leaders in both chambers, resolutions were passed condemning Donald Trump. Bills were announced in both chambers designed to challenge the President-elect’s stated policies.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) called Trump’s agenda “cynical, short-sighted and reactionary” and criticized his appointments, saying that “white nationalists and anti-Semites have no business working in the White House.” He said California needs to strongly counter what is happening in Washington.
House Resolution 4 says, in part:
… the Assembly implores the President-elect to reject any expansion of the ‘expedited removal’ process that operates without administrative oversight and robs individuals of due process….
…the Assembly urges President-elect to continue President-Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which grants ‘Dreamers’ — people who were brought into the country as children by their parents — a temporary reprieve from deportation.”
Some of the bills would:
…provide attorneys to immigrants in the country illegally, refuse assistance to any proposed registry of Muslim immigrants and require any wall built along the Mexican border to first be approved by California voters.
Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon said he accepts the election results:
But California will never appease those who threaten to undermine our prosperity or deprive our people of their most fundamental human rights. We refuse to regress back to the politics of scapegoating, preying on religious, racial and ethnic hostilities, echoing the dark divisive days of Proposition 187.”
GOP Assemblymember Chad Mayes replied in an emailed statement:
“Today, Democrats stole a page out of President-elect Trump’s campaign playbook and pushed a rhetorical, divisive agenda designed to inflame tensions many of us seek to soothe. California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, our roads our crumbling, and the cost of housing is double the national average. The campaign is over and it’s time to come together and move forward as Californians.”
But Rendon was having none of that:
“Californians do not need healing. We need to fight.”
One Senator, Mike Morrell, asked to clarify if that fighting meant with words or guns, and was rebuked by the chair.
The fight between California Democrats and Trump is sure to energize the somewhat complacent base of California conservatives, and might just be the spark that brings the party back to life.