California's legislative leaders are going on the offensive against President-elect Donald Trump. Progressives in the state, which went solidly for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, are concerned that a conservative Trump administration could undermine or undo policies related to the environment, immigration and civil rights.
In an effort to head off one potential impact, Senate Democrats have sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to permanently ban new oil and gas drilling in federal waters off California's coast.
"A sizeable spill off our coast would have a devastating impact on our population, recreation, natural resources, and our ocean and coastal dependent economies,” the senators wrote in a portion of the letter released to the media. “Expanded offshore oil and gas drilling also undermines the important strides we have made both as a state and as a nation to address climate change and promote a clean energy economy."
Senate leader Kevin de León last month met with House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to discuss how best to protect progressive policies after Obama leaves office.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said he's had meetings with the Obama administration. Rendon said he sought their insights into what the future holds and discussed how to close out some remaining business the state has with the current administration.
"For example... we have 24 percent of the country's homeless veteran population, but we only get about 19 percent of the country's homeless veteran vouchers," he said. "So we've been trying to be aggressive about making sure that we get our fair share."
Rendon admits it does feel as if Democrats are on the defensive right now. But he says lawmakers will work to protect policies surrounding immigration, health care and climate change, among others.