The budget passed—no surprise—so what will the legislature focus on during the remaining session this year?

First, a few factors to consider about 2018 that may frame what happens in the remainder of the 2017 legislative session.

Next year is an election year, which rarely produces major policy changes as legislators are leery of defending change to voters. Being a nearly one-party state, however, Democratic legislators may not fear election year retribution as their predecessors did. Still, anything major is more likely to happen before the legislature recesses for this year.

If a recent UC Berkeley poll is accurate in foretelling attitudes about the gas tax, reaction to that tax should be in full flower next year, causing legislators to duck and cover. 

Even a popular and effective governor like Jerry Brown will lose some of his influence as legislators focus on their re-election and the governor is in his last year of service.

As for 2017:

Sure, there will be expected complaining about President Trump’s agenda from the majority party and even legislation to offset some of the laws or actions that come out of Washington. There will controversy over budget trailer bills. The business community will pursue deep-sixing job killer bills. There will be drama around the single payer health care measure, especially within the ranks of the Democratic Party, but in the end single payer is likely to go nowhere this year.

However, Brown will be the major influence the remainder of this year. Therefore, the betting here is that Brown’s wishes will dominate the rest of this year’s session.

Answer to the question “What Now?”: two key policies near and dear to the governor–the Delta Tunnels and cap-and-trade legislation.

Brown wants to get both done and will push hard for them this year.