California lawmakers returned to the State Capitol this week to begin the next two-year legislative cycle.

This year’s class of elected officials includes more than 20 new members who have not previously served as a state lawmaker. While there are now more Latino and Asian members than in the past, there are four fewer female lawmakers.

Democrats now hold supermajorities in both the Assembly and the Senate, giving them power to pass bills without the need for Republican support. Under new term limit laws, they now also have up to 12 years to gain experience and competence in the legislative process which will hopefully positively impact solutions to California issues.

Senate President Pro-Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon have already vocalized their opposition to the Trump presidency and their intention to challenge federal mandates that are in conflict with their view of California’s needs. Just this week, they contracted former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to assist with potential legal challenges to the administration.

The Legislature is already at work, solidifying committee assignments, scheduling hearings on the nomination of Congressman Xavier Becerra as the new Attorney General to replace U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, and posturing with Governor Jerry Brown on his initial budget proposal scheduled for later this month.

The California Catholic Conference will be tracking issues and bills arising in the Legislature impacting reverence for life, family and marriage, human dignity, education, restorative justice, environment and the practice of faith in the public square. Given the new Administration in Washington, the Conference is also anticipating a deepening engagement with Federal issues in conjunction with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Story from the January 6 “Public Policy Insights” of the California Catholic Conference.