May 31, 2018

Report: California Republican Party relegated to third-party status

Supporters of then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Independent voters now surpassed registered Republicans in California, making the GOP fall to third-party status as Democrats seek to flip seats to take control of the House this November, according to new data reported by Politico.

Reality check: Registration doesn’t guarantee significant voter turnout. But the surge of independents could help Democrats since the group is more likely to vote Democratic than Republican. However, Politico notes that "Republicans still stand to play an outsized role in next week’s primary despite the registration erosion. GOP voters typically vote at higher rates in nonpresidential year primary elections than Democrats."

By the numbers, per Politico: Among California’s 19 million registered voters, Democrats make up 8.4 million of the electorate. 4,844,803 people identify as no-party-preference voters, while Republicans stand at 4,771,984.

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Bernie's plan to hike taxes on some startup employees

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that would tax nonqualified stock options at vesting, rather than at exercise, for employees making at least $130,000 per year.

The big picture: Select employees at private companies would be taxed on monies that they hadn't yet banked.

Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

Your best defense against coronavirus

Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Frequent hand washing can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known preventative for COVID-19 and influenza.