Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

February 28, 2011
AM Alert: Tobacco road

It's not often that Lance Armstrong and Don Perata get mentioned in the same sentence, but Alert readers can expect to start seeing their names more often in the next few months.

That is, if there's a special election in June.

The seven-time Tour de France winner and the former Senate leader are co-chairing the campaign backing the so-called California Cancer Research Act, the ballot measure that would increase the cigarette tax by $1 a pack to fund cancer research and prevention programs. It would also impose an equivalent tax on other tobacco products.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris USA is already gearing up to fight the measure.

Perata and Armstrong, who announced recently that he's retiring from cycling, will launch their efforts at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles today at 12:30 p.m.

They'll be joined by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as well as cancer researchers, who'll unveil an analysis by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids of the ballot measure's potential effects.

Under the dome, both houses have scheduled floor sessions today - the Assembly at noon, and the Senate at 2 p.m. - while the budget conference committee continues meeting all week.

For those keeping track, today is Day 50 of Gov. Jerry Brown's self-imposed window for getting a deal done.

BROADBAND: The California Broadband Council, established to maximize the state's opportunities for federal and private funding, holds its first meeting from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Senate Hearing Room 112. Sen. Alex Padilla, an appointed member of the council and the author of the bill setting it up, will speak at the start of the meeting. Watch it on

ASTHMA: Assemblywoman Julia Brownley hosts a policy briefing, "The Burden of Asthma on California's Schools," from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the Capitol's Room 125. Among those scheduled to appear: Claire Brindis, director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco; and representatives of the California Teachers Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

BUDGET FORUM: Assemblyman Richard Pan holds a budget forum along with Next10 at Inderkum High School Theatre, 2500 New Market Drive in Sacramento from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

APPOINTMENT: Sen. Ted Lieu has been named chairman of the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.


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