Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

The California Labor Federation and other unions have called for a nationwide day of action today to highlight what they see as attacks on workers rights in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and other states.

Union members will meet in Sacramento's Cesar Chavez Park at 5 p.m. to view a speech Martin Luther King Jr. gave in Memphis, Tenn., back in 1968. They'll then march to the federal building at 5th and I streets.

Similar events are planned in San Francisco, Los Angeles and elsewhere in the state and nation.

Let's scroll back in time for a moment. King gave that speech to striking sanitation workers who wanted city officials to allow them to unionize.

"The greatness of America," he told the assembly, "is the right to protest for rights."

The workers eventually won the right to organize, but it was the last speech King ever gave. He was shot dead a day later -- 43 years ago today.

Click here to watch a three-minute YouTube clip from the speech. Or you can click here to view the AFSCME union's 10-minute film on his speech and the strike.

Under the dome, Democratic Assemblymen Mike Feuer of Los Angeles and Jared Huffman of San Rafael join Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones this morning to tout Assembly Bill 52, which would authorize state regulators to reject excessive hikes in health insurance rates starting on Jan. 1. The news conference starts at 11:30 a.m. in the Capitol's Room 317.

LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR: Both houses have scheduled floor sessions today -- the Assembly at noon, and the Senate at 1 p.m. Click here for the Assembly's committee schedule, and click here for the Senate's. The Senate Environmental Quality Committee, for instance, is scheduled to hear several bills on recycling.

AD 4: Vote-by-mail ballots in the special election runoff in the 4th Assembly District start going out today. The two candidates left standing under the new top-two rules are Democrat Dennis Campanale and Republican Beth Gaines. Voters go to the polls May 3.

RETIRE YOUR ATTIRE: Nissan teams up with WEAVE to help survivors of domestic violence get suited for success with its 14th annual Capitol clothing drive. Gently used clothing will be accepted through April 13. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, and Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, join advocates on the Capitol's west steps at 9 a.m. to highlight the drive.

WATER: The Association of California Water Agencies releases a policy statement on groundwater management at 9:30 a.m. at Sacramento's Sheraton Grand Hotel.

DISTRACTED DRIVERS: Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, joins Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow and others at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento at 10 a.m. to mark National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

LGBT: Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, along with Democratic Assembly members Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, Toni Atkins of San Diego and Rich Gordon of Menlo Park and others mark the annual Queer Youth Advocacy Day starting at 11 a.m. on the Capitol's south steps.

BRASS: The marching band of Mission Viejo's Tesoro High School will be performing at 11:30 a.m. on the Capitol's north steps.

TOBACCO: Members of the California Youth Advocacy Network will highlight marketers' manipulation of teens with smokeless tobacco products, starting at 1:30 p.m. on the Capitol's west steps.

CHILD ABUSE: Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Los Angeles, and others highlight Hall's resolution declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The news conference starts in the Capitol's Room 317 at 1:30 p.m. or after the Assembly session adjourns.


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