Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

ha_folsom_prison.JPGCalifornia's prison system takes center stage this morning as two Senate committees hear from a public safety expert on national trends in cutting recidivism and prison costs.

Adam Gelb directs the Washington-based Pew Center on the States' Public Safety Performance Project, which aims to help states develop policies on sentencing and corrections.

He's also the author of "State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America's Prisons," a Pew report published in April that notes most inmates returned to prison in California are getting locked up on technical violations.

That hearing starts at 9 a.m. in the Capitol's Room 4203.

With one day left before the redistricting commission releases its draft maps, members of SEIU California are announcing a new election strategy this morning that they say will help break Sacramento's partisan gridlock.

The union's leader, David Kieffer, said yesterday in a talk with the Bee Capitol Bureau that he thinks Democrats can defeat conservative Republicans next year by taking advantage of the state's new "top-two" primary system.

Meanwhile, Sen. Leland Yee and others are still on alert, as the U.S. Supreme Court may rule this morning on the state's law banning the sale or rental of excessively violent video games to children.

The San Francisco Democrat carried Assembly Bill 1179, which the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down in 2009 "as presumptively invalid content-based restriction on speech" violating the First Amendment. Gov. Jerry Brown appealed that decision back when he was attorney general.

If the court issues a ruling, Yee and others will hold a news conference at San Francisco's Hiram Johnson State Building.

VETERANS: Here are three names you don't usually see in the same sentence: Doris Matsui, Dan Lungren and Tom McClintock. The congressmembers are scheduled to attend a presser in which the U.S. Olympic Committee and the city of Sacramento's Department of Parks and Recreation announce a new sports initiative for veterans. The event starts at 10 a.m. at Samuel C. Pannell Community Center, 2450 Meadowview Road. 

BUDGET: Next10 releases an update to its nonpartisan California Budget Challenge with an interactive budget workshop at Commonwealth Club in San Francisco from 10 a.m. to noon. Listed speakers include John Myers of KQED Public Radio, Dan Schnur of the University of Southern California's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, Jim Mayer of California Forward, and F. Noel Perry of Next10.

CRIME: Democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson of Sacramento and Assemblywoman Alyson Huber of El Dorado Hills join community leaders on the Capitol's west steps at 2 p.m. to highlight the case of Seth Parker, who says two men shouted gay slurs at him before badly beating him in the parking lot of an Elk Grove bowling alley Sunday.

TOUR: Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, joins state Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and others in the south state for another of the state party's "California Speaks Out" town halls. The event, co-sponsored by KCBQ-AM, starts at 7 p.m. at Hawthorne CAT Power Systems, 8050 Othello Ave., San Diego.

PHOTO CREDIT: Shen Buechler, an inmate at Folsom State Prison, works on measuring an engine Wednesday, February 24, 2010, at the prison's auto mechanic's class. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee


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