Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

The California Supreme Court's newest justice, Goodwin Liu, hits the ground running this morning with a high-profile issue: Proposition 8.

The high court is hearing oral arguments in San Francisco on whether state law gives sponsors of the same-sex marriage ban the right to defend it in a case now pending before a federal appellate court.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco struck down the voter-approved measure last year as unconstitutional. State officials, including Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris, have declined to appeal. Another federal judge has since rejected the proponents' argument that Walker's decision should be overturned because he didn't disclose that he is gay and in a long-term relationship.

Since interest is so high in the Perry v. Brown case, the California Channel will broadcast it live on its local cable channels and stream live online at The proceeding starts at 10 a.m. at the Earl Warren Center, 350 McAllister St.

Back in Sacramento, it's the last week of the legislative session, and lawmakers' battle with over online sales tax is one of the issues in focus.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and other legislators join business leaders, including Bill Dombrowski of the California Retailers Association, to urge the Legislature to reject Amazon's proposal to exempt it from collecting taxes for two years in exchange for distribution center jobs. Their news conference starts at 11 a.m. in the Capitol's Room 317.

An Amazon-related bill, meanwhile, is among the measures pending before the Senate. Assembly Bill 155, which requires a two-thirds vote, is intended to thwart the online giant at the ballot box.

The Senate will take some time during its floor session to honor the south state champions of the Little League World Series. Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, will present his hometown's Ocean View Little League All-Stars team members and coaches with a Senate resolution during their visit to the upper house.

The Senate session is set to start at noon, as is the Assembly's, as the Legislature races to finish up its business by Friday. An estimated 300 bills still remain.

"Expect some lengthy floor sessions," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg late last week.

Other measures before the upper house include Assembly Bill 376 to ban possession, sale and distribution of shark fins and Assembly Bill 144 to ban "open carry" of weapons.

Stay tuned on another score: Gov. Jerry Brown is up against a deadline today to say yea or nay on dozens of measures already sent to his desk.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod turns 70 today.


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