Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

October 21, 2011
Effort to overturn California Dream Act hits the streets

Opponents of a new law that allows illegal immigrants to receive college financial aid were given the green light to begin collecting signatures for a referendum to overturn the measure, Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office announced today.

Led by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, referendum backers hope to halt implementation of the California Dream Act. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure Oct. 8.

Donnelly's group has until Jan. 6 to collect valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters. Donnelly has said he hopes to wage a largely volunteer effort fueled by social media and talk radio.

Assembly Bill 131, written by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, will allow undocumented immigrant college students who already qualify for in-state tuition rates to receive state-funded financial aid, including Cal Grants. Qualified students must have attended California high schools for at least three years and graduated.

The measure is scheduled to take effect in 2013. If Donnelly succeeds in securing the signatures, the measure would be halted until it can be decided by state voters next year.

October 21, 2011
Dish on Sacramento's best state building dining options

By Torey Van Oot and Jon Ortiz

Had your fill of the run-of-the-mill lunch spots and food trucks surrounding the Capitol?

While there's no shortage of coffee and lunch locales in the area, we know some downtown denizens have yet to sample the many dining options shrouded behind the walls of state buildings.

So we've decided to start eating our way through the more than a dozen state-operated cafes and cafeterias in Sacramento to give our readers the full scoop on the highs and lows of these haunts.

First, we want your input on where we should start and what dishes we should be sure not to miss (or maybe ones we should avoid). Send your suggestions to If you make a good enough case for your favorite joint, we might even invite you to join for an upcoming lunch.

Happy eating!

October 21, 2011
AM Alert: California legislators talk literacy, health and water

California lawmakers on legislative recess are out and about today.

Democratic Sen. Lois Wolk of Davis, for instance, is in Fairfield helping to launch the Solano County Literacy in Education Project. Republican Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is visiting Los Penasquitos Elementary School in San Diego, where he's running for mayor. And Republican Sen. Bill Emmerson of Hemet is hosting a senior health fair in nearby San Jacinto.

Republican Sen. Jean Fuller of Bakersfield, meanwhile, is sticking to her hometown, where the Kern County Water Agency is hosting an event discussing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the State Water Project.

The all-day conference at Bakersfield College Gymnasium features GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, House majority whip, and Democratic Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno.

Fuller is among the panelists, who also include Jerry Meral, Natural Resources Agency deputy secretary, as well as Timothy Quinn of the Association of California Water Agencies, Jeff Kightlinger of Metropolitan Water District, Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition, and Jim Beck of the Kern County Water Agency.

Click here for more information about the conference, including the agenda and a list of panels. The Legislative Analyst's Office issued a report earlier this week on potential funding alternatives for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which you can find at this link.

LTGOV: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom meets today with His Holiness Aram I, catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia - in other words, the head of one of the two sees of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. in San Francisco at the Fairmont Hotel's Crystal Room.

PUMPKIN ALERT: The UC Davis Children's Hospital is sponsoring a Capitol Family Fun Day on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Capitol's west steps. The event has a Halloween theme, so look for free pumpkins while they last. Click here for more information.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, celebrates her 61st birthday on Sunday.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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