Capitol Alert

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One hundred years ago today, Californians approved major changes to state government, giving women the right to vote and creating the initiative and referendum process for citizens to bring issues to the ballot.

Since 1911, more than 1,675 initiatives have been circulated and 348 have made it to the ballot, according to the Secretary of State's Office. Voters have approved about a third of them.

The Citizens in Charge Foundation is hosting a day-long birthday party at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, featuring a series of discussions and debates on how voter initiatives have shaped California. The event includes appearances by Jonathan Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association; Peter Schrag, columnist and former Sacramento Beeeditorial page editor; Jon Fleischman, author of the Flash Report; Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies; Kim Alexander, founder of the California Voter Foundation and other glitteratti of our state's democracy. A full agenda of events is here.

Elsewhere around the Capitol, celebrations will honor women's suffrage with a 10:30 a.m. event on the north steps of the State Capitol, a series of historic presentations inside the Capitol from noon to 3 p.m., and a reception at the California Museum from 4 to 6:30 p.m. A full list of suffrage celebration events is here.

Fun fact about suffrage in California: Although state voters overall gave women the right to vote by passing Proposition 4 in 1911, eight counties voted against the ballot measure: Alameda, Amador, Marin, Monterey, Orange, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Ventura.

Over in Davis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson is headlining a conference on teaching the so-called STEM subjects - science, technology, engineering and math. The second annual California STEM Summit runs today and tomorrow at UC Davis and features speakers from Google, Apple, Pixar Studios, Hewlett-Packard, Chevron, Raytheon, the George Lucas Foundation and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation. Also on the agenda: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and State Board of Education President Mike Kirst. Click here for more information.


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