Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

A longtime state agency, felled by the budget ax, closes its doors today.

The California Postsecondary Education Commission got zeroed out in June by Gov. Jerry Brown, whose veto message called the agency "ineffective" and requested the state's three higher education systems to explore other ways of coordinating and developing higher education policy.

The commission's executive director, Karen Humphrey, issued a parting news release: "It is regrettable that the state, in trying to balance the budget, has discarded a low-cost agency whose value to policymakers was to help wisely spend the far vaster amounts of state dollars allocated to the public colleges and universities and student aid."

The commission's database has been transferred to the California Community Colleges' chancellor's office. The commission's website,, is still online for now. Reports and other materials have been farmed out to the State Archives and the California State Library, and the state Department of Education will now administer a federally funded grants program.

Meanwhile, the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board -- which Brown has mentioned as a candidate for the chopping block -- has a new member: Davis Democrat Kathleen T. Howard.

Howard was appointed by the Senate Rules Committee, which is chaired by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. She replaces former Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, who is running for Congress in the San Diego area.

Howard was most recently supervisor at the Center for Families, Children and the Courts. The new job pays $128,109 a year. Her term starts Dec. 1 and ends Jan. 1, 2015. The Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board considers appeals of denials of unemployment insurance benefits.

Speaking of higher education, The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall reported Thursday in this post that Californians aren't happy about recent budget cuts but aren't inclined to put up the money to reverse the trend.

That assessment comes from a new Public Policy Institute of California survey that looks at Golden State residents' views on public colleges and universities. Survey project manager Sonja Petek talks about the survey and its findings at a luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the CSAC Center in downtown Sacramento. Click here to learn more about the event and to RSVP. Lunch is provided, and there is no charge to attend.

LTGOV: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom talks to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce at noon about jobs and the economy, then addresses teachers, students and others at San Diego's High Tech High this afternoon.

HEARING: Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, chairs a select committee hearing on the labor outlook for the state's ports, starting at 9 a.m. at the Port of Long Beach Administration Building.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, turns 63 on Sunday.


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