Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Lawmakers will take on UC officials' response to recent campus unrest at a 10 a.m. joint legislative hearing today at the Capitol.

Among those scheduled to speak: University of California President Mark Yudof, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi and Michael Risher, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. The hearing was called by Sen. Alan Lowenthal and Assemblyman Marty Block.

At issue: November incidents in which UC Davis police officers pepper-sprayed protesting students and UC Berkeley police rammed and swiped at students with batons.

"Was there a meeting to discuss how to appropriately disburse protestors in the event it was necessary, and who participated in that planning?" asked Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg in a statement advancing the hearing.

"Was the use of force discussed? Were any explicit instructions given? The answers to these questions are crucial to determine responsibility and accountability."

2012 PENSION NEWS - Our companion blog, The State Worker, is gearing up for a year of pension-related news. Jon Ortiz is offering e-mail alerts on the topic and other subjects of interest to state employees. You can sign up here.

PLANNING AHEAD: Mike Doyle reports that California's high-speed rail debate comes to Capitol Hill on Thursday, as a key House committee conducts its first hearing devoted solely to the state's project.

The Republican-led House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is setting the tone for what participants can expect, calling the hearing "California's High-Speed Rail Plan: Skyrocketing Costs and Project Concerns."

Minds may be already made up, but the witnesses do reflect the competing sides in this debate. Following a presentation by House members, a panel of seven witnesses will make their case. They include Roelof Van Ark, chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, as well as skeptics like Madera County farmer Kole Upton. A committee briefing paper provides background.

The hearing starts at 7 a.m. California time and will be webcast.



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