Capitol Alert

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There's another battle brewing in this year's California ballot wars: The Yes on Proposition 29 campaign is cranking up.

Prop. 29 -- called the California Cancer Research Act -- would hike tobacco taxes by $1 per pack of cigarettes to fund research and smoking prevention efforts. It's one of two measures on the June primary statewide ballot.

Expected to be on hand at proponents' presser today are Jim Knox of the American Cancer Society's state's division, Kimberly Weich Reusché of the American Lung Association in California, and American Lung Association volunteer Steve Larson, who has stage 4 lung cancer. The event runs from noon to 2 p.m. on the Capitol's west steps.

Gov. Jerry Brown takes to the airwaves this evening, appearing on Current TV's "The War Room with Jennifer Granholm" starting at about 6:05 p.m. Pacific Time.

The California Newspaper Publishers Association, meanwhile, is in town for its 15 annual Governmental Affairs Day, and no fewer than five elected officials are scheduled to address its members.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez is up first this morning, followed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, then Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway and Senate Republican leader Bob Huff. State Controller John Chiang is to address the group after lunch. (The state's cash flow may well be on the agenda.) The event starts at 10 a.m. at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento.

Under the dome, a joint legislative hearing held with the Legislative Women's Caucus and the state Commission on the Status of Women looks at a new report, "Falling Behind," on the effects of the recession and the state's budget on women and their families. Listed presenters include Judy Patrick of the Women's Foundation of California, Jean Ross of the California Budget Project, and Sandy Gleysteen, who heads the commission. The hearing starts at 1:30 p.m. in Room 4202.

Another joint hearing will consider recommendations from the California Community Colleges' task force on student success from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Room 4202. Later, an oversight hearing will look at the affordability of college textbooks starting at 2 p.m. in Room 444.

The Senate Rules Committee will take up the governor's appointments, starting at 1:30 p.m. in Room 113, with California Technology Agency Secretary Carlos Ramos and California State University trustee Herbert Carter required to appear. Carter is likely to face questions about executive compensation, given the reaction after CSU trustees hiked a campus president's pay package amid tuition increases.

BALLOT INITIATIVES: Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock of Berkeley and Assemblyman Paul Fong of Cupertino join with Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation and representatives of the Greenlining Institute to discuss the results of a recent poll on ballot initiative reform as well as responses from a statewide "listening tour." The briefing runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Capitol's Room 2040.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, celebrates his 59th birthday today.

Editor's note: Due to an error in the press release, an earlier version of this post misspelled the name of Kimberly Weich Reusché.


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