It's Thursday, so both houses are holding floor sessions, after which four Senate hearings highlight Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposals and related matters.
Education takes center stage in Room 3191, where legislators take up Brown's plan for K-12 schools during this fiscal year and next, with Proposition 98 and trigger cuts on the agenda. State schools chief Tom Torlakson is among those expected to testify. In Room 4203, the departments of Managed Health Care, Public Health, and Health Care Services are among the agencies getting scrutinized.
Over in Room 112, lawmakers are discussing state and local finance as well as business development, including debt service on general obligation bonds and interest payments on general fund loans. And in Room 113, the agenda includes CalPERS, CalSTRS, and the Employment Development Department as well as the departments of Industrial Relations and Human Resources. All four hearings start at 9:30 a.m. or after session adjourns
An Assembly select committee, meanwhile, is taking a field trip to Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood, where Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and others will urge state health officials to help low-income children opt out of the city's program for dental care, which this story chronicled last month. Pan, a pediatrician, is holding the 11:30 a.m. presser at The Effort Oak Park Community Clinic, where he sees Medi-Cal and uninsured patients. The select committee, which he heads, will then look at the state's dental care safety net starting at noon.
The June primary is months away, but the two measures on that ballot have the support of about two-thirds of likely voters, according to the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll. Proposition 28 would cut the amount of time that state legislators could serve from 14 years to 12 years and would allow all 12 years to be served in one house. Proposition 29 would increase cigarette taxes by $1 a pack, raising an estimated $735 million a year that supporters say would be used for cancer research and anti-smoking programs.
The institute's Dean Bonner will give a briefing today on the survey, whose topics also include the Republican presidential primary, plus economic and social issues. The luncheon runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1017 11th St., Sacramento. Click here for more information or to RSVP. You'll find the survey itself at this link.
Speaking of Proposition 29, its rival camps go head to head in Sacramento Superior Court this morning over the ballot initiative on tobacco taxes. Teresa Casazza, president of the California Taxpayers Association, is helping lead the No on Prop 29 campaign, and she has sued over the ballot language that the state Attorney General's Office drafted for the measure.
Casazza's beef is that the truncated ballot label doesn't mention the nine-member committee that would be created to allocate the new revenues. Proponents have dismissed the filing as a "silly lawsuit" aimed at confusing voters, saying in a statement that the tobacco companies funding the opposition campaign are "trying to use our courts to manipulate the process." The court issued a tentative ruling Wednesday against the No on 29 campaign, and the judge will hear arguments at 10:30 a.m. in -- appropriately enough -- Department 29.
LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR: Click here for the Senate's daily file, and click here for the Assembly's.
CAKE AND CANDLES: Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, turns 71 today.
The Bee's ever-intrepid Torey Van Oot contributed the item about the Proposition 29 lawsuit to this alert.