Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Dan Walters, in today's video report, looks at whether the California Legislature is likely to OK bond money to start construction on the state's high-speed rail project.

It's the day before "420," and a coalition rallying at the Capitol is urging Californians not to go to pot.

Members of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, which has proclaimed today to be "National No Pot Day," will be distributing its parents' pledge to educate their kids about marijuana. The event starts at 10 a.m. on the Capitol's north steps.

The number "420," of course, is a nickname for pot and also refers to April 20, the Fourth of July of weed. "This most unusual of holidays pays tribute to the legend of a group of 1970s high school students in San Rafael, who gathered at 4:20 p.m. every day to smoke marijuana," The Bee's Peter Hecht reported two years ago.

Over on the west steps, also at 10 a.m., the Keep California Beautiful campaign is launching its sixth annual beautification day. The event, which coincides with this week's Earth Day celebration, includes an e-waste collection from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Jesse Unruh State Office Building, 915 Capitol Mall. Learn more at this link.

Meanwhile, the Senate and the Assembly both have sessions this morning at 9 a.m., followed by five budget-related hearings in the upper house, related to issues ranging from realignment of child welfare service and adoptions to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and from trial court funding to Caltrans. All of the hearings start at 9:30 p.m. or after session adjourns. Click here to read the Senate committee schedule.

HIGH-SPEED RAIL: The California High-Speed Rail Authority is discussing environmental reports for its planned route from Bay Area to the Central Valley. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. at Sacramento City Hall. Click here for the agenda.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE: The University of Southern California and the Fair Political Practices Commission are hosting a symposium on campaign finance and disclosure in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in the Citizens United case. Listed speakers include former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and legal and government experts, plus Bee columnist Dan Morain and FPPC Chairwoman Ann Ravel. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and will be streamed live at both the FPPC website and the California Channel website. For more information, click here.

BUDGET TALK: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is making his fourth appearance as Senate leader before the Sacramento Press Club, this time discussing the state budget and other issues. Click here to learn more. (The RSVP deadline has already passed.)

LTGOV: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is taking a noontime tour of NASA's new Sustainability Base, which a news release describes as "a highly intelligent and intuitive facility designed to anticipate and react to changes in sunlight, temperature, wind and occupancy." The building, which is at Moffett Field, is being considered for the highest LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

AWARD: Veteran California pollster Mervin Field -- founder of the Field Poll and Field Research Corp. -- has another honor to put on his resume. The Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley has presented him with an award named for long-time IGS supporters Darius and Sarah Anderson that honors Field for decades of work. As former Bee reporter Jon Matthews wrote back in 1996, Field and his organizations have measured voter sentiment "from Truman vs. Dewey in 1948 to Clinton vs. Dole in 1996, from Proposition 13 to Proposition 209" and beyond.


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