Capitol Alert

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VIDEO: Dan Walters mulls whether Democrats in the California Legislature will "loosen up" on the state budget after years of cuts.

Will Senate leader Darrell Steinberg mention Proposition 8 at the Harry S. Truman Democratic Club luncheon he's headlining in downtown Sacramento today?

During a chat with The Bee's editorial board Wednesday, Steinberg said he could envision the Democrat-controlled Legislature using its new-found two-thirds majority power to put a gay-marriage referendum on a future statewide ballot.

"Depending upon what the Supreme Court might or might not do with Proposition 8, in coalition with stakeholders and the gay and lesbian leadership, if it were appropriate and necessary to put a repeal of Prop. 8 on the ballot with our two-thirds supermajority, I would be open to that," the Sacramento Democrat said.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to hear an appeal by groups that support the voter-approved 2008 ballot measure, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the law unconstitutional, prompting an appeal to the high court. The court will announce whether it will take the case by the end of this month, which would set it on a path for a final ruling next year.

Today is also the day for "The Mark and Mark Show." Mark DiCamillo of the Field Poll and Mark Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute of California will be dissecting why voters voted the way they did in the Nov. 6 election. The luncheon is something of a tradition for the Sacramento Press Club, which is hosting the event. The deadline has passed, but you can read more about the event at this link.

DiCamillo will also be at Sacramento State this morning comparing the pre-election polls with the election results. He'll be talking with political scientists on topics such as polling methodology and accuracy from 10 to 11 a.m. in the University Union's Lobby Suite.

In election news, the Assembly has its Democratic supermajority. Jim Sanders reported Wednesday that Republican incumbent Chris Norby has conceded to his Democratic challenger, Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva, in the 65th Assembly District.

We're also expected updated numbers today in the Ami Bera-Dan Lungren race in the 7th Congressional District. The Scott Peters-Brian Bilbray matchup in the 52nd Congressional District still hasn't been called either.

In close same-party Assembly races, the Associated Press has finally called the 67th Assembly District race for Lake Elsinore City Councilwoman Melissa Melendez over fellow Republican Phil Paule, the district director for GOP Rep. Darrell Issa.

Here are other legislative races still up in the air. The lineups are still the same.

10th Assembly District: San Rafael City Councilman Marc Levine leads the incumbent, fellow Democrat Michael Allen.

18th Assembly District: Rob Bonta leads fellow Democrat Abel Guillen.

20th Assembly District: Bill Quirk leads fellow Democrat Jennifer Ong.

36th Assembly District: Republican Ron Smith leads Democrat Steve Fox.

40th Assembly District: Republican incumbent Mike Morrell leads Democratic challenger Russ Warner.

50th Assembly District: Richard Bloom leads the incumbent, fellow Democrat Betsy Butler.

5th Senate District: Republican Bill Berryhill leads Democrat Cathleen Galgiani.

HIGHER ED: Students leaders and members of the UC Student Association is holding a presser at the University of California regents' meeting to urge legislators and the regents to roll back tuition and reinvest in the university system. The event starts at 8 a.m. on the UCSF Mission Bay Campus.

Jon Ortiz contributed to this report with details on Senate leader Darrell Steinberg's visit to The Bee's editorial board.



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