Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

VIDEO: Dan Walters takes another look at California's debate over taxes and the state budget.

Was it really only a year ago that three federal appellate judges were hearing arguments in San Francisco in two cases related to Proposition 8?

And was it merely two years ago that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was spending his last month in office as Gov.-elect Jerry Brown presided over a budget summit letting lawmakers how bad the situation was?

Ah, the memories. Now we can look forward to speculation about how big California's state budget deficit will be -- although certainly smaller than in recent years -- as well as how the U.S. Supreme Court might rule on the two gay marriage cases it has decided to hear next year.

At the moment, however, things at the California Capitol are moving a bit slowly.

Sure, there's the ceremony on the west steps at noon dedicating wreaths to be placed at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon. Another ceremony at 5:30 p.m., also on the west steps, marks the 19th annual lighting of the Chanukah menorah.

Inside the building, the holiday music program continues with the Franklin High School choir performing in the rotunda at 11 a.m., followed by the Roseville Sun City Singers at noon.

Elsewhere, pediatrician and Assemblyman Richard Pan joins Heather Conway of the Breastfeeding Coalition of Greater Sacramento and others to urge mothers to sign up to donate breast milk for feeding premature babies at local hospitals. Their presser starts at noon at Sutter Medical Plaza, 1625 Stockton Blvd.

The November election, meanwhile, gets dissected starting at 6 p.m., with Dan Schnur moderating a panel discussion at the University of Southern California's State Capital Center, 1800 I St. Panelists include The Bee's Amy Chance as well as Evan Halper of the Los Angeles Times and the USC's Raphael Bostic and Sherry Bebitch Jeffe. They'll also be looking at what happens next. Click here for more information.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, turns 41 today, and Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, turns 46. Birthday wishes to both.



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