Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Welcome to 2013, Capitol junkies!

Nothing on tap in the dome today, but high in the Sierra Nevada, state water experts will conduct their first snowpack survey of the season. The state gets about one-third of its water from snow each year, according to Department of Water Resources spokesman Ted Thomas.

It's been a particularly wet year so far, and today's measurement at Echo Summit will be the first indicator of just how much water is packed in the mountains.

Meanwhile, the Capitol community is gearing up for a busy schedule next week. Gov. Jerry Brown is tentatively expected to release his 2013-14 budget proposal next Thursday, officially kicking off California's annual fiscal dance.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has already pegged the upcoming deficit at $1.9 billion against a $97.7 billion general fund, a relatively small amount compared to recent shortfalls. But that figure was based on an optimistic read of federal deficit talks, and it remains to be seen if Congress' actions will blunt any potential economic gains this year.

On Tuesday next week, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg will examine whether online education can provide quality instruction at a cheaper cost for college students. The two state leaders will participate in a conference at UCLA. Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, will give a "special introduction."

If any new lawmakers want to brush up before budget season, Khan Academy features courses on "American Civics" and "Current Economics."

BIRTHDAY: Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, turns 48.


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