Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

VIDEO: Budget optimism has led Gov. Jerry Brown to start talking about a "California miracle," but Dan Walters says California must still contend a with mountain of accumulated debt.

It will be many months before Californians weigh in on an $11 billion water bond on the 2014 ballot, but that doesn't mean it's too early for a hearing. A joint effort by the Natural Resources and Water and the Governance and Finance committees, respectively, will examine the broader context of California's debt load in a "Priming the Pump for a Water Bond" hearing, starting at 9:30 a.m. in Room 4203. Committee chairs Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, be joined by representatives from the Legislative Analyst's Office and the Treasurer's office.

The issue has now been pushed back twice, most recently this past July, when proponents of delaying the vote said it would be foolish to pair a massive bond initiative and Proposition 30 on the November 2012 ballot. It should be interesting to see how the bond's fate parallels Brown's push for a $14 billion tunnel project.

Speaking of costly undertakings, a separate joint committee hearing is examining the prospects for high-speed rail in California. co-chairs Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, will be hearing from California State Auditor Elaine Howle; Brian Kelly, secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency; Jeff Morales, executive director of the High-Speed Rail Authority; and Malcolm Dougherty, director of the California Department of Transportation.

The State Independent Living Council, an entity whose government-appointed members look at issues affecting Californians with disabilities, is holding a quarterly meeting today from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sacramento-Capitol Plaza Holiday Inn.

Online gaming continues to attract the attention of California's tribal gambling players, and California Tribal Business Alliance chairman Robert Smith will be talking about the issue at an event today during the Florida Gaming Congress at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Seminole, Florida from 3:00 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. EST.

Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, introduced a bill in last week's pre-deadline rush that would require the California Gambling Control Commission to set up a framework for regulating online gambling. That accompanies a bill by Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood, that would levy a $30 million fee for an online gambling license.

Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is participating in a panel on retirement security this morning in Washington, D.C. The event is running on East Coast time, so it got under way at 5:30 a.m. Pacific, but you can catch a livestream here. De León was on a panel addressing the same topic in the same city earlier this month.

Editor's note: an earlier version of this post mistakenly referred to Sen. DeSaulnier as Michael. We regret the error.


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