VIDEO: Dan Walters warns that California is at risk of becoming a two-tiered society.
It's a busy day in the Capitol and environs; President Abraham Lincoln, born 204 years ago today, would no doubt be happy to see democracy still humming along.
Things kick off with a joint hearing on hydraulic fracturing, administered by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee (chaired by Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills) and the Senate Environmental Quality Committee (led by Sen. Michael Rubio, D-East Bakersfield), from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 4203 of the State Capitol Building. Fracking has proved to be a contentious topic already this session, and Pavley has a bill to regulate the disputed extraction process.
That's not the only environmental hearing today. Officials in the Natural Resources Agency will be discussing how steps to protect California's dwindling smelt population will affect water delivery in the Delta. Starting at 10 a.m. in room 1131 of the Natural Resources Agency building.
And the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is holding its Green California Summit at the Sacramento Convention Center today. After a day of discussing environmental priorities for the year ahead -- with a lunchtime speech by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, as an interlude -- attendees will migrate to a legislator reception at Mix, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown will be in Oakland, speaking at a summit on the future of housing in California. Brown will be on at about 10:15 a.m. at the Elihu M. Harris State Office Building.
Sen. Kevin de LeÃ³n, D-Los Angeles, also has a speaking engagement, but it's nowhere near Oakland. He'll be in Washington, D.C., where he's participating in a panel about retirement security at the Center for American Progress. The talk gets underway at 6:30 a.m. PST, and you can watch a livestream here.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on how Californians have been affected by a steady diet of cuts to the court system's budget. Starting at at 1:30 p.m. in Room 447 of the Capitol.
The California Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting on the California State Rail Plan this afternoon. The event is located, appropriately enough, at the California State Railroad Museum and will run from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tonight, President Obama delivers the first State of the Union of his second term. Gun control has been a prominent topic in the months since Obama's re-election, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein's State of the Union guest will be a 20-year-old gun control advocate who was wounded in a shooting at the age of 9.