Capitol Alert

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MAJ STATE CAPITOL.JPGVIDEO: Gov. Jerry Brown could do more to make higher education more accountable and efficient, Dan Walters says.

The National Organization for Women is trying to transform Valentine's Day into an occasion for raising awareness of violence against women, with a day the organization is calling One Billion Rising.

Sacramento's contribution will be a noon to 1 p.m. event on the state Capitol's west steps, featuring a dance and a rally featuring representatives of the California chapter of NOW, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The broader political context points to the U.S. Capitol, where the federal Violence Against Women Act is awaiting a vote in the House after the Senate recently passed it. Republicans have been wary of reauthorizing the bill because of added protections for immigrants, LGBT women and Native Americans.

In another inventive use of Valentine's Day, Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton, will be introducing legislation to require all pornographic actors to wear condoms. (Voters in Los Angeles County passed a similar measure last year.) Hall will be joined by Michael Weinstein, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and Darren James, a former adult film actor who contracted HIV. The presser starts at 11 a.m. at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles.

Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is offering a valentine to college students with a press conference highlighting legislation that would raise the value of a Cal Grant B Access Award from its current level of $1,473. De León will be joined by students and education advocates at 10 a.m. on the Capitol's north steps.

The latest Field Poll has found that three-fourths of California voters believe drinking sodas increases the chances of becoming obese, but only 42 percent make that connection with energy drinks like Red Bull. About a quarter believe drinking sports drinks will cause obesity. Only about 40 percent favor taxing sugary beverages, although support increases if the proceeds are used for school nutrition programs or other physical activity programs. Click here to read the tabulations compiled exclusively for Capitol Alert. You'll find the publicly released poll at this link.

Geoffrey Schladow of UC Davis' Tahoe Environmental Research Center will examine how natural changes and human action have affected Lake Tahoe's ecosystem. His talk runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1130 K St.

Finally, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will continue his recent book-fueled turn in the spotlight with an appearance on "The Colbert Report" tonight.

PHOTO CREDIT: The California state Capitol in Sacramento, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008. Michael Allen Jones / Sacramento Bee file photo


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