Capitol Alert

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The Legislature is still in recess, but the state bureaucracy churns on. You may not have heard of the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation, but they're holding a hearing today on a pretty big public safety topic.

At issue are the regulations around fireproofing furniture. At Gov. Jerry Brown's prodding, the California Department of Consumer Affairs has released revised draft standards that would require furniture to withstand a "smoldering" fire source rather than open flame. The upshot is that furniture would no longer need to contain fire-resistant chemicals that advocates single out as a significant health hazard.

The meeting, which marks the end of the public comment period for the new rules, is at the Department of Consumer Affairs building in Sacramento, 1625 North Market Blvd, at 10 a.m. Advocates for the change are holding a presser outside ahead of the meeting.

VIDEO: Dan Walters wonders how it's possible, with so many cities and counties in woeful economic shape, for a former Alameda County official to receive pension benefits worth more than $400,000 a year.

This could be a momentous week for the gay rights movement. Today, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments for Hollingsworth v. Perry, challenging Proposition 8.'s outlawing same-sex marriage in California. You can click here for a handy primer on the implications, but it's possible that the Justices will issue a narrow ruling tailored to California, a nationally relevant endorsement of rights for same-sex couples, or something in between.

Plenty of California elected officials have urged the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8. They include the mayors of Sacramento, Oakland and Los Angeles and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. The Obama administration is also on board.

There has been a lot of talk this session about reshaping California's educational system to better prepare youngsters for the working world, a topic the Public Policy Institute of California is addressing at a lunchtime hearing today. The talk on educating the future workforce will run from noon to 1:30 at the CSAC Conference Center (1020 11th Street, second floor) and will feature PPIC's Mark Baldassare, Sarah Bohn and Hans Johnson.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sacramento Fire Department line after a two-alarm fire broke out in April 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench



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