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At last, the fiscal moment we've all been waiting for. We'll get a better sense of where things stand on Gov. Jerry Brown's 2013-2014 budget after he releases the updated version during a 10 a.m. conference at the state Capitol.

The governor has been telegraphing restraint in the face of projections of a multi-billion dollar surplus, so it should be interesting to see how signs that California is back on fiscal terra firma manifest themselves in his new budget plan. Look for a heavy emphasis on Brown's much-discussed plan to overhaul education spending, which should also come into clearer focus with today's release.

VIDEO: Rather than do some serious work to clean up the tangled thicket of California's tax code, lawmakers are just trimming the edges, and Dan Walters says they will come to regret it.

BAY BRIDGE BACKLASH: The governor's take notwithstanding, lawmakers are sufficiently concerned about the structural issues and delays plaguing the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to have called a hearing. The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee will be hearing more from state auditor Elaine Howle about a recent report faulting the California Department of Transportation for testing lapses, and several different officials from Caltrans, including director Malcolm Dougherty, will also be testifying. Starting at 1:30 p.m. in room 4203.

SPECIAL ELECTION: It may get largely drowned out by the budget brouhaha, but today also features a special election to find a successor for former state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod's now-vacant seat in the 32nd district. A March primary winnowed the race to today's contest between Ontario mayor Paul Leon, a Republican, and Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Pomona.

SEEKING SERVICES: A new budget release means a new opportunity for advocates to press their case, and today the Health and Human Services Network of California will be rallying across the state for restored social services funding. The Sacramento installment will feature a press conference in room 4202 after the governor has finished speaking.

NURSING NUMBERS: Speaking of health care-related demonstrations, the California Nurses Association is holding a 12:30 p.m. press conference on the south steps to discuss data on the gap between the costs hospitals incur and the fees they charge. CNA representatives will be joined by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, and Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, both of whom are authoring bills that the nurses are promoting: Wieckowski's would tighten the conditions hospitals would need to satisfy to claim nonprofit status and the associated tax benefits, while Yee's would have hospitals adopt violence protection plans.

COVERED COMMUNITIES: Covered California, the health insurance marketplace California has been busy setting up per the new federal health care law, is announcing 48 community partners who will help with the monumental task of getting Californians to participate. Board member Robert Ross and Executive Director Peter Lee are making the announcement today in Los Angeles.

WOMEN'S WORKPLACE WOES: Members of the Women's Caucus will be discussing workplace injuries common among women at a breakfast put on by the California Applicants' Attorneys Association. Sen. Hannah Beth-Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, will be speaking, and Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and Assembly members Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, and Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, are expected to attend. Starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Eureka room.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, who is 51 today.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown explains his initial 2013-2014 budget proposal during a press conference at the California Capitol in Sacramento. Thursday, January 10, 2013. Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee.


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