Capitol Alert

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Yesterday health care, today contract negotiations. A day after masses of people converged on the State Capitol to advocate for more Medi-Cal funding, thousands more are expected to arrive today to show solidarity with SEIU Local 1000's push for a new collective bargaining agreement with California.

The current contract is scheduled to expire on July 1, and SEIU has been actively negotiating since mid-April. Jon Ortiz has been covering the unfolding drama on The State Worker blog, where he noted that Gov. Jerry Brown said he was "aiming low" in trying to secure a deal.

VIDEO: Dan Walters finds more evidence that the desire for secrecy is beating out the drive for transparency in Sacramento.

PLASTIC'S PURPOSES: Here's an odd coincidence: the American Chemistry Council is putting on an event on the north steps today highlighting the success of various plastic recycling programs. That event starts at 10 a.m.; at 1:30 p.m., the Assembly Select Committee on Coastal Protection is holding a hearing on plastic pollution and coastal ecosystems.

A bill by that committee's chair, Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, dealing with marine plastic pollution is languishing on the suspense file, while a Senate plastic bag ban died on the floor and an Assembly bag ban was held and is now a 2-year bill. The American Chemistry Council opposed the Stone bill, and while it took no position on the bag bans this time it has in the past represented bag makers who, unsurprisingly, were against a prohibition.

SOCIAL SERVICES: Advocates continue to push the governor to take advantage of more robust revenue by undoing social services cuts enacted during the lean years. Organizations under the umbrella of the Health and Human Services Network of California, whose members include organizations like the Western Center on Law and Poverty, Health Access and the California Immigrant Policy Center, are highlighting statistics about California's poverty rate during a noon conference on the east steps. Speeches by advocates and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, will be bracketed by afternoon and morning visits with lawmakers, many of whom have showed a similar appetite for a more generous budget than the one Brown is proposing.

AUDIT AUDACITY: The Joint Legislative Audit Committee is considering several candidates for scrutiny today, including the process by which Child Protective Services removes kids from households, CalPERS investment portfolio managers and the finances of the UCLA & UCSF medical centers. Starting at 10 a.m. in room 444.

POVERTY PROBLEMS: A related hearing will be examining a new report by the Campaign for College Opportunity on low-income families and economic mobility in California. Starting at 2:30 p.m. in room 437.

GUST BROWN GATHERING: A "She Shares" series hosting prominent female speakers will today feature California First Lady Anne Gust Brown. Brown will be speaking from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Sutter Club on 9th street. No word on whether Sutter the Dog will be attending Sutter the Club.

PHOTO CREDIT: Service Employees International Union (SEIU) members rally on Friday, July 16, 2010. By Michael Allen Jones/The Sacramento Bee.



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