Capitol Alert

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assempty.JPGThe weather report says we're likely to suffer under the sweltering Sacramento sun for a few more days, but at least some of us to get to escape: Members of the California Assembly are heading back to their districts after the end of business today, when their summer recess officially begins.

In a more contentious budget year -- particularly one in which lawmakers didn't risk losing their pay -- they might be compelled to stick around.

But because the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown have wrapped up their budgetary business, the summer schedule proceeds as planned. Members of the lower house return in early August.

VIDEO: What is potentially the most important bill going through the Legislature this year? Dan Walters' answer might surprise you.

APPROPRIATIONS ACCUMULATION: Before Assembly members leave, though, they'll have to work their way through a mountain of bills looming before the Appropriations Committee today. There are about 90 bills on the file today -- think of it as a pre-recess final exam for lawmakers.

LIMO LAW: One of the aforementioned bills is part of the legislative response to a series of lethal limousine fires. The legislation, authored by Sen. Ellen Corbett, would require emergency exits in limos.

ABORTION ACCESS: Pink-clad lawmakers and staff telegraphed their solidarity earlier this week with Texas lawmaker Wendy Davis, who filibustered against a bill restricting abortions. The California Senate Health Committee is considering legislation on the opposite end of the spectrum as it takes up a bill that would allow more nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwifes and physician assistants to perform certain type of abortions, which supporters say could help ease a provider shortage.

TEACHER TERMINATION: Also up today is a bill to alter the process for firing teachers. It's a topic that has drawn ample controversy after revelations of the difficulties districts have had in doing away with negligent educators, and a bill by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, seeks to change things. The teachers unions have gotten behind the legislation, while the school administrators are against it. The bill goes before the Senate Education Committee's 9 a.m. meeting in room 4203.

PHOTO: Get used to the sight of empty Assembly chambers. The Sacramento Bee/Jeremy B. White.



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