If it seems like the media has been droning on about unmanned aircraft lately, the additional attention reflects the fact that the pilot-less vehicles could be coming closer to home: there is a scramble under way to explore domestic uses for unarmed drones.
That has raised questions about surveillance and civil liberties, which will get a public airing during an Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing this morning (9:30 a.m., room 126). Speakers include those questioning the constitutional implications, like Linda Lye of the ACLU, and those who could stand to benefit, like deputy director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Andy McMurry.
The Legislature has dabbled in drones already this session, from hearing about why California lagged behind other states in a push to establish testing sites to a bill by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, that would clarify when drones require warrants and lay out how drone-generated data can be shared.
VIDEO: The Legislature's return from recess is cause for concern for many, Dan Walters says.
SCOPE OF PRACTICE: A trio of bills by Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, that would enlarge the set of medical duties optometrists, nurse practitioners and pharmacists can undertake gets a hearing before the Assembly Business, Professions And Consumer Protection Committee today. Starting at 9 a.m.
BAY BRIDGE: During a meeting in Del Mar, the California Transportation Commission will hear an update on some of the structural issues that have thrown into question whether the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will be open by Labor Day, as planned. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at the Hilton San Diego/Del Mar.
GROUNDWATER GUIDELINES: As contentious as the battles over California's groundwater can be, there is no state-level agency to regulate who draws water out of the earth. The State Water Resources Control Board, whose members help oversee what flows into the ground but not necessarily what comes out, will weigh a potential groundwater framework at a meeting today. Starting at 9 a.m. at the Cal/EPA Building.
IMMIGRATION ACTION: Religious figures, advocates and labor are massing in Los Angeles today to urge the House of Representatives to take on the immigration reform bill that has passed the Senate. Attendees will include Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and Maria Elena Durazo of the LA County Federation of Labor.
OBAMA ON-AIR: President Barack Obama will be in California today, but not to raise funds: He flies into Los Angeles to record an interview on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," set to run during tonight's show. The president plans to visit Camp Pendleton on Wednesday.
PHOTO: Steve Markofski demonstrates the Yamaha RMAX remote-controlled helicopter in a vineyard at UC Davis' Oakville station on June 5, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton.