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emptysenate.JPGWe get an oasis in the midst of the end-of-session mayhem today, with floor sessions canceled in deference to Jewish lawmakers and staff (not to mention some reporters) who will be at Rosh Hashanah services ringing in the Jewish new year. L'shanah tovah, everybody! We'll make up for it tomorrow with some all-day marathon sessions.

VIDEO: It shouldn't take a federal court order to get California lawmakers focused on prison reform, Dan Walters says.

WAL-MARTENSION: Just because the Wal-Mart wage bill is dead doesn't mean the retail giant is off the hook. The Assembly voted down legislation dubbed "The Wal-Mart bill," which would have punished large employers who don't pay enough to keep their workers off Medi-Cal and was seen as a gauge of the Democratic supermajority, back in June.

But lawmakers continue to assail the store for its labor practices, which today entails a 4 p.m. rally in Cesar Chavez park at which advocates will denounce Wal-Mart for failing to meet demands for better wages and less retaliation against workers. Expected to attend are Assembly members Roger Dickinson, Richard Pan, and Lorena Gonzalez -- all of whom voted in favor of AB 880.

AFTER AB 32: Those of you who have been reading our Freshman Facts series, available on our new Capitol Alert Insider app, should be familiar with the impressive resume of Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, who is a real, non-hyperbolic rocket scientist: He received a degree in astrophysics from Columbia University and used to work for NASA.

That background has given Quirk an interest in science-based policy, stoked by some early climate-modeling technology. Today he'll be presiding over a hearing touching on that matter. Assembly Bill 32, the landmark 2006 law setting emission standards and launching a carbon-auction market, seeks to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020. But what happens after that? The hearing will consider some options, drawing on testimony from Tiffany Roberts of the Legislative Analyst's Office, Alex Jackson of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Dorothy Rothrock of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. 10 a.m. to noon in room 127.

PHOTO: Once again, the Senate floor will be bereft of lawmakers. The Sacramento Bee/Jeremy B. White.


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