Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

CASINOSLOTS.JPGWith the California Legislature still on recess, direct democracy keeps humming. The 2014 ballot continues to take shape with the likely addition of a referendum to overturn a pact the Legislature ratified allowing the North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians to build a casino miles from where their members are currently concentrated. (The Wiyot Tribe also gets a chunk of the proceeds.)

That has not gone over well with opponents, who accuse the deal's beneficiaries of "casino shopping." Today representatives of those detractors say they will deliver more than 800,000 signatures, well above the 504,760 required, to elections officials across the state.

For what it's worth, Gov. Jerry Brown -- who had to sign off on the deal -- has dubbed the incoming ballot box battle "unfortunate."

VIDEO: A new report on truancy in California doesn't just underscore an issue facing schools -- it also points to a shortcoming in how we gather data, Dan Walters says.

OBAMACARE COMETH: At long last -- and despite the best efforts of House Republicans -- the open enrollment date for Covered California, the state's new health insurance exchange, arrives today. Events around the state will mark the occasion, from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson discussing plans in San Francisco to Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California, announcing options in Los Angeles.

ENERGY EXPECTATIONS: At the heart of climate policy planning lie projections about how much energy we'll consume, and a California Energy Commission workshop today will try to assess how much electricity and natural gas Californians will use. Featuring California Energy Commission head Andrew McAllister, experts from the Air Resources Board and Dan Cayan of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. From 10 a.m. at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters.

PARSING POVERTY: The way we measure how many people live in poverty has come in for criticism over the years, and a Public Policy Institute of California talk today will delve into the data to try and assess more accurately how many Californians are scraping to get by, as well as what services they can avail themselves of. With PPIC research fellow Caroline Danielson, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the CSAC Conference Center.

HELPING HOMEOWNERS: Back in 2012, the Legislature passed a pair of bills, referred to in tandem as the "Homeowners Bill of Rights," intended to aid overburdened California homeowners. A Senate Banking And Financial Institutions Committee hearing in Santa Ana today will examine how implementation is going. With Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana; Katherine Porter, appointed by state Attorney General Kamala Harris to monitor California's role in a massive mortgage abuse settlement; and representatives of the California Association of Realtors, the Department of Business Oversight and the California Mortgage Association, in addition to homeowner advocates.

CAPITOL INSIDER: Having trouble keeping up with the nonstop state Legislature shuffle? Our Capitol Alert Insider Access app keeps you up to date on who holds office, when they term out and which staffers are working for them. You can check it out here.

PHOTO: A Sacramento woman plays a slot machine at the Colusa Casino on April 24, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench.


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