Capitol Alert

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In the spirit of today's celebration of all things ghostly, we thought it might be instructive to reflect today on some of California's zombie bills: issues that seem to come back to life on an annual basis after being left dead the prior session.

One notorious example at last joined the realm of living laws this session: after years of trying, Democrats were finally able to push across a bill offering driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. Former state lawmaker Gil Cedillo can now rest in peace (figuratively speaking).

But others perished, perhaps to await resurrection in January. For the second straight year, Sen. Mark Leno's bill to allow misdemeanor charges for minor drug possession failed, as did legislation seeking to streamline the process of firing teachers; the push to create a state-level agency to regulate marijuana gave up the ghost; and the quest to institute an oil extraction tax, propelled this time by ominous warnings about a coming boom in the Monterey Shale, suffered a familiar fate.

Then, of course, there is the unremitting battle over changing the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act. Barring a legislative solution, MICRA reform could lurch its way to the ballot box come 2014.

TRICK OR TREAT: As if observing democracy up close isn't scary enough, offices in the State Capitol will be participating in the autumnal festivities today by offering up Halloween treats. It's unclear how many people will participate in the staffers-only event, or whether people will swap their recess-casual wear for costumes, but a staffer organizing the event assures us that, at a minimum, Shrek will be stalking the corridors; we're wondering whether the politically besieged Sutter Brown will get into the act.

TAXING TIMES: In California, "tax revolt" is a phrase typically associated with the anti-taxation ferment that led to the passage of Proposition 13. UC San Diego professor Branislav L. Slantchev will offer a broader and wonkier look today, laying out his research during a UC Center Sacramento talk on the general functioning of tax rebellions. From noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1130 K Street.

PHOTO: People dressed as zombies gather at Sub Q Piercing in midtown for a series of zombie related activities, starting with "zombies face off" where fx artists compete in horror makeup. The Sacramento Bee/Autumn Cruz.



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