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Neel_Kashkari.JPGIs Neel Kashkari finally ready to declare his candidacy for governor of California?

The former U.S. Treasury Department official under President George W. Bush has been circling a campaign for months, and recently he's been making the rounds in Sacramento. Last Tuesday, he met with the Legislature's Republican caucuses.

He'll be at Sacramento State's Union Ballroom at 12:10 p.m. today to deliver the keynote address during the release of the 2014 Sacramento Business Review. Last week, he told The Bee that it would be a "major speech," adding, "You should come for that."

Sounds like something is brewing.

VIDEO: How Gov. Jerry Brown handles this drought could define his governship, Dan Walters says.

BILLS, BILLS, BILLS: Friday is the deadline for bills introduced in 2013 to make it through committee in their house of origin. With that cutoff looming, the Senate Appropriations Committee, the final stop before the floor, has a packed agenda for its meeting today: the panel is scheduled to hear 34 bills, including SB 637 from Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, which would require election officials in California to make early voting opportunities available, and SB 583 from Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, which would create a new 12-month fishing license. The committee hearing will take place at 11 a.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol.

LINKED IN: As he enters his final year in the Legislature, a major policy goal of state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has been the implementation of "linked learning," a program that connects high school education to career training. He plans to discuss the next step for the $250 million competitive grant fund during a 10 a.m. conference call with state schools superintendent Tom Torlakson, California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris, and Tim Rainey, executive director of the California Workforce Investment Board.

CANNA-BIZ: As marijuana once again becomes a hot topic, the California Cannabis Industry Association hosts a welcome back reception for legislators tonight at 5 p.m. at Chops on 11th Street. The event, which includes manufacturers and distributors of cannabis products, aims to educate attendees on the best practices of the medical marijuana industry and push for its increasing professionalization. The association says it would like to see a bill pass this year that regulates medical marijuana under the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

PHOTO: Neel Kashkari, who is exploring a possible run for governor in 2014, on Dec. 4, 2013. The Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli


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