Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

IPhone.jpgAs smartphones have become increasingly essential items for many Californians, they have also become a favorite target for thieves: The Federal Communications Commission estimates that 30-to-40 percent of all robberies nationwide now involve cell phone theft, and that figure is more than 50 percent in high-tech San Francisco.

The growing problem has prompted state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, to announce new legislation that would require a so-called "kill switch" to render phones inoperable if they are stolen, discouraging theft. A wireless trade group opposed a similar proposal when carrier Samsung floated the idea last summer.

Leno will hold a press conference at 9 a.m. at the State Building in San Francisco to discuss the details of the bill. He will be joined by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, as well as Bay Area law enforcement officials and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

VIDEO: By demanding action on some pension debts while ignoring others, Gov. Jerry Brown has undermined his credibility on the issue, Dan Walters says.

ELECTION LUNCH: It's not often you get the executive directors of California's Democratic and Republican parties in the same room, but Shawnda Westly and Cynthia Bryant come together to discuss the 2014 election at a luncheon hosted by professional women's organization Capitol Network. Also participating in the conversation are Democratic strategist Robin Swanson and Sabrina Lockhart, communications director for Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway. The event takes place at the California Chamber of Commerce at 11:30 a.m. and is moderated by Marcey Brightwell of Grayling Communications.

NOT SO FAST: Is increased political participation always a good thing? It might not be when it comes to municipal budgeting. The American Society of Public Administration's Sacramento chapter hosts a discussion of a new report from Cal State Sacramento's Center for California Studies examining civic engagement and its impact on attitudes towards taxes and government spending. The event begins at noon in Room 3191 of the Capitol.

LOCAL HISTORY: The State Historical Resources Commission meets at Sacramento City Hall at 9 a.m. to discuss new nominations for the National Register of Historic Places. Of local significance on the agenda is New Helvetia Historic District, a public housing project constructed to improve the housing conditions of Sacramento's African-American community that was used as defense housing during World War II.

INSIDER EXCLUSIVE: Subscribers to the Capitol Alert Insider Edition can get veteran political analyst Tony Quinn's take on key legislative races, as Republicans seek to cut into Democrats' supermajority status this year. In the fourth of five parts released this week, Quinn and reporter Christopher Cadelago look at key state Senate races in Northern California. You can subscribe to the Insider Edition app for iPad and iPhone.

PHOTO: Instagram is demonstrated on an iPhone. The Associated Press/Karly Domb Sadof



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