Capitol Alert

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MC_CALDERON_05.JPGWhen the state Senate convenes at 2 p.m. today, Democrats will be without Rod Wright and Ron Calderon -- and without the two-thirds majority they've held since the 2012 election.

Both Wright and Calderon are on paid leave of absence to deal with legal problems. Wright, of Baldwin Hills, faces sentencing in May after a jury convicted him of eight felonies for perjury and election fraud related to him lying about his place of residence. Calderon, of Montebello, announced Sunday night that he would go on leave to deal with a federal indictment on corruption charges. Calderon's statement said he would be gone through the end of session this year on Aug. 31, which is the end for him anyway. He's termed out after this year.

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg will have to get by with only 26 Democrats, one short of the supermajority that allows Dems to raise taxes, approve constitutional amendments and pass urgency measures, among other things, without Republican help.

Senate Republicans have proposed votes today to suspend both senators. A Republican effort last week to expel Wright was blocked by Steinberg.

CANDIDATE FORUM: The Secretary of State race is one of California's most competitive statewide elections this year, with no incumbent and several prominent names in the mix, including state Sens. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, and Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and former Fair Political Practices Commission chairman Dan Schnur. They, along with Derek Cressman, David Curtis and Pete Peterson, gather in Los Angeles at 7 p.m. for a candidate forum to discuss issues such as California's low voter turnout and accessibility for limited English-speaking or disabled voters. The event, hosted by the California chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters, will be streamed online.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Capitol Alert's own Dan Walters has argued that Caltrans lost its way as the transportation picture got more complicated, and it seems the Legislature agrees. The Assembly Committee on Transportation holds a hearing at 1 p.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol to discuss how to modernize the agency.

MARCHING BAND: In conjunction with the Faculty Association of California Community College's legislative lobby day, students and faculty will march from Raley Field to the Capitol calling for greater support for the state community college system. The march ends with a rally on the north steps at 11 a.m., where Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, is scheduled to speak.

ONLINE EDUCATION: Cyber school organization California Parents for Public Virtual Education is in town for its advocacy day, which includes a screening of the school choice documentary The Ticket at the California Museum on O Street at 10 a.m., along with awards honoring Assembly members Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, and Rocky Chávez, R-Oceanside.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to to Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, who turned 49 Sunday, and to Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, who turns 71 today.

PHOTO: Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, at right with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on June 10, 2013. Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo


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