Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government


Drug sentencing, school discipline, and student debt.

We're now entering the meat of the legislative calendar, as evidenced by the increasingly bill-packed hearings on the Daily File, which means it's prime time for groups to head to Sacramento and make their voices heard. Today we have some relatively less-moneyed interests: the American Civil Liberties Union and the University of California Student Association.

At the forefront for the ACLU are bills that would allow moms on welfare to receive extra money if they become pregnant, scale back so-called "willful defiance" school punishments and eliminate crack sentencing disparities. The students are focused on the mounting burden of student debt, a message they'll amplify at a morning rally alongside Assemblyman Das Williams, D- Santa Barbara, and Senators Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, and Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.

VIDEO: Name recognition is a good thing in an election year, right? Not always, Dan Walters says.

SEAFOOD CHICANERY: How's that sushi? Or more accurately, what's that sushi? A startling recent study showed widespread seafood mislabeling, with customers often buying a cheaper substitute for the cod or salmon they thought they were getting. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, will be at Taylor's Market on Freeport Boulevard this morning to stump for his legislation slapping criminal penalties on people who misrepresent the seafood they're selling.

ORCA-NIZED PROTEST With a closely watched bill to ban orca shows making its first committee appearance on Tuesday, bill proponents will be presenting an online petition with over a million signatures to Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, chair of the committee weighing the bill's fate. This evening, the bill's author (Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica) and its sponsor (the Animal Welfare Institute) will host a screening of the inciting documentary "Blackfish" at the Crest Theater.

BEAD IT: Speaking of Bloom ban bills, the former Santa Monica mayor's legislation to nix the waterway-polluting microbeads embedded in many cosmetic products goes before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee today.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to the nation's oldest governor, our grizzled Gov. Jerry Brown. The third-term guv turns an august 76 today.

PHOTO: Students rallying during the University of California students annual lobbying day at the State Capitol, Monday, March 3, 2008. The Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer.


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