Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

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Welcome back from legislative spring break, everybody! Returning lawmakers will be delving right back in to a contentious policy issue during a daylong hearing on prison realignment.

Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to shift low-level offenders from prisons to county jails, spurred by court-ordered reductions in the state's bulging prison population, has won praise for considering alternatives to incarceration and attracted condemnation for releasing dangerous criminals and overwhelming local facilities. A Public Policy Institute of California event at the Sheraton Grand today will step back to take stock.

Expected attendees include Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, and Matthew Cate, who is deeply immersed in the issue: currently head of the California State Association of Counties, he helped oversee realignment's implementation as chief of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

VIDEO:Lawmakers are returning to a host of challenges, both fiscal and ethical, Dan Walters says.

GRADING SCHOOLS: The state bureau responsible for certifying trade schools flunked a recent state audit, and today a joint Assembly and Senate committee hearing will mull the fate of the sunsetting Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Testifying at the 10 a.m. hearing will be State Auditor Elaine Howle and Joanne Wenzel, chief of the bureau.

DOGGING IT: With an eye to preventing animal cruelty, California in 2012 outlawed using canines to hound bears and bobcats. The California Houndsmen for Conservation want to roll back the prohibition, and they'll be rallying today for a bill by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, that would allow hunters to release the dogs if they obtain special permission. 11 a.m. on the west steps.

SALON AND ON: Usually talk around the Capitol of cuts implies tough budgetary choices, but today it references something a little more welcome. In the latest iteration of Interest Group Freebies, the Professional Beauty Federation of CA will be offering gratis hair cuts, manicures and massages for legislators and staff on the North steps this afternoon.

BRINGING IT HOME: We brought you news before of the pushback to Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to cap hours for in-home supportive services, which caregivers say will limit their flexibility in offering help - often to disabled family members - and thrust some into poverty. The Service Employees International Union will start dropping in on legislators today to urge rejection of governor's plan, a campaign SEIU says they will continue multiple days a week until the budget passes.

PHOTO: Inmates inside the jail cells in the old Stanislaus County downtown main jail in Modesto on Wednesday June 19, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo.



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