With California's financial outlook brightening, voter approval of Gov. Jerry Brown has climbed to a new high for his third term in office. A new Field Poll reveals that 59 percent of registered voters in the state approve of his performance, nearly twice as many as disapprove.
That's great news for Brown as he once again runs for re-election this year. Just two months away from the primary, he holds a commanding lead over his Republican challengers: 57 percent of likely voters said they planned to vote for Brown, as compared to 17 percent for Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, 3 percent for Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount and 2 percent for businessman Neel Kashkari.
The next Field Poll will focus on Californians' opinions of the state Legislature since Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, was arrested on corruption charges last month. Subscribers to the Capitol Alert Insider Edition app will have access to the story early, at 8 p.m.
VIDEO: A controversial bill to ban orca shows in California was held in committee to die quietly, Dan Walters says, likely so as not to cause trouble for incoming Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego.
SUGAR, SUGAR: Two of Capitol Alert's Bills to Watch for the 2014 session get their first committee hearings today. Legislation from state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, that would put warning labels on soda cans faces the Senate Health Committee at 1:30 p.m. in Room 4203 of the Capitol. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's proposal to extend pre-kindergarten to all four-year-olds in California appears before the Senate Education Committee at 9 a.m. in Room 4203. You can track all of our Bills to Watch on the Insider Edition app.
TUITION CONUNDRUM: In 2001, California granted in-state tuition to undocumented students at public universities, and three years ago, the Legislature opened new scholarship opportunities to them as well. But state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, says these programs still leave undocumented students, who do not qualify for most financial aid, with large funding gaps for their education. He will be joined by University of California President Janet Napolitano and Sacramento State University President Alexander Gonzalez to announce a new bill that would allow undocumented students to apply for loans, 11:30 a.m. in Room 113 of the Capitol.
STUDENT HEALTH: Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, seeks to make state funds available to school districts to hire more nurses and mental health professionals and extend daily library hours. He will introduce legislation for the program at 12:30 p.m. at the Sacramento Central Library on I Street, along with representatives from the California Federation of Teachers.
UNITED THEY STAND: The charity organization United Ways of California is at the Capitol for its annual lobby day, pushing for three bills that would expand the state's social services: Steinberg's universal pre-kindergarten proposal; a bill from Lara that would extend health care coverage to undocumented immigrants; and a real estate fee proposed by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, to fund more programs for affordable housing and the homeless. Assemblywoman Atkins, a big affordable housing advocate, meets with the group in the morning to deliver a keynote address.
PHOTO: Governor Jerry Brown speaks during the annual Victims Rights Rally on the west steps of the State Capitol on April 8, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton