Capitol Alert

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oil_rigs_sunset.JPGThough Gov. Jerry Brown rejected the notion during his January budget proposal, another effort to introduce an oil severance tax in California is winding its way through the Legislature.

The bill--which would impose a tax on companies that extract oil in California to fund higher education, state parks and health and human services--is supported by many groups seeking to reverse the budget cuts of recent years, including a coalition of organizations calling for another $5 billion for education, health and welfare spending.

Members from the California Partnership, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the California Federation of Teachers will march and rally against the influence of oil money in politics and call for the new tax starting at noon on the north steps of the Capitol.

In town for its lobby day, CFT, one of the state's major teacher unions, is also pushing efforts to increase funding for school nurses and extended library hours, change community college accreditation and make it easier for classified employees to receive unemployment benefits.

VIDEO: It's crunch time at the Capitol, as hundreds of bills are facing a deadline to pass out of their policy committee, Dan Walters says.

WE SHALL WOOF WOOF WOOF: Rescue beagles and their human friends hit the streets of Sacramento to support a bill by Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, D-Sherman Oaks, that would connect publicly-funded laboratories with animal rescue organizations to help place research dogs and cats up for adoption. Dababneh and the Beagle Freedom Project begin their canine march at 10:30 a.m. at Roosevelt Park on 10th and P Streets.

GROUP PROJECTS: As part of a joint advocacy day at the Capitol, the leaders of the state's three public higher education systems--University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy White and California Community Colleges Brice Harris--discuss their collaborative efforts to improve student success, access, workforce development and research, 1:30 p.m. at the California Dental Association Building on K Street.

FIFTY AND COUNTING: With an expected budget surplus this year for the first time since the recession, Democratic lawmakers and social service groups have been lobbying to restore funding to the social safety net. The latest to make their case in Sacramento are community action agencies, who will be showcasing their work on the south lawn of the Capitol at 11 a.m. Assembly members Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, and Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, and California Secretary of Health and Human Services Diana Dooley will join at 11:30 a.m. to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty.

ANTE UP: Communities for California Cardrooms, which promotes the local gambling clubs, hosts a "casino night" with blackjack tables and a trophy for the evening's biggest winner, 5 p.m. at Chops on 11th Street.

PHOTO: Oil rigs pump oil from the ground in Baldwin Hills of West Los Angeles on Sept. 29, 2006. The Sacramento Bee/ Brian Baer


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