Capitol Alert

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MC_DELTA_file.JPGFor the first time since the 1977 drought, California water officials are considering widespread curtailment of longstanding water rights because of a scarcity of supply. Over the next few weeks, the state is expected to begin issuing orders to many water agencies, farmers and other property owners to stop diverting water from streams and rivers.

During its bimonthly meeting today, 9 a.m. at the Cal/EPA Building on I Street, the State Water Resources Control Board will vote on an emergency regulation to curtail diversions on three Sacramento River tributaries important for fish passage if minimum flows are not met.

The discussion will continue tomorrow at 9 a.m. with a public workshop about proposed emergency regulations for cutbacks on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta Watershed, which is the largest in the state. Water rights are currently based on seniority, and "junior" rights holders -- mostly those who acquired water rights after 1914 -- are the first to be affected by curtailment. But the board is considering exceptions for fish and wildlife protection, as well as for public health and safety, which would allow municipalities to continue drawing some water after a curtailment order is issued.

VIDEO: California's growing battle between teachers unions and education activists has raised the stakes in this year's race for state schools chief, Dan Walters says.

BUDGE IT As budget negotiations enter their final weeks, Democratic members of the California Legislative Women's Caucus call for a greater priority on programs assisting women, families and children, 9:30 a.m. in Room 317 of the Capitol.

TENURE TRACK: A lawsuit winding its way through the California courts right now is challenging the state's teacher tenure laws, claiming they deny students the constitutional right to a quality education. What would happen if the plaintiffs prove victorious? The UC Berkeley School of Law hosts a discussion exploring the potential ramifications of the case, 11:45 a.m. at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

VROOM VROOM: As part of its lobby day, the Association of Global Automakers will display its newest eco-friendly models, including electric cars and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, outside Chops on 11th Street starting at 11:30 a.m. The party begins inside at 5 p.m. for legislators and their staff.

ON A DIME: Volunteers from the baby health organization March of Dimes gather in Room 100 of the Legislative Office Building at 9 a.m. to kick off their legislative advocacy day, which will urge for restoration of funding to the Black Infant Health Program. The organization will honor state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, and hear from Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank.

TICKET TO RIDE: Participants in the Climate Ride, a four-day bicycling tour to benefit sustainability, active transportation and environmental nonprofits, cross the finish line at 3:30 p.m. at the south steps of the Capitol, where they'll hear from Assembly members Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata, and Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.

PHOTO: Aerial view of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta on Nov. 11, 2008. The islands separated by the Franks Tract in the foreground, San Joaquin river in the middle and the Sacramento River in the background. The Sacramento Bee/Manny Crisostomo


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