Holdovers from last year and 2016 wine in 2015 bottles await lawmakers returning to an impending set of deadlines.
Bills introduced last year must advance out of policy committees by Jan. 15, so we’re seeing the start of a wave of votes on those proposals today. They include a long-shot Republican attempt to ban BART strikes (an idea that helped elect Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin) and legislation dealing with employment discrimination and with student athletes.
But much of the attention will be on an old vessel that has gained new contents. Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, amended Assembly Bill 1437 to legalize and regulate Internet fantasy sports in California (it used to deal with gambling addiction). The bill thrusts the Legislature into a raging debate over whether the fantasy leagues, with their promises of lucrative payouts, constitute illegal gambling, as officials in other states have charged.
Gray is pushing for legislators to regulate the activity, recently calling a hearing stacked with fantasy sports supporters. But another lawmaker who hasn’t always gotten along with Gray believes it needs to go through voters. We should see those dueling contentions on display during a 1:30 p.m. Governmental Organization Committee hearing in room 4202.
RETURN OF JEFFERSON: At a time when anti-government sentiment has fed an armed standoff to the north, it seems appropriate that the anti-Sacramento partisans of the State of Jefferson will be holding another rally today promoting their breakaway territory. They’ll be rallying on the west steps at 10 a.m. and again submitting declarations of their intent to establish Jefferson.
EXERCISED: It’s always fun to see politicians come up with wacky ways to raise campaign money – we’re looking at you, Master of Marvels Jerry Hill – and today Sacramento mayor hopeful Darrell Steinberg will get donors sweating his campaign with an event that allows lucky folks, including some well-known Sacramento lobbyists, to work out with the former Senate leader at the Academy Training and Performance Center.
CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, who turns 44 today.