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The AM Alert

Remember, senators, we're counting on 21 of you to check in today, anytime between midnight and midnight, lest the full Senate forgo four days of per diem.

"Those of you who are in Northern California should be the first ones to volunteer," Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, told the senators during Monday's session. "If we don't get to 21, we're just going to collapse the whole thing because I know a lot of you believe that serving your constituents is more important than anything else."

Anything else? Really?

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino will interrupt at least some folks' five-day weekend with a 10 a.m. hearing of the Assembly Higher Education Committee to discuss Perata's SB 823, his private postsecondary education act. Several students who say they were duped by diploma mill schools will urge lawmakers to support the Perata bill.

Right now there's no state agency regulating an estimated 1,500 for-profit schools. That's because state leaders have been unable to reach a compromise on how best to protect students. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education shut its doors on July 1 after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed an extension last year.

And for those keeping track at home -- and legislative staff hoping for a paycheck come July 15 -- it is Day Five of the new fiscal year ... and still no budget.