Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Lesbian lawmakers broke ground for LGBT Californians

Then-Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Democrat from Santa Monica who was the first openly gay lawmaker elected to the California Legislature, holds a rally on the north steps of the Capitol on Jan. 28, 2008.
Then-Sen. Sheila Kuehl, a Democrat from Santa Monica who was the first openly gay lawmaker elected to the California Legislature, holds a rally on the north steps of the Capitol on Jan. 28, 2008. The Sacramento Bee file

For nearly a decade before the first openly gay men were elected to the Legislature, a quartet of lesbian assemblywomen established a foothold at the Capitol for out lawmakers and kickstarted the push for LGBT-friendly policies in California.

The wave began in 1994 with Santa Monica Democrat Sheila Kuehl, the actress-turned-lawyer who is now a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. She was followed in 1996 by Carole Migden, a Democrat from San Francisco, and in 2000 by Democrats Christine Kehoe of San Diego and Jackie Goldberg of Los Angeles.

Through their leadership, California established hospital visitation rights, medical power of attorney and sharing of retirement benefits for domestic partners, and anti-discrimination protections in schools, jury selection and state contracts, among other laws meant to further equality for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Their story is the subject of a new documentary, Political Animals, which opens this year’s Sacramento International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival with a screening at 7:30 tonight at the Crest Theatre on K Street. Tickets are $15.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: The director of a new play about the famed Caryl Chessman death penalty case, which dominated Gov. Pat Brown’s first term, discusses the challenges of casting historical characters.

GOODBYE GREENBACK ROAD: With less than a month to go until the November election, things seem to be trending in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s favor. But one can never have enough campaign cash, especially when control of the U.S. Senate and maybe even the House are up in the air, so she’ll be back in the political ATM that is California today for a pair of huge fundraisers. Lunch will be in San Francisco, with a $45-to-$50,000-a-ticket speech at the Civic Center, featuring a performance by R&B singer Andra Day. Then it’s down south for her “final Los Angeles dinner” at the home of entertainment executive Casey Wasserman. The major-donor event costs between $33,400 and $100,000 per person, and includes a concert by Elton John. Now, for your viewing pleasure, a “pantsuit power” flash mob.

WORTH REPEATING: “He’ll make a great congressman.” - Gov. Jerry Brown, in a new radio ad urging voters to support Sen. Isadore Hall, D-Compton, in his contested congressional race

TONY DANCER: As he has often explained since taking over in March, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon views his term at the top as a new era of leadership in the Capitol, with more sharing of power and priorities. Rendon will discuss that vision, and perhaps how it worked out for him in his first year, during a panel on the “past, present and future of the Legislature,” 3 p.m. at Sacramento State’s University Union.

BY THE NUMBERS: Monday is the deadline for filing tax year 2015 California personal income tax returns. In recent months, the state Franchise Tax Board has been reaching out to taxpayers who may be eligible for the state’s new Earned Income Tax Credit, designed to help the working poor, and encouraging them to amend their returns claiming the credit. As of Oct. 1, there were 377,617 EITC claims issued for the 2015 tax year, totaling $197.6 million in credits, for an average of $523 per claim.

DON’T LET THE SUN GET TOO HOT ON ME: Can better management of waste in California’s grasslands help mitigate the impacts of climate change? UC Berkeley ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry Professor Whendee Silver will present her research in a lecture provocatively titled “From Garbage to Gold,” noon at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

CORRECTIONS DEPT: Yesterday’s alert mistakenly conflated two different legislative races. It incorrectly said a political ad compared Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach. The spot ran in another race entirely, linking Trump to Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga. The Trump-Hadley comparisons have surfaced elsewhere, most recently with some disputed signage.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff. Jim Miller and Jeremy B. White of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.