Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Social services, transportation funding battles return to Capitol

Gov. Jerry Brown holds up the state budget he signed in 2013.
Gov. Jerry Brown holds up the state budget he signed in 2013. The Sacramento Bee file

When it comes to the California budget, everything old is new again. With revenues up again this year, long-fought funding battles are returning to the halls of the Capitol as everyone aims to capture a slice of the good fortune.

Social services programs, which endured deep cuts during the economic recession, have received modest funding restorations in recent budget cycles. But advocates for the poor and working families argue those have not been enough, and they are mounting their largest push in years for more resources. The Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, where much of that campaign will play out, holds its first regular hearing today, 1:30 p.m. in Room 127 of the Capitol. The focus is on programs in the Department of Health Care Services, including Medi-Cal and an expensive new Hepatitis C drug treatment.

Local governments are perpetually complaining about underfunding for California’s deteriorating highways and bridges; the state has deferred $59 billion of maintenance work on roads. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins is seeking a new road user fee to pay for those repairs. In the meantime, the Assembly Transportation Committee will hold a hearing to explain California’s transportation funding structure and why is it no longer adequate, 1:30 p.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol.

VIDEO: It's time that California state agencies stop trying to hide their secrets from the public, Dan Walters says.

HAPPY NEW YEAR: Atkins and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León will join the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, the Asian Pacific Islander Capitol Association and Sacramento’s prominent Fat family for a Lunar New Year celebration ringing in the Year of the Sheep, 4:30 p.m. at Frank Fat’s on L Street.

BOB’S TALKZ: In an effort to reach out to diverse constituents, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff will lead “shop talk” on education overhaul, small business ownership, law enforcement and other issues of importance to the African-American community, 5 p.m. at the CeCe’s Cutz barbershop in Natomas. The event will include free haircuts for kids.

RISE OF THE REPUBLICANS: California Republican Party Chair Jim Brulte will discuss the GOP’s “resurgence” in the state with the Republican Party of Contra Costa County, 7:15 p.m. at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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