Capitol Alert

California lawmakers return to Capitol for first sessions of 2017

Umbrellas were put to use as a storm passes over the state Capitol in Sacramento on Dec. 8, 2016.
Umbrellas were put to use as a storm passes over the state Capitol in Sacramento on Dec. 8, 2016. The Associated Press

Welcome to the AM Alert, your morning run-down on California policy and politics. To receive it regularly, please sign up here.

The start of 2017 brings with it the Legislature’s return to the Capitol. Both houses will reconvene today – the Assembly at 1 p.m. and the Senate 2 p.m. – though neither has much planned as they wait for the 30-day deadline to pass before they can start hearing the first bills introduced this session.

The political furor should kick off in earnest next week, by which time Gov. Jerry Brown will have unveiled his proposed budget. The preliminary plan, due by Jan. 10, provides Brown’s outlook on the fiscal health of California and sets the stage for fights to come in the months ahead. Will this be a session defined by a legislative push for new spending against the governor’s wishes, or protracted battles over which programs to protect from painful cuts?

Confirmation of the state’s next attorney general, Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, could also be just around the corner. Becerra was formally nominated by Brown yesterday, and the Assembly has already scheduled a meeting of its special committee to review the appointment for Jan. 10. While the Legislature has 90 days to approve or reject the appointment, California has been itching to establish itself as the lead opponent of the incoming Trump administration.

Happy New Year! Did anyone else do anything exciting over the break?

VIDEO OF THE DAY: A tribute to Sutter Brown, California’s first dog, who died last week.

WORTH REPEATING: “So is it Assembly Member Gonzalez or Gonzalez Fletcher or Fletcher or GoFletcher?” – Phillip Ung, FPPC advocate, on what to call Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez after her Jan. 1 marriage to ex-lawmaker Nathan Fletcher

MUST READ: Find out how California lobbyist employers spent more than $84 million from July through September, the first quarter that detailed information on their payments to influence has been made available.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, who turns 53 today, and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who is 55. And a belated well wishes to Assembly members Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, who turned 54 yesterday, and Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, who turned 55.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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