Capitol Alert

AM Alert: BART strike ban could be latest Republican casualty

Commuters line up to board the ferry in the early morning hour on Monday, October 21, 2013, on the fourth day that BART workers are on strike in Oakland, California.
Commuters line up to board the ferry in the early morning hour on Monday, October 21, 2013, on the fourth day that BART workers are on strike in Oakland, California. MCT

The Republican bill graveyard is already stocked with fresh arrivals.

Gone are measures that would overhaul teacher employment rules in response to last year's Vergara ruling, expedite dam construction and remove transportation fuels from cap-and-trade. Proposals to undo past bans have faltered, as well: legislation lifting California's new plastic bag prohibition died in committee, and a bill reversing the lead ammo ban has not gotten a hearing.

Up today: a bill prohibiting Bay Area Rapid Transit employee strikes. Assembly Bill 528 comes from first-year Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, who campaigned in part by appealing to constituents angered by BART strikes disrupting their lives. The issue may have helped her get elected, but the track record for similar proposals is not promising.

Also facing a potential early demise is a Republican bill addressing the intractable labor dispute at Gerawan Farming by penalizing unions that “fail to represent” workers and letting farmworkers have a say on contracts imposed by the Agricultural Labor Relations Board. After a rally with farmworkers, Assembly Bill 1389 goes before the Assembly Labor And Employment Committee.

RIBBIT: Being a state lawmaker is more than kissing babies: sometimes it means getting your hands dirty and trying to grasp slippery issues. Legislators will undergo a sacred rite of passage during the 41st annual Frog Jump today, vying to see who can make their amphibian ally leap farthest. Whoever wins – last year’s comeback victor arrived at session on Monday wearing a frog brooch and predicting a repeat – you can count on some immortal images.

ACWATIC: Few interests have more of a stake in Sacramento’s business this year than water providers who are grappling with tough conservation orders. The Association of California Water Agencies launches its spring conference at the convention center today. Attendees will hear from Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee chair Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, and from water officials Chuck Bonham of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mark Cowin of the California Department of Water Resources and John Laird of the California Natural Resources Agency.

DEMONSTRATIVE: Multiple rallies will keep legislators busy today. Parents and kids will be advocating for surplus budget dollars to fund more childcare – a priority for the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and Senate leadership – on the north steps this morning. Over on the west steps, members of the California Senior Legislature will call for a greater focus on issues affecting the elderly. And SEIU Nurse Alliance of California will call attention to the problem of caregivers attacked on the job, including at state hospitals, during a noon vigil in Capitol Park.

VIDEOVILLE: Taking a break from mulling the politics of weed legalization, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will be at the Capitol to promote his other pet cause of boosting civic engagement through technology. Newsom and former state Sen. Sam Blakeslee will unveil a new student-designed video platform, dubbed Digital Democracy, that transcribes committee hearings and allows users to search for video of lawmakers and lobbyists talking about various topics. In room 1190 at 11 a.m.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.