Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Internet poker advocates consider California legalization prospects

A game of online poker during the industry's G2E conference in Las Vegas in 2011.
A game of online poker during the industry's G2E conference in Las Vegas in 2011. The Associated Press file

The prospect of legalizing Internet poker has come and gone – and come and gone again – at the Capitol for years, as California’s major gaming interests repeatedly failed to strike a mutually satisfactory deal. But backers are crossing their fingers that this is finally the year; a shell bill passed out of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee earlier this month, a first for any Internet poker legislation.

Representatives from Indian tribes, card clubs and horse tracks – whose disagreements over who should be allowed to offer Internet poker have stalled legalization – as well as gaming websites, experts and former state Sen. Rod Wright will discuss the efforts at a daylong conference hosted by Capitol Weekly and the UC Center Sacramento, starting at 9 a.m. at the Masonic Temple on J Street.

PokerStars, a major Internet poker hub whose push to enter the California market has been a deal breaker for some tribes, will also host a demonstration for legislators and staffers, featuring poker pros Daniel Negreanu and Jason Somerville, 10:30 a.m. in Room 100 of the Legislative Office Building on N Street.

HEALTHY MINDS: Since leaving the Capitol, former Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has positioned himself as a champion for mental health services and legislation. He will join University of Southern California Professor Elyn Saks for a conversation on reducing stigma and increasing support for mental health issues, hosted by the Sacramento Press Club, 11:45 a.m. at the Capitol Plaza Ballroom on 9th Street.

INMATE OR OUT: After the first year of realignment, California’s prison population stopped decreasing until the passage of Proposition 47 last November, according to a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California. Meanwhile, the violent crime rate has begun to decline, in line with many other states. Researcher Magnus Lofstrom will discuss these and other findings during a briefing at noon at the Capitol Event Center on 11th Street.

LOBBY DAZE: It’s Geothermal Awareness Day, so Calpine, the Geothermal Resources Council and the Geothermal Energy Association are hosting a workshop, 2 p.m. at the California Energy Commission on 9th Street, to promote the role of geothermal as California increasingly turns to renewable energy sources to meet its climate change goals. The California Alliance for Retired Americans will dance for their rights and state budget priorities with a flash mob at 11 a.m. on the west steps of the Capitol. The California Music Educators Association advocates for an expansion of music education with performances from high school bands and orchestras starting at 9 a.m. on the north steps.

SUIT UP: Attempts to enforce condom use in porn films have failed in the Legislature, but the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board may step up its regulation of the industry with a new requirement that employers provide vaccinations against sexually transmitted diseases and ensure that workers are wearing condoms if they engage in sexual activity on the job. The board will vote on the proposal during its meeting at 10 a.m. at the County Administration Center in San Diego.

Alexei Koseff: (916) 321-5236, @akoseff