Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Kevin de León smash! For the environment

hamezcua@sacbee.com

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, is channeling his inner Schwarzenegger today.

We’re not talking about the Senate leader taking up a new weightlifting regimen. Recognizing that political spectacle needs no party affiliation, de León will watch as a gas guzzler is crushed and will then hand the car’s former owner keys to a more environmentally friendly plug-in hybrid. California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols will also be on the west steps at 10 a.m.

You may recall a former governor doing something similar, though he was symbolically destroying higher taxes instead of a carbon emissions generator. While Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was making a point about spending, de León’s stunt advances his agenda of cleaning California’s air and erecting what he calls a new “green economy” founded on jobs installing solar panels and other emissions-reducing endeavors. Today’s lucky car recipient gets the vehicle courtesy of a program directing cap-and-trade money to cleaner cars, which de León helped establish.

MAKE IT COUNTY: Gathered to discuss local priorities, California State Association of Counties members in Sacramento for their legislative conference will hear from Gov. Jerry Brown. Issues on county representatives’ agenda include coping with the drought and seeking more transportation funding, which Brown has gotten behind in principle.

CANNABUSINESS: Counties have been around a while. While Brown is addressing them, a newer player with a significant stake in this year’s bills will be holding a lobby day. The California Cannabis Industry Association will be bending ears, mindful of the Legislature considering multiple bills to regulate medical marijuana ahead of an expected legalization ballot initiative. Among the lawmakers scheduled to address them are Assemblymen Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Rob Bonta, whose pot bill is more in line with what the industry wants.

COPS IN THE COMMUNITY: Law enforcement’s interaction with the community has been under the microscope this year and produced bills dealing with issues like officer training, body cameras and police stop data collection. Today the Select Committee on Community and Law Enforcement Relations and Responsibilities will look at issues like police force diversity and community partnerships, with former cop Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, convening.

NOW YOU SEA THEM: A kangaroo, a kinkajou and an African-crested porcupine walk into the State Capitol. The punchline: SeaWorld’s animal ambassadors return today to Sacramento. The water park found itself at the center of one of last year’s highest-profile bills, legislation to ban orca shows and captive breeding that died in its first committee after a hearing that rivaled this year’s mandatory vaccination measure in the length and passion of testimony. It would be interesting to be a penguin on the wall when Sea World folks talk to lawmakers today.

TURN ‘EM OUT: Again visiting his old stomping grounds, Secretary of State Alex Padilla will be in the building today to talk to a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly elections committees about election innovations he observed in Colorado. Padilla has vowed to increase California’s miniscule voter turnout, getting behind automatic voter registration legislation. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in room 3191.

TRACK THE LEGISLATURE: What’s influencing lawmakers’ actions? A new data feature in our legislative directory at sacbee.com lets you see which interests are the biggest givers to every legislator. You’ll also find key political and census information about every legislative district, including unemployment and poverty rates.

Jeremy B. White: (916) 326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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