Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Reproductive health advocates show California clout

Now-Rep. Ami Bera, left, talks with Kelley Rees, a volunteer with Planned Parenthood, during a press conference on women's health issues on Tuesday, October 30, 2012.
Now-Rep. Ami Bera, left, talks with Kelley Rees, a volunteer with Planned Parenthood, during a press conference on women's health issues on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. lsterling@sacbee.com

California politics can be a singular beast. When many states in the nation are heading in one policy direction, the Golden State’s lawmakers are often striding the other way.

So it is with abortion access. Republican-controlled states are restricting women’s reproductive health options, but California remains a champion of pro-choice policies. Last session Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill enabling more medical professionals to perform certain abortions, and this year lawmakers are advancing legislation clamping down on “crisis pregnancy centers” they say seek to dissuade women from seeking abortions.

For another sign of the Legislature’s receptiveness, look no further than the agenda for Planned Parenthood’s advocacy day today. Both legislative leaders will be addressing the event, with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles talking to a gathering at the Sheraton Grand and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who ran women’s health clinics in San Diego, addressing an afternoon rally on the west steps expected to draw numerous other legislators.

Planned Parenthood members will be advocating for higher Medi-Cal rates, a huge budget push for medical groups and for labor, and for a sex ed bill that just cleared the Assembly floor on a party-line vote.

THE COUNT: Budget negotiations are still keeping members busy, but things have cooled down legislatively now that last week’s House of Origin deadlines have passed. The final score from the all-day floor session marathons: 203 measures passed in the Senate, including bills legalizing assisted death, boosting the minimum wage and giving undocumented immigrants healthcare – while the Assembly advanced 407, including a measure to regulate medical cannabis but not a bill giving workers more notice about their shifts. And big climate change bills passed in both houses.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, who turns 62 today.

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

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