Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Criminal charges for Bay Bridge lapses?

Gripping the steering wheel a little tighter when you cross the gleaming new Bay Bridge span these days?

Following a report saying critics of bridge construction lapses were silenced or exiled, Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, has hinted at the possibility of criminal charges. DeSaulnier will be airing some of the reasons for that explosive suggestion during a hearing of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee this afternoon.

Witnesses will include state officials like Brian P. Kelly of the California State Transportation Agency, California Department of Transportation director Malcolm Dougherty and chief bridge engineer Brian Maroney; executives from various construction and firms who were involved in building the new Bay Bridge span; and a group of engineering and seismic safety experts, some of them paid Caltrans consultants. The fireworks begin at 1:30 p.m. in room 4203 of the State Capitol.

VIDEO: Some partisan role reversals are making this gubernatorial election a strange one, Dan Walters says.

WOMEN’S ISSUES: In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court affirming the right to deny employees contraception coverage, members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus will hold an event highlighting how Sacramento is intent on preserving reproductive rights. Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, senators Holly Mitchell and Hannah-Beth Jackson and representatives of organizations like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice will highlight key bills at an 11 a.m. press conference.

SCHOOL SKILLS: Like other states across the country, California is working on rolling out new Common Core-aligned instructional standards. Today some prominent officials will be unveiling a separate set of guidelines aimed at making today’s students into tomorrow’s informed voters. After a year of studying civic education, the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning will relay its report to California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and others at the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building. Starting at 10:30 a.m.

ELDER CARE: Numerous bills this session seek to beef up regulations of homes for elderly Californians. When one requiring facilities to carry liability insurance came to the Assembly floor on Monday, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, was one of just two members voting no. Grove warned that excessive rules would hamstring smaller elder care businesses. Today representatives of so-called “six-bed facilities” will be rallying at the state Capitol with Grove on hand. Starting at 11 a.m. on the south steps.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, who turns 62 today.

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