Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Cardrooms set up shop on the Capitol steps

Politics are serious business, especially when there’s money on the line. The perpetual wrangling over gambling laws in California is a testament to that.

As efforts to legalize Internet poker once again stall and opponents of Indian gaming take preemptive strikes to limit its expansion in the state, cardrooms are making their own push for a bigger piece of the pie.

Last year, the trade group Communities for California Cardrooms formed to make the case that they are vital engines of their local economies. Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown was even hired on as a political consultant.

Their latest appeal comes in the form of a mock cardroom for legislators and staffers on the north steps of the Capitol. The event, featuring blackjack tables and tacos, runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cardrooms in Sacramento have recently faced tougher scrutiny as the city has debated changing its oversight of the clubs.

VIDEO: The California Supreme Court made the right call in booting an advisory measure about campaign finance off the November ballot, Dan Walters says.

BYE BYE BYE: The state Senate will take time during floor session today to recognize nine “retiring” senators who likely won’t be back next year: President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sens. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, and Mark Wyland, R-Solana Beach, are all termed out; Sens. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and Norma Torres, D-Pomona, are running for Congress; and Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, is not running for reelection. No such laurels for suspended state Sens. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, and Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who are also termed out this session.

SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME: As the severe drought conditions in California continue to worsen, lawmakers are weighing legislation that would authorize local and regional regulation of groundwater, a historic shift in state water law. One of two bills addressing this issue, SB 1168 from Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, is scheduled to be heard today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which will meet in Room 4202 of the Capitol upon the call of the chair.

TAKE IT OFF: Though it remains a major priority for organized labor this session, a proposal to guarantee paid sick days for workers is strongly opposed by business interests and faces a tough fight to become law in the weeks ahead. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who is sponsoring the bill, will hold a hearing in San Jose this morning to highlight local need for the protections.

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