Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Appropriations committees take up plastic bag ban, hundreds more bills

With a Friday deadline for fiscal committees to report bills to the floor, appropriations committees in the state Senate and Assembly will churn through lengthy suspense files today. The Senate has more than 300 items to get through, while the Assembly has almost 150 on the docket. Everything from pet lovers’ license plates to epinephrin autoinjectors are up for consideration.

Among the most high-profile measures, though, is the proposed plastic bag ban. It faces its first major hurdle in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and its prospects are increasingly murky amid opponents’ intensifying efforts to block the measure. Rumored tensions between co-author Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, and committee chairman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, also could play into what is expected to be a very close vote, as Dan Walters noted earlier this week.

De León, meanwhile, has criticized Gatto’s effort to extend California’s movie tax credit, an important piece of legislation for many Southern California lawmakers amid fears that film productions are fleeing the state. That bill is headed for its own vote today in the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is chaired by none other than De León. Hollywood couldn’t have scripted it better.

Other significant bills to watch today: guaranteed paid sick days for workers, a requirement for porn performers to wear condoms, a school construction bond for the November ballot, a change in how business properties are reassessed for tax purposes, and stricter disclosure of contributors on political advertisements.

VIDEO: Dan Walters ponders how the state Senate will bid farewell to suspended Sens. Leland Yee and Ron Calderon.

WINNER’S CIRCLE: California Chrome fell short of winning the Triple Crown in June, but the thoroughbred from the Central Valley became a state hero after his spectacular victories in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes this year. State Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, will honor those accomplishments by presenting a resolution to the horse’s co-owners, Steve and Caroline Coburn and Perry and Denise Martin, 9 a.m. on the Senate floor.

LUCKY DRAW: Will it be Brown above Kashkari or Kashkari above Brown at the top of the November ballot? The state holds its randomized alphabet drawing to determine the order of candidates’ names at 11 a.m. in the Secretary of State’s Office on 11th Street.

CURRENCY EVENTS: Still puzzled by how exactly Bitcoin works? You are not alone. Bill Maurer, dean of the school of social sciences at UC Irvine, may provide the guidance you need as he discusses the buzzy “cyptocurrency” and its implications for money and public policy, noon at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

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