Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Mexican president’s visit stirs up controversy over jailed U.S. Marine

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto wraps up his two-day tour of California in Sacramento today, where he’ll attend a noon luncheon at the Stanford Mansion hosted by Gov. Jerry Brown and address a joint session of the Legislature at 2:45 p.m. in the Assembly chamber.

The visit won’t be without at least some drama, tied to the March arrest of Marine reservist Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who crossed into Mexico carrying three firearms and is now being held in a Tijuana prison on weapons charges.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who rallied for Tahmooressi during his unsuccessful run for governor this spring, plans to lead a protest outside the Stanford Mansion during Peña Nieto’s luncheon, demanding the jailed Marine’s release.

Last week, the Twin Peaks Republican wrote Brown a letter expressing “my deep disappointment that you would entertain the President of a nation that is holding an active-duty US Marine captive.” He also slammed Brown for not visiting Tahmooressi during a July trade trip to Mexico. “Instead of negotiating the release of an American Marine, you negotiated the terms of the surrender of our sovereignty,” Donnelly wrote.

Other lawmakers, including state Sen. Joel Anderson, also plan to boycott the event. “I do not have an appetite for foreign officials who deny US citizens their basic human rights,” the Alpine Republican said in a statement.

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ASK ASHLEY: Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has been laying low since the June primary election that left her November opponent in the race for state controller undetermined for more than a month. Now the Capitol community will get their first opportunity to meet the candidate that some consider the Republican with the best chance to win statewide office this November. Swearengin will appear before the Sacramento Press Club, 11:30 a.m. at the Capitol Plaza Ballroom on 9th Street. Place your bets on which infamous Fresno moment she swings back at first: Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari’s homeless week or Sen. Kevin de León’s “out there in the tumbleweeds” comment.

OPEN SEASON: In 2009, amendments were added to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act to clarify when members of state boards and commissions are not allowed to discuss business outside of public meetings. Responding to concerns that the changes have severely hampered some state agencies and in fact decreased transparency, the Little Hoover Commission will hold an oversight hearing on the amendments, 9:30 a.m. in Room 437 of the Capitol.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?: Should soldiers who returned home from the Vietnam War, only to die from wounds they sustained abroad, be included on the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial? For the state’s veteran community, the answer is not so easy. The Vietnam Memorial Name Committee continues its discussion of the parameters that should be used for adding names to the memorial under a new state law, 10 a.m. at the Department of Veterans Affairs on O Street.

READ MORE: Another U.S. Marine shackled in Mexican prison on gun charges

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