Capitol Alert

AM Alert: How should California name its highways?

It’s a legislative tradition for last-minute policy proposals to crop up in the final weeks of session through the gut-and-amend process, but so far the bills that have emerged are more curious than scintillating.

Take SB 792 from state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, which would shift the power of establishing naming rights for California’s state highways from the Legislature to Caltrans. Instead of introducing naming resolutions, lawmakers would make their pitches directly to the transportation agency, which would determine whether the individual to be honored meets certain requirements – having made an exemplary contribution to the public good, for example, and most importantly, that they’re deceased.

DeSaulnier told Capitol Alert that the bill is an effort to make the process less political. The Legislature often faces requests to make exceptions for living politicians.

“We get a lot of pressure to change the rules,” he said. “There are a lot of unique requests, but hopefully it will make it more objective if Caltrans and the administration are doing it."

Does the bill stem from last year’s debate over naming the Bay Bridge’s western span after former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, who is still very much alive?

"Nah, it's a combination,” DeSaulnier said. “There are just a lot of them."

VIDEO: California’s battle over regulating ridesharing services is part of a national war, Dan Walters says.

CAN’T BUY ME LOVE: Who’s raking in the campaign cash as election season heats up? The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert Insider Edition app has got you covered. Our new interactive campaign finance tool is updated daily with contribution filings and independent expenditures, as well as running lists of the top donors, recipients, independent expenditure contests and committees. The Insider Edition app is available for download in the iTunes and Google Play stores for mobile and tablet devices.

TAKE IT AWAY: Though some of California’s tough gun control laws have faced successful legal challenges in recent months, the state is still considering new protections in the wake of the mass killing near UC Santa Barbara in May. The fathers of two of the victims will join legislators at 9:30 a.m. outside the east entrance of the Capitol to show support for AB 1014, a proposal allowing family members or law enforcement to petition a court to remove firearms from someone they believe poses potential harm to themselves or others. The bill’s authors, Assembly members Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, are also scheduled to attend.

SET ME FREE: In trials where a prosecutor intentionally conceals evidence that could prove the innocence of a defendant, the court would be allowed to inform the jury of that fact under a bill from Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco. Ammiano will join with Obie Anthony, whose robbery and murder charges were overturned after 17 years in prison, to promote AB 885, 9:30 a.m. in Room 3146 of the Capitol.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to state Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, who turns 61 today.

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