Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Plastic bag ban, groundwater regulation remain as legislative session wraps up

Friends, it seems as though we were just laughing about Coolio’s appearance at the back-to-session bash, and now it’s already the end of August.

After laudatory sendoffs for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, who are termed out at the end of the year, there’s only one thing left for the Legislature do this session: its work.

Expect today to be a long one, as lawmakers try to push through all of their remaining bills so they can head home and campaign for re-election. Three amendments to the Political Reform Act – including requirements to disclose donors on political ads, report travel destinations on gift forms and file quarterly, rather than semiannual, campaign finance reports – are not eligible to be taken up until Saturday, so the Senate and Assembly could keep going past midnight to avoid coming back this weekend to finish.

Among the big remaining battles to watch out for as Sunday’s deadline to pass legislation looms ever closer: a bill that would authorize regulation of California’s diminishing groundwater supply, a historic change that is strongly opposed by Republicans, and the plastic bag ban, which has been grabbing headlines all session long. While support for the bill has ebbed and flowed almost hour-by-hour over the last couple of days, it once again appears to be headed for the governor's desk.

VIDEO: You would think California lawmakers all love each other after Thursday’s fawning farewells for departing leaders, Dan Walters says.

SHE WORKS HARD FOR THE MONEY: 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.

DANGER ZONE: It’s been a troubled year for the state Senate, and with last week’s latest misadventure, the arrest rate in the Legislature’s upper house is now higher than in all of California’s largest cities. The Bee’s Phillip Reese has more on that startling statistic.

NEW JOBS: Congratulations to Jessica Ng and Lindsey Nitta, who recently joined Mercury Public Affairs. Ng previously served as campaign press secretary for Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari. Nitta is the former vice president of the California Forestry Association.