Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Political Reform Act turns 40 amid burst of campaign finance changes

It’s been a big year for the Political Reform Act. A record-setting fine for a lobbyist who hosted fundraisers in his home and two state senators indicted on bribery charges prompted the Legislature to pass a series of bills strengthening California’s landmark campaign finance law.

Now the Political Reform Act is turning 40, and the Pacific McGeorge Capital Center, in conjunction with the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state’s political ethics watchdog agency, is celebrating its anniversary with a half-day symposium, starting at 9 a.m. at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

The event includes panels on the Political Reform Act’s past, present and future, featuring California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton and former FPPC Chair Karen Getman among others, as well as a keynote address from Trevor Potter, former chair of the Federal Elections Commission.

VIDEO: While lauded as an historic achievement, we won't know the impact of new groundwater regulations for decades to come, Dan Walters says.

WHERE IS MY MIND?: Few Californians realize that health insurance plans generally cover mental health treatment as well as other types of medical care. A new Field Poll found that only 38 percent of people are aware that the federal Affordable Care Act now requires most health insurance to cover mental health, alcohol and drug treatment benefits. Jim Miller has more in today’s paper. Here are the statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert, as well as the publicly released results of the poll.

TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN: 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.

FOLLOW THE LEADER: State and local government officials gather to discuss new approaches to solving persistent California problems involving water, funding, workforce development and climate change at the Governing California Leadership Forum, a two-day conference beginning at 9 a.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, are among those scheduled to participate.

JAGGED LITTLE PILL: Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, joins with the California Partnership for Access to Treatment and the California Biotechnology Foundation for a seminar about prescription drug plans on the state’s health insurance exchange, 11:30 a.m. at the UC Center Sacramento on K Street.

CELEBRATIONS: It’s a rare triple birthday today. Best wishes to Assembly members Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, who is 52, Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, who is 53, and Beth Gaines, R-Rocklin, who is 55.

READ MORE: California lawmakers post mixed record on political reform