Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Getting down to business in Southern California

“California’s business climate” is a phrase like “job-killer” or “investing in our future,” one that corresponds to reality but achieves its greatest resonance as political rhetoric. Today we’ll get a better look at the intersection of politics and California’s economy, complete with the business community’s point of view, with the latest installment of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association’s business forecast conference, held in Burbank.

Panels at the daylong event will touch on a wide range of topics that will include, cap-and-trade, consumer privacy, the ongoing health care overhaul and policy emanating from California judges. A talk on what November elections mean for business will feature Dan Schnur, the former secretary of state candidate now safely re-installed at the University of Southern California, and The Bee’s crack gubernatorial reporter David Siders. Bee columnist Dan Walters will join California politics reporter John Myers and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, for a “What Were They Thinking” talk touching on a scandal-scarred couple of years.

Speaking of shameless plugs for reporters: a Sacramento State University conference on California’s transportation infrastructure will also include the presentation of the California Journalism Awards. You can check out a list of the worthy nominees, including a few McClatchy employees, here.

VIDEO: Dan Walters offers a preview of his talk today, discussing how the failure of an ethics package was nevertheless a win-win for the lawmakers who sponsored it.

LICENSE TO DRIVE: The fate of California’s law offering driver’s licenses to immigrants here illegally was thrown into limbo by the federal government rejecting California’s proposed license design, but some tweaks making the new licenses distinct from those offered to legal residents have the feds back on board and California back on track to offer the licenses by January. Lawmakers are urging constituents to get ready. Today the license bill’s author, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, will be talking about what to expect during a morning event in San Jose. A similar event will be taking place in Los Angeles.

PLAYOFF PAYOFF: Baseball playoffs are in full swing. Do you have tickets? If you’re part of a select set of lucky lobbyists, the answer is yes: two Los Angeles-area lawmakers, Jimmy Gomez and Adrin Nazarian, are holding fundraisers in Chavez Ravine for the National League Division Series pitting the Dodgers against the St. Louis Cardinals. The governor vetoed a bill that would have prohibited lobbyists gifting baseball and concert tickets to lawmakers, but that wasn’t aimed at fundraisers.

KICKIN’ IT: That commotion you’ll hear on the Capitol Steps at noon is Sacramento Republic FC players and supporters celebrating their championship victory with a parade set to include a speech from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. Hopefully, the soccer stars and Major League Soccer hopefuls are more gentle with the State Capitol than with their trophy.

VETERAN EDUCATION: Buried in the stack of bill-signing news these last couple of weeks was Gov. Jerry Brown OKing a measure clarifying that all U.S. veterans qualify for in-state tuition in California. The legislation conforms California to a recent federal charge seeking to expand college access for vets. The topic may come up during a conference on public higher education for veterans, hosted by the California Department of Veterans Affairs, at Irvine Valley College this morning.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, who turns 62 on Saturday.