Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Assembly Republicans fire back on transportation funding

Construction workers fix a freeway in Sacramento in June 2014.
Construction workers fix a freeway in Sacramento in June 2014.

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olson, R-Modesto, and other members of the GOP caucus will speak at a press event Monday calling for Democrats to support the minority party’s transportation plan.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, has held a series of press conferences across the state in recent weeks to discuss transportation infrastructure. Republicans on Monday will “urge the Democrats to put the brakes on their political road show” and support the Republican transportation plan, they said in a statement.

Monday marks the 75th day of the special session convened by Gov. Jerry Brown to come up with funding for the billions of dollars worth of road repairs needed across the state. Democrats have proposed raising the gas tax but Republicans are uninterested in a tax hike, choosing instead to favor cap-and-trade money paid at the pump and weight fees charged on heavy vehicles.

The Republican plan promises to generate $6.6 billion annually for infrastructure funding without raising taxes. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed the plan Friday.

SCIENTIST SALARIES: Scientists employed by Cal-EPA, the Natural Resources Agency and the Health and Human Services Agency will hold a rally for higher pay Monday morning outside the CalHR building.

They say state scientists’ salaries lag compared to similar positions in local and federal government. Rita Hypnarowski, a senior environmental scientist at Cal/EPA, said about 200 are expected to attend the rally, which is not endorsed by the scientists’ union.

“We’re drawing attention to the fact that the government is not investing in science and scientists,” she said. “It’s not the kind of legacy that’s been laid out for environmental protection.”

CATHOLIC TALKS: The California Catholic Conference and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, will hold a discussion Monday on the recent Papal Encyclical on the environment.

Lawmakers and staff members have been invited to attend the “legislative dialogue,” which is hosted by de Leon and includes presentations by Catholic leaders such as Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto, president of the California Catholic Conference. The discussion will focus on Pope Francis’ environmental messages in his encyclical Laudato Si’ and their “urgent moral imperatives and valuable policy implications,” organizers said in a statement.

The event is closed to the public and press.

OVERDOSE AWARENESS: A national organization seeking to bring attention to the issue of opioid addiction will hold a rally Monday morning on the Capitol south steps.

About 100 people are expected to attend. Sacramento-area resident Sandra Chavez is organizing the event with the FED UP! Coalition, a group of people who have lost family members to opioid addictions or overdoses, to mark International Overdose Awareness Day. The rally is one of many across the country on Monday calling for federal responses, such as funding for treatment and prevention programs.

Jeanne Kuang: 916-321-1188, @jeannekuang