Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Transportation funding special session revs up

A Highway Maintenance Worker with the County of Sacramento's Dept. of Transportation, fills in potholes on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 on Keifer Road.
A Highway Maintenance Worker with the County of Sacramento's Dept. of Transportation, fills in potholes on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 on Keifer Road. lsterling@sacbee.com

You might not know it from the stream of lawmakers’ emails lauding which bills they got signed, but they departed Sacramento this September with a slate of unfinished business.

The special health and transportation funding sessions Gov. Jerry Brown convened so far have produced no deals (though a gambit to pass the assisted death bill via the health session worked). Republicans rejected Brown’s road repair funding proposal, whose GOP-friendly components, such as streamlining CEQA and using cap-and-trade money for roads, couldn’t overcome the minority party’s aversion to higher gas taxes and a new road fee.

Unlike the regular legislative session that ended on September 11, the special sessions have not technically ended. So today legislators return to the building for the latest round in the effort to hammer out a transportation funding deal.

California State Transportation Agency head Brian Kelly and the Department of Finance’s Keely Bosler will talk about the governor’s blueprint, which a representative from the Legislative Analyst’s Office will contrast with lawmakers’ ideas. Then comes the parade of interest groups – such as the League of California Cities, the State Building and Construction Trades Council and the California Alliance for Jobs (a coalition of construction unions and companies) – who have been lobbying for more funding. The rubber hits the road at 10 a.m. in room 4202.

FALLEN: Attorney General Kamala Harris will preside over a ceremony on Saturday honoring firefighters across the state who have died in the line of duty. Half of the 16 whose names will be added to the California Firefighters Memorial in Capitol Park have died in the last two years, a time that has seen especially vicious fire seasons.

BOXED IN: U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer will be holding a press conference in San Francisco this morning. We’ll fill you in if she breaks any news.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, who turns 58 tomorrow, and Assemblywoman Young Kim, R-Fullerton, who will be 53 on Sunday.

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