Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California candidates get some political schooling

Students tour the State Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. on Tuesday May 15, 2007.
Students tour the State Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. on Tuesday May 15, 2007. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

One of the distinguishing features of post term limits California is the preponderance of fresh faces at the Capitol – nearly two-thirds of current lawmakers have entered office since 2012 – and today the next wave of hopefuls will get pointers on how the system functions.

The latest installment of the nonprofit Leadership California Institute’s candidate forum will gather around 30 candidates at the Sterling Hotel for some advice on how to win a spot in the Legislature and manage once you get there. The list of participants includes Democrats and Republicans, most of them vying for one of the seats that will open when term limits force 15 sitting Assembly members out of their posts next year.

First they’ll hear from the interest groups whose cash and endorsements can buoy campaigns: a “how to ace a PAC interview” forum features a roster of heavy hitters like the California Association of Realtors, the California Medical Association and the Service Employees International Union.

Then comes a procession of former legislative leaders – emeritus Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and past Assembly speaker John A. Pérez on the Democratic side, former minority leaders Bill Leonard and Jim Brulte for the Republicans – before grizzled Assembly veterans James Gallagher, Lorena Gonzalez and Jim Cooper give some pointers on freshman year.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Human trafficking in California has increasingly become a target not just for California Attorney General Kamala Harris but for lawmakers, who since 2013 have run 16 bills on the issue. Today an Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing will examine the scope of the problem, with the head of a group representing “erotic services providers” scheduled to testify along with a representative of Harris’ office and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. Lawmakers will also hear about services available to help victims.

HEALTH PLANNING: California’s an early enthusiastic adoption of the federal healthcare overhaul has brought the insurance industry sweeping consequences that include around 12 million low-income residents getting Medi-Cal. The California Association of Health Plans, which disclosed spending over $400,000 in lobbying the first half of this year and engaged on legislation to limit out-of-network billing and the push for a new health plan tax, will be talking about the implications of that and other pressing issues during a conference in Palm Desert today. Attendees will hear from experts like Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee and former Department of Finance head Ana Matosantos.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Harris, who turns 51 today.