Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Election sends lawmakers to Colorado, drama to San Francisco

A Sacramento man marks his ballot while voting in the California Primary, in Sacramento,Calif., Tuesday, June 3, 2014.
A Sacramento man marks his ballot while voting in the California Primary, in Sacramento,Calif., Tuesday, June 3, 2014. AP

Most California political consultants will be heaving sighs on this odd-year Election Day and dreaming of better business in 2016. Secretary of State Alex Padilla and some lawmakers will be looking to Colorado for clues on making 2016 a busier year at the polls.

As Padilla and allies push to lift California out of its turnout trench they’ve touted a Colorado-based model that would make voting as easy as possible by shifting to mail ballots and vastly increasing dropoff locations. It would hypothetically work in concert with a new law intended to register millions of new voters via the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Padilla will be chasing that dream in Denver today, where he’ll be observing the new system along with Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica and Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, and Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles. Padilla’s bill emulating Colorado stalled this year but could return in 2016 with the help of those legislators.

Back in California the election attention will be focused on San Francisco, where a slate of contentious housing-related propositions is headlined by a measure limiting short-term rentals like AirBNB. Given the tendency of San Francisco policies to get a hearing in Sacramento, where lawmakers have already looked at tightening restrictions on AirBNB and co, this one will be watched closely.

WINERS: We’ve all had the thought. “What does the drought mean for wine?” Today we’ll get some answers via a joint hearing of the Legislature’s two wine committees (yes, they exist) at Sonoma State University beginning at 2 p.m. Industry experts will be on hand to discuss enduring water scarcity, housing farmworkers and educating the next generation of viticulturalists.

TREEPLAY: Halloween season is over. Bring on the Christmas decorations! Today the tree that will tower over the Capitol this holiday season arrives at 10th street and Capitol Mall, completing its journey from a state forest in Northern California. Soon it will be festooned with decorations crafted by kids and adults with developmental disabilities. You may want to avert your eyes if the subject of tree-death disturbs you, as it does Gov. Jerry Brown.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert