Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Tom Steyer, legislative leaders discuss California’s climate future

The Valero refinery in Benicia emits smoke on June 5, 2014.
The Valero refinery in Benicia emits smoke on June 5, 2014.

California’s legislative leadership joins billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer for a forum on climate change in Oakland today, hosted by his political advocacy group NextGen Climate America.

The California Climate Leadership Forum, starting at 1 p.m. at the Kaiser Center, will focus on the state’s climate policy and its impact on local communities, as well as new approaches to addressing climate change. State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins will deliver keynote addresses, as will Steyer, a big political player who spent $30 million in 2012 to help pass an energy conservation measure, Proposition 39.

California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols, Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, are also slated for a panel discussion on the future of climate law in California. The state’s groundbreaking cap-and-trade program, created by the 2006 law meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has come under fire this year as it prepares to expand next month to cover oil and gas.

VIDEO: Will Californians get to vote on the state’s plastic bag ban? Dan Walters discusses efforts to overturn the new law.

MAKE THE GRADE: The California School Boards Association is hosting its annual education conference and trade show in San Francisco this week. The three-day event includes workshops aimed at helping local school districts and county education offices improve student achievement, as well as talks by former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord.

DECK THE HALLS: If you’re looking for a musical diversion at lunchtime, the Capitol holiday concert series continues today with performances by the Sacramento Capitolaires at 11 a.m. and the John Adams Academy Vocal Ensembles at noon in the rotunda.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to new state Sen. Pat Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, who turns 75 today, as well as to former Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, who is 73, and California Democratic Party Chair John Burton, who is 82. A belated well wishes to Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, who turned 72 on Saturday.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.