Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Down a leader, California moderate Democrats gather

In this July 5, 2012 file photo, Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, speaks before the Assembly at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.
In this July 5, 2012 file photo, Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, speaks before the Assembly at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. AP

The big political news of last week was the bombshell decision of moderate Democratic leader Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, to vacate his office a year before his term expires. We’ll get a better sense soon of who picks up the mantle Perea has laid down.

With Perea at the helm, Sacramento’s coalition of business-friendly Democrats has increasingly flexed its muscle in the Democratic power structure. Perea’s departure leaves the caucus without a de facto leader, but that looks likely to change by the end of a two-day retreat in Torrey Pines that kicks off in earnest today.

The annual confab should marshal around two dozen legislators and a plethora of representatives of various business groups, from energy to healthcare to telecommunications. In addition to rubbing elbows with the holders of business-related stakes, Democratic lawmakers are poised to choose who succeeds Perea. Stay tuned for details.

RU. BI. OOOOO: Today Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, becomes the latest Republican presidential candidate to make the traditional California money pilgrimage. He’s scheduled to appear this morning at the Sutter Club in Sacramento before heading to an evening cocktail hour in San Francisco and a Beverly Hills event on Wednesday.

CIVICS: Reversing California’s voter participation spiral has become a favored cause for a number of elected officials, as evidenced by a sweeping new motor voter law enacted this year. Today the Assembly Select Committee on Civic Engagement will explore what more can be done, drawing on an expert witness list that includes Republican consultant Mike Madrid, California Voter Foundation head Kim Alexander and James Schwab from the California Secretary of State’s office.

HAZARDOUS: Public health boon or regulatory menace? The debate over Proposition 65, which requires businesses to post warnings about carcinogenic chemicals present in their products, has flared up again as the World Health Organizations’ warning that processed meat increases the risk of cancer has meat producers wondering if bacon will need a warning label. Today an 11:30 a.m. briefing on the law in room 127 by the pro-Proposition 65 Center for Environmental Health, hosted by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, will draw upon speakers from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the California Labor Federation.

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