Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Crab industry woes grip California fisheries hearing

Fresh and alive Dungeness Crab.
Fresh and alive Dungeness Crab. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

Pity the California crab fisherman, who has had to contend this year with a toxic algae bloom that shuttered fisheries.

While south state crabbers have been cleared to resume hauling in crustaceans, the northern fisheries where crabs are most populous remain closed. The situation poses an “economic disaster,” Gov. Jerry Brown said this week in a letter to United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker seeking a federal disaster declaration that would trigger economic assistance for beleaguered communities.

A long list of scientists, fisheries managers and state officials will scuttle over to the Capitol today for a fisheries forum in which crabs promise to be the main subject. The Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture hearing kicks off at 10 a.m. in room 112. Testimony will come from California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird, California Department of Fish and Wildlife head Charlton Bonham and a range of fish experts.

PENSION INTENTION: Few issues are as politically charged as public retirement benefits. A measure to slim public pensions is off the ballot but the debate rages on, and people from all sides of the issue will lay out it out during a daylong conference at 1231 I Street. Planned speakers include California State Treasurer and possible gubernatorial candidate John Chiang, former San Jose mayor and leading pension critic Chuck Reed, Dave Low of the California School Employees Association and others representing local governments and labor.

YOUTH VOTE: Should 16-year-olds be able to influence the outcome of elections? In the case of school boards, some lawmakers say yes. Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez, Tony Thurmond and Rob Bonta will boost their constitutional amendment letting 16-year-olds vote in school board elections during a 9:30 a.m. rally with students and others on the west steps.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Gonzalez discusses the bill.

FOLLOW ALONG: Keep an eye on what your legislators are up to with our Track the Legislature feature.

THOSE KIDS: You might want to bring lunch from home today and tomorrow. Thousands of teen delegates from around the state will swarm Sacramento over the next few days for this year’s Model Legislature. Some will likely appear at the rally with Gonzalez, but many more will be waiting in line at your favorite coffee shop.

WOMEN’S CAUCUS AGENDA: Members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus will talk about their priority bills and budget items, which deal with areas like childcare, the gender pay gap, and workplace policies, during an 11 a.m. press conference in room 317 today.

ENERGETIC: Officials will be examining the effects of last year’s landmark climate change bill on multiple fronts today. The Assembly Select Committee On California's Clean Energy Economy will hold a hearing on the current energy efficiency of buildings, which would need to increase substantially under Senate Bill 350, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in room 437. The California Public Utilities Commission, meanwhile, will meet in San Francisco and start making rules around expanding the state’s renewable energy load.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, who turns 72 today, and to Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, who marks his 56th birthday.

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