Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Minimum wage bill heads to appropriations

A bill that would gradually raise the state minimum wage to $15 is scheduled for a vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee days after Gov. Jerry Brown, Democratic lawmakers and labor groups hammered out a deal.

The agreement would raise the minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour by 2022, possibly making California the first state in the nation to approve a $15 an hour wage.

The wage agreement was praised by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, UC Berkeley researchers are expected to release a report today on how the wage increase will affect workers and the state economy.

With the bill backed by Brown and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, it’s unlikely to encounter problems in a committee chaired by former labor leader Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego. If passed by the appropriations panel today, Senate Bill 3 could hit the Assembly floor by Thursday and serve as an early test of Rendon’s leadership.

YARD CRASHERS: In light of California’s water shortage, the state’s front yard is undergoing a drought-tolerant makeover.

The California Department of General Services plans to begin “large scale” changes to Capitol Park – replacing more than 76,000 square feet of grass with native plants that can withstand long dry spells – in the next few weeks. Among the more interesting aspects of the project is a $1.7 million budget proposal to build an irrigation system to funnel recycled water from the state’s nearby heating and cooling plant into the 44-acre park.

The state turned off the sprinklers at the park more than two years ago and said water usage was down by nearly 40 percent in 2015. Now DGS is seeking a more permanent solution and expects the upcoming changes to save 1.6 million gallons of water every year.

The plans will be unveiled today at 10:30 a.m. on the east steps of the Capitol.

EQUITY SUMMIT: Latino leaders will discuss environmental justice, higher education and other key issues affecting the community at a summit hosted by the Latino Community Foundation today at the Sheraton Grand on J Street. Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside, are among the scheduled speakers at the all-day event, which kicks off at 9:30 a.m.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro, who turns 64 today.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna

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