Capitol Alert

AM Alert: UC students arrive at the Capitol

UC students rally at Capitol over high price of California tuition

University of California students rally to protest the growing price tag for an education on lobby day at the Capitol on Monday, April 18, 2016 in Sacramento.
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University of California students rally to protest the growing price tag for an education on lobby day at the Capitol on Monday, April 18, 2016 in Sacramento.

Talk about timing.

Today is the University of California student lobby day at the Capitol. With the university system still mired in controversy, college students will gather to talk about a damning UC audit, campus food and housing, tuition increases and the university system’s growing price tag.

The lobby day falls less than a week after The Sacramento Bee reported that UC Davis paid consultants at least $175,000 to bury negative internet posts about the university’s notorious pepper-spraying debacle in 2011. The attempt to clean up the image of the university and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi backfired and instead rehashed the incident in the news and shined a new spotlight on the school’s questionable use of funds and its controversial leader.

Last week Assemblymen Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles; Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona; and Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, asked for Katehi to step down. Assembly members Luis Alejo, D-Salinas; Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego; Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento; and Evan Low, D-Campbell had previously called for the chancellor to relinquish her post after a story revealed her paid board positions.

Meanwhile, students ended a five-week sit in at the UC Davis administration building Friday, saying they succeeded in bringing attention to the “unethical behavior” of the school’s leaders.

Students and legislators will rally on the west steps of the Capitol at 11 a.m.

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CONSEQUENCES: Fracking is the process of blasting liquid deep into the earth, which forces gas to flow out of cracks in the ground. Studies suggest the practice, which is commonly used in California, can have negative health consequences on people living near drill sites, and lawmakers have stopped short of banning the practice. A coalition of health and environmental groups are hosting a panel discussion today to focus on the impact of fracking at Westminster Presbyterian Church on N Street. The two-hour discussion begins at 6:30 p.m.

SOCIAL WORKERS: About 1,400 social workers are expected to descend on the Capitol today for the industry’s 28th annual lobby day. Organizers say the workers will rally in support of Assembly Bill 2590 to overhaul the criminal sentencing system and Senate Bill 23, which would change the guidelines for family aid under CalWORKs. The group and several lawmakers plan to rally at 11 a.m. on the north steps of the Capitol.

NEVER FORGET: The Armenian Legislative Caucus will commemorate the Armenian genocide that took more than 1 million lives. This year marks the 101st anniversary of the attacks. The event will take place at 10:30 a.m. in room 500 of the Stanley Mosk Library & Courts on Capitol Mall. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and other legislators plan to attend.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who turns 69 today.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna