Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Bernie bus rolls to California’s Capitol

Behind in the delegate count, Sen. Bernie Sanders has no intention of conceding California.

Thousands of ardent supporters showed up to back the Democratic hopeful at a rally in Sacramento on Monday, demonstrating their unwavering support despite Sanders’ mathematically narrow route to the nomination (frontrunner Hillary Clinton is also making a big California push).

Today one of Sanders’ biggest institutional supporters will be flexing its muscle at the Capitol. National Nurses United came out early for Sanders, offering him the support of a 185,000-member labor group and millions of dollars in backing, and could be instrumental to his California showing. Previewed by billboards popping up around California’s highways, the union has dispatched its Bernie Bus into the Golden State in an effort to drum up support.

Having already stopped by Berkeley, the bus will roll into Sacramento today in support of a California Nurses Association rally on the west steps at 12:15. It’s not exclusively a presidential event. It’s also the nursing union’s lobby day, in which they’ll be backing bills to regulate hospital observation services and to curb “surgical smoke,” as well as supporting a ballot initiative aimed at holding down prescription drug prices that has attracted massive money:

FRESH TRACKS: If you like the graphic above, you can find all sorts of information on spending in ballot initiative and legislative campaigns using our shiny new feature, The Money Trail.

PROP. 30 REDUX: Speaking of ballot initiatives, the campaign for a big one launches today. Advocates of a higher tax on California’s top earners, first enacted via Proposition 30 back in 2012, will hold a kickoff event today at California Middle School in Sacramento. As with Proposition 30, it’s being championed by education groups and framed as a schools funding issue, so speakers at the 12:30 a.m. event will include California Teachers Association President Eric Heins and Joanne Waddell of the California Federation of Teachers. Other supporters on hand will include SEIU California State Council head Laphonza Butler and California Medical Association president-elect Dr. Ruth Haskins.

CROWDED LOBBY: The nurses aren’t the only one holding their lobby day today. The California Beer and Beverage Distributors, which has spent around $200,000 on lobbying since the start of 2015, will be treating folks to tacos and beer on the south steps. Industry representatives will also be pressing lawmakers about protecting their businesses and speaking against a bill dealing with tied-house exemptions during office visits.

Other groups voicing their agenda today include seniors-advocating groups like the AARP and the Congress of California Seniors, whose members will rally on the north steps at 10:30 a.m. for better funding for elder service; the American Legion, whose members will hear from California Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Vito Imbasciani, followed by an array of legislators; and the California Speech-Language-Hearing-Association, which represents speech pathologists and audiologists, will look for more awareness with a resolution to make May Better Hearing and Speech Month.

TRADE YOU: International commerce sent Gov. Jerry Brown to China in 2013, which Brown predicted would cause a multi-billion dollar investment windfall. The governor will continue to highlight the economic relationship between the two massive economies today when he speaks at a California-China Business Summit in Los Angeles this morning. Starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

COLLEGE SPORTS: Student-athlete seems like a suspect designation to critics who say collegiate players are focused more on goals than grades. Today Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will propose a plan to boost student athlete graduation rates to the University of California Board of Regents, gathered this week at the Sacramento Convention Center.

EDUCATE DEBATE: Education regulators continue to discuss how to ensure schools are spending money under the new Local Control Funding Formula in a way that benefits disadvantaged kids. School accountability is on the agenda again today for a State Board of Education meeting starting at 8:30 a.m., 1430 N Street. It has drawn the interest of education advocacy groups like Children Now and EdVoice, which has acted assertively in a Democrat-on-Democrat contest this year and sent a letter to the board urging them to use student growth data to evaluate schools.

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