Capitol Alert

AM Alert: A duel over guns as California initiative deadline looms

Among the gun control bills to be voted is a measure implementing background checks for ammunition purchases.
Among the gun control bills to be voted is a measure implementing background checks for ammunition purchases. The Sacramento Bee file

Just how big will the November ballot get? After today, we should finally have a sense. It’s the deadline for initiatives to qualify – 13 measures already have and another four are still pending verification of their signatures.

That puts the pressure on the Legislature, which has been trying over the past few weeks to get the proponents of two initiatives – a gun control proposal backed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a legislative transparency measure pushed by Republican megadonor Charles Munger Jr. – to pull them in favor of alternatives put forth by lawmakers.

Neither has shown much interest in playing along.

But the Senate and Assembly will attempt to force Newsom’s hand by taking up a dozen firearms bills during session this morning, passing them through both houses and immediately onto the governor’s desk for consideration. Several of the bills parallel provisions of the initiative, including one on background checks for ammunition purchases that – “shockingly, sickeningly,” as Newsom’s camp puts it – would actually override the language of the ballot measure.

The showdown with Munger, however, is all but over. While the Senate passed a constitutional amendment by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, to require that bills be in print for three days and impose other transparency rules, it does not appear to have the needed two-thirds support in the Assembly and is not expected to come up for a vote there today.

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POLITICAL DIVIDE: Step onto the red or green carpet and you might notice that women and minorities are vastly under-represented in the Legislature compared to the California population as a whole. It’s a problem that carries down through the entire political system, from voter turnout to supporting campaigns to contacting public officials. The Advancement Project and UC Riverside’s School of Public Policy have just completed a report examining racial disparities at all levels of political participation in California. They’ll present their findings during a briefing, co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and the California Legislative Black Caucus, 10:30 a.m. in the Room 127 of the Capitol.

CORPS PRINCIPLES: Created during Gov. Jerry Brown’s first term to be “a combination Jesuit seminary, Israeli kibbutz, and Marine Corps boot camp,” the California Conservation Corps turns 40 on July 7. The agency, which runs a year-long environmental work program for 18-to-25-year-olds, will celebrate the anniversary with an exhibition and ceremony, 11 a.m. on the west steps of the Capitol. Brown has been invited to speak. A documentary about the Corps premieres at 6:30 p.m. at the Crest Theatre on K Street.

THIRD PARTY: Not happy with the prospect of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president? Then Gary Johnson wants your vote. The former Republican governor of New Mexico is now running as a libertarian, and some national polls show him nearing the 15 percent he would need to earn a spot on the debate stage and mount a serious challenge to the major-party candidates. Johnson heads to the free market-loving Silicon Valley today in search of support, with a “fireside chat” at the Reboot politics and technology conference, 3:10 p.m. at the W Hotel in San Francisco.

WORTH REPEATING: “This California effort threatens to increase the burden on American taxpayers yet again.” – letter from nine California Republicans in Congress, on Obamacare for the undocumented.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff