Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Sharon Runner memorialized by Senate colleagues

Flowers sit on the desk of Republican state Sen. Sharon Runner, who died at her home in Lancaster on July 14 following respiratory complications.
Flowers sit on the desk of Republican state Sen. Sharon Runner, who died at her home in Lancaster on July 14 following respiratory complications. The Associated Press

The Legislature was on summer recess last month when it lost one of its own, so lawmakers will bid farewell today to the late state Sen. Sharon Runner.

The Lancaster Republican, who helped build a family political dynasty in the Antelope Valley when she followed her husband into the Legislature in 2002, died of respiratory complications on July 14 at the age of 62. Through six years in the Assembly and two brief stints in the Senate interrupted by treatment for the rare autoimmune disorder scleroderma, she sponsored Jessica’s Law, the successful 2006 initiative that tightened restrictions on sex offenders, and developed a reputation as the “funner Runner.”

The Senate will celebrate her life and legislative service during floor session at 1 p.m., followed by a reception in the Eureka Room of the Capitol. A resolution to rename a portion of Route 14 in Lancaster as the Senator Sharon Runner Memorial Highway is pending.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: A local clinic is offering free back-to-school shots to comply with the new mandatory vaccines law.

BY THE NUMBERS: It takes a hefty bank account to spend a million clams on California campaigns. But three-dozen drug companies, health plans, wealthy individuals and others could make that claim for the first six months of 2016, according to major donor reports filed with the state last week. Topping the list – drumroll? – was Charles Munger Jr., who reported more than $9.75 million in political payments through June 30. Other top major donors included Dignity Health ($8.5 million), Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. ($6.7 million), and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation ($6.2 million), the sponsor of propositions 60 and 61 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

GREATEST LOVE OF ALL: California believes the children are our future. The Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color will hear a “youth progress report” at 10 a.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol. Meanwhile, the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls will meet in Room 2040 at 11 a.m. to discuss, among other business, establishing a state branch of the Million Women Mentors program encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, math and engineering.

ELECTION WATCH: The ballot measure campaign to extend higher income taxes on wealthy residents has received some sizable donations lately. Last Thursday, the yes-on-55 campaign reported another $12.5 million from the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. That brings to $33.5 million the group's support for Proposition 55, which, besides education, would direct more money to health programs.

STEP BY STEP: The federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates that food compromises a fifth of our waste stream, more than any other single material that reaches landfills or incinerators, so it’s targeting a 50 percent reduction in food loss and waste by 2030. On that issue, California is already making itself a leader, which is perhaps why it will host the EPA’s first Pacific Southwest Food Recovery Summit, focusing on issues like measuring food waste and rescuing food to feed those in need, 10:15 a.m. at the Doubletree Sacramento on Point West Way.

WORTH REPEATING: “They’re pretty much stuck in a hole forever.” - Mike Herald of the Western Center on Law and Poverty, on the inability of poor people to pay high-cost traffic tickets. The group and others have demanded that the DMV stop suspending licenses for failure to pay.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff. Jim Miller of The Bee Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.