A decade after an end-of-session battle pitted some leading tribes with casinos against organized labor, look for more convivial discussions today at a legislative hearing on casino compacts recently negotiated by the Brown administration.
The Senate Governmental Organization Committee will hold an informational hearing on agreements with eight tribes, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in room 4203 at the Capitol. The agreements must be ratified by the Legislature to take effect.
An agreement with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, which runs Cache Creek Casino Resort in Yolo County, limits the number of slot machines it can operate to 3,500 and calls on the tribe to pay the state more than $33 million a year. Agreements with the the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians near Temecula, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs, which also will be reviewed today, have the support of a key casino workers union that opposed the tribes’ August 2006 pacts.
Representatives of the tribes, labor unions and governor’s office are scheduled to testify to the committee about each compact.
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BLOCK PARTY: Once a year Capitol staff members walk office-to-office gorging themselves on free food during an end-of-session block party meant to give workers a chance to meet one another and relax during the final weeks of session. The tradition traces its roots to the era of the late John Vasconcellos and expanded from a 4th-floor only event to the entire Capitol in 2006. Last year the office of Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, drew crowds with In-N-Out burgers and this year legislators promise dishes like Chandos Tacos, tri-tip sandwiches from Buckhorn Grill and Frank Fats banana cream pies. For those who enjoy themselves a little too much, stop by the “recovery office” hosted by Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, for antacids and ginger-ale. Bring your appetite to the staff-only event, which kicks off at noon.
WORTH REPEATING: “I accept full responsibility for my actions and lapse in judgment.” - Nathan Miller, who resigned as an aide to Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey after posting a photo of a hangman “ready for Hillary” on Twitter.
WASTEWATER: A coalition of health professionals, scientists, environmentalists and community members will deliver a petition with more than 350,000 signatures asking Gov. Jerry Brown to halt Kern County’s plans to irrigate crops with wastewater used in oil drilling. Led by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, the group says the practice is “untested and potentially dangerous” and chemicals used in oil operations are linked to cancer and other serious illnesses. A press conference begins on the north steps of the Capitol at 11 a.m.
PARTY TIME: Tonight marks Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 Party, a reception to unveil the most influential people in California politics. Capitol Weekly’s list excludes elected officials and last year included the likes of Anne Gust Brown, Nancy McFadden and Mary Nichols in the top spots. The party kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at the Sutter Club on 9th Street.
BY THE NUMBERS: How much amending is going on these days? A lot, legislative records show. During their first week back from summer recess, lawmakers amended 317 bills – 203 Assembly measures and 114 Senate bills. Try to keep up.