Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Wildfire readiness + LGBTQ advocacy day + Newsom’s first pardons

A 747 Global Airtanker makes a drop in front of advancing flames from a wildfire Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, in Lakeport, Calif. (Kent Porter /The Press Democrat via AP)
A 747 Global Airtanker makes a drop in front of advancing flames from a wildfire Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, in Lakeport, Calif. (Kent Porter /The Press Democrat via AP) AP file

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Are we prepared?

That’s the question Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management is poised to debate this morning during a wildfire preparation hearing.

The hearing follows one of the worst seasons in history, when nearly 100 people died and 1.6 million acres burned in the Camp and Woolsey Fires. California is still figuring out how best to tackle the billions in cleanup and rebuilding costs while also configuring mitigation efforts.

It’s a reality that some lawmakers have taken to calling “the new abnormal,” where wildfires aren’t only an ongoing reality, but getting worse each year. The future flames threaten to engulf not only California lands and kill the people who live on them, but they require detailed financial planning and ensuring emergency responders are capable of handling the disasters.

The joint committee said it will discuss the state’s preparation plans for the almost year-round fire season that threatens more than 25 million acres across California and 11 million residents.

Catch up — A small wildfire near Sugar Pine Reservoir in Placer County consumed 65 acres on Friday, joining smaller burnings in Butte County recorded so far this year.

“Our persistent threat of wildfire poses a significant risk to homes and businesses throughout the state,” said Democratic state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, who co-chairs the committee. “As we approach the next wildfire season, many Californians are wondering whether their community will be next and how to be prepared. This hearing is an opportunity for lawmakers and state agencies to discuss what is being done and how we can best protect our communities from one of the greatest threats facing our state today.”

The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in room 4202.


More than 200 LGBTQ advocates are kicking off their advocacy day at the Capitol today, a yearly event hosted by Equality California that is organized to urge lawmakers to sign off on the organization’s policy priorities. The organizers are holding a rally on the West Steps at 11:00 a.m.

The advocates are scheduled to meet with more than 100 legislative officers to highlight a list of bills that offer protections for LGBTQ Californians.

The proposals include Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s Assembly Bill 493, which requires schools to train teacher and staff on ways to support LGBTQ students. Equality California will also advocate on behalf of San Francisco Democrat Scott Wiener’s measure to protect gay individuals from unfairly ending up on sex offender registration lists, housing transgender inmates, reducing barriers to HIV medication and maintaining data that tracks preventable deaths in the LGBTQ community.


Gov. Gavin Newsom granted seven pardons on Monday, including two to Cambodian refugees facing deportation.

The other five pardons include one for possessing marijuana, a forgery crime, a DUI charge and two convictions for transporting or selling controlled substances.

Kang Hen, one of the Cambodian immigrants Newsom pardoned, was convicted in 1999 for grand theft and robbery. The other, Hay Hov, was convicted of solicitation to commit murder and gang involvement in 2001.

“By granting these pardons to people who are transforming their lives, the governor is seeking to remove barriers to employment and public service, restore civic rights and responsibilities and prevent unjust collateral consequences of conviction,” a press statement announcing the pardons read.

For your radar — The Sacramento Press Club is hosting a luncheon today at 11:30 a.m. at the Masonic Temple to honor students who received the annual scholarship awards. Edie Lambert of KCRA will also interview First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who is finishing her third film, “The Great American Lie.”

Additionally, the California Budget and Policy Center is hosting a webinar to cover the governor’s May budget revision. You can register for the event, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., here.


Happy Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

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Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.