Bill rallies have populated the Capitol steps for the last eight months, but the fast-approaching deadline to pass legislation has us down to our last handful of vote-swaying demonstrations. (Rallies urging Gov. Jerry Brown to sign or veto bills on his desk are a different story.)
Today's rally targets a labor-fracturing gut-and-amend that has unions lining up on both sides. Steelworkers have come out in force against Senate Bill 54, a State Building and Construction Trades Council-sponsored bill carried by Democratic Sen. Loni Hancock of Berkeley that would require a training baseline for outside contractors' employees working at hazardous refineries. The workers who get the stipulated level of training would also need to receive the industry-standard prevailing wage.
Hancock's office calls it a public health and safety guardrail, and the State Building and Construction Trades Council folks argue that it would stem an influx of underpaid, undertrained contract employees. (For what it's worth, the union's PAC gave Hancock's 2012 campaign $11,800.) Opponents -- including the United Steelworkers, the Western States Petroleum Association and the Associated Builders and Contractors of California -- warn that it would raise costs and displace workers. The critics make their case on the south steps today, starting at 10:30 a.m.
VIDEO: Dan Walters examines signs that California lawmakers are losing their motivation on gun control.
COMMEMORATION: Members of the Northern California Tea Party will be marking the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, starting at noon on the west steps today. With them will be actor and crooner Pat Boone, who plans to perform some music. Another 9/11 event will take place simultaneously at the Capitol Park Vietnam War Memorial.
COMMUNITY COLLEGE CHECK-IN: Brice Harris, chancellor of California's community college system, will provide an update during a phone briefing this afternoon on fall enrollment and how a windfall of Proposition 30 money is being spent.