The Sacramento Bee
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AM Alert: GOP presidential hopeful Fred Karger in Sacramento

VIDEO: Dan Walters, in today's video report, says that if California grows more slowly than originally thought, that could change everything.

Sacramento hears from one of the Republican presidential candidates this afternoon: Californian Fred Karger. The long-shot hopeful, who's had a "Fred Who?" thing going, is officially launching his California primary campaign on the Capitol's south steps at 2 p.m.

The only openly gay candidate in the GOP presidential primary, Karger edged out Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann in New Hampshire and racked up 1,700 votes in Puerto Rico . His California campaign has launched a video ad called "Sexy Frisbee," which features scantily clad men and women throwing plastic discs around on a beach.

The campaign says it will start airing a 30-second version Thursday in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

Under the dome, an Assembly panel hears from the state parks director, Ruth Coleman, about park closures while representatives of the Legislative Analyst's Office offer recommendations on how to avoid closing them.

The hearing will also feature testimony from Natural Resources Secretary John Laird on reorganization within the agency, as well as an update from Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols on the cap-and-trade program. The meeting runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Capitol's Room 447. Click here to read the agenda.

On the Senate side, the Rules Committee considers gubernatorial appointments, with Fred Klass, director of the Department of General Services, Ken Pimlott, director of CalFire, and Tonya Hoover, state fire marshal, required to appear. That hearing starts at 1:30 p.m. in Room 113.

Those are by no means the only committee hearings. The list is long. Other Assembly budget subcommittees, for instance, will consider proposals for agencies ranging from the California Highway Patrol to the board of the California Community Colleges as well as the Department of Public Health. Check out the Senate's daily file here, and the Assembly's here.

LIVE CHAT: Got a question about this year's primary and general elections? Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party, and Shawnda Westly, executive director of the California Democratic Party, are joining The Bee's live chat today. Watch the chat and ask questions from noon to 1 p.m. at Bee Live - The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, California. Torey Van Oot will moderate.

DENIM DAY: The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault marks its annual Denim Day California, an annual event sparked by an Italian Supreme Court decision to overturn a rape conviction based on the woman's tight jeans. The event starts at 10 a.m. on the Capitol's west steps. The cause has bipartisan appeal. Listed participants include Republican Sen. Doug LaMalfa and Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, as well as Democratic Assembly members Bonnie Lowenthal, Roger Dickinson, V. Manuel Pérez, Bob Wieckowski and Das Williams, and Republican Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian .

LOBBY DAY: The American Heart Association meets at 10 a.m. under the tent on the north lawn to talk up Assembly Bill 1731 on infant screenings for heart defects, as well as Proposition 29's tobacco tax campaign. Listed speakers include Democratic Assemblymen Marty Block and Bill Monning.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, turns 54 today.