Today the two houses of the Legislature held hearings to dispense with the “suspense file” in their respective Appropriations Committee. This is a mechanism whereby all bills with a potential state fiscal impact are prioritized and acted upon at the same hearing.
AB 48 (O’Donnell) – State School Bond
AB 48 (O’Donnell), the 2020 state school bond, was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee. However, instead of going to the Senate floor for consideration, the bill was sent to the Senate Rules Committee. At this time, we do not know the likely fate of the bill. The Assembly Appropriations Committee also passed SB 14 (Glazer), a bond bill for UC and CSU, to Assembly Rules Committee. The two bills are now part of the same policy conversation, as the Senate and Governor appear to be prioritizing a bond for UC and CSU.
The past two days have been a whirlwind. Assembly Member O’Donnell was planning to amend AB 48 in Appropriations Committee to specify $10 billion for K-12 and $3 billion for community colleges. We heard early yesterday morning that the Administration was proposing significant amendments to AB 48 at this very late hour, including $2 billion each for UC and CSU, and only $1 billion for community colleges. The Administration also proposed very significant changes to the K-12 program that were not supported by the major school organizations.
Because AB 48 is an urgency measure requiring a two-thirds vote, it is not subject to the same legislative deadlines as other measures. This means there is still time in the next two weeks to negotiate, reconcile differences, and move the bill forward for a vote in the Legislature, which has until September 13 to pass bills in 2019. Amendments are needed by September 10 to meet constitutional requirements. If reconciliation is not reached between now and September 13, negotiations will continue for a possible November 2020 measure.
We need your help! Please contact your legislators and ask them to urge Senate Pro Tem Atkins and Assembly Speaker Rendon to support AB 48, as proposed by Assembly Member O’Donnell.
Join CCFC in urging an equitable funding amount for community colleges.
Senate Pro Tem Atkins: (916) 651-4039
Assembly Speaker Rendon: (916) 319-2063
AB 302 (Berman) – Parking: Homeless Students
Another measure, AB 302 (Berman), was acted on today. Senate Appropriations Committee passed the bill with amendments to delay implementation and exempt facilities near elementary schools. AB 302 would require community colleges to allow homeless students to park overnight in campus parking facilities. CCFC is opposed to this bill for a variety of reasons related to personnel, safety, access to restrooms and other facilities, liability, and cost concerns. We should know more about the amendments by the middle of next week.
SB 268 (Wiener) – Elections Transparency
SB 268 (Wiener) also passed out of Assembly Appropriations Committee. CCFC is part of the large coalition of public agencies, labor, non-profits, and other organizations supporting the bill. SB 268 addresses the issues created by AB 195 (Obernolte), which was chaptered in 2017. AB 195 requires local bonds and other tax measures to state the rate, duration, and amount anticipated to be raised annually on the ballot label. It is very challenging to accurately provide this information for bonds, because these factors fluctuate annually. Placing this information on the ballot label creates voter confusion and ultimately makes it more difficult for some schools and other local agencies to bring local bonds and other tax measures before voters.
SB 268 provides a new option for local bonds and “tiered taxes” (i.e. tax measures with more than one rate, which is not an option available to schools) to provide important information to voters. In lieu of abiding by the requirements of AB 195, such measures could include the statement “See Voter Guide for tax rate information” on the 75-word ballot label, pointing voters to the tax rate statement for detailed cost information. This ballot label language was the compromise between the author, supporters, and the chair of Assembly Elections Committee. SB 268 also creates additional financial disclosures in the tax rate statement in the Voter Information Guide, such as a plain language description of why rates may change year to year.
The next few weeks will be full of excitement! Stay tuned as we race toward the final deadline. We will continue to provide updates on these and other bills of interest.
CCFC Legislative Advocate