Community College Facility Coalition (CCFC)
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Latest News

September 14, 2019

CCFC Legislative Update: Legislature Passes State School Bond Bill AB 48 and Elections Transparency Bill SB 268

AB 48 (O’Donnell) – State School Bond Bill

On Friday, September 13, 2019, both houses of the Legislature passed AB 48 (O’Donnell), the 2020 state school bond. The bill now goes to the Governor, who has until October 13 to sign or veto the bill.

AB 48 provides $15 billion for K-12 and college facilities:

  • $9 billion for K-12
  • $2 billion for community colleges
  • $2 billion for UC
  • $2 billion for CSU

AB 48 also:

  • Increases a community college district's bonding capacity from 2.5% to 4.0% of taxable property.
  • Establishes the requirement for an independent performance audit of community college capital outlay projects funded by the state bond. The governing board must hold at least one public hearing to solicit input from members of the public regarding a proposed state-funded project.

While CCFC worked with the author and other organizations to draft language providing more certainty on which projects would be funded, the final version of the bond did not include this specificity. It was cut during final negotiations between the Administration, Legislative leadership, and the bill’s author, Assembly Member O’Donnell.

For more on the negotiations and actions over the last week, click here to view CCFC’s prior update

SB 268 (Wiener) – Elections Transparency

On Friday, September 13, the Senate passed SB 268 (Wiener), which addresses the issues created by AB 195 (Obernolte, 2017). CCFC is part of a large coalition of public agencies, labor, non-profits, and other organizations supporting the bill. SB 268 will now go to the Governor, and he has until October 13 to sign or veto the bill.

AB 195 required 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 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. Initial polling suggests that this new option will improve some of the effects of AB 195. 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.

SB 268 also creates additional financial disclosures in the tax rate statement in the Voter Information Guide, including:

  • A plain language description of any mechanism that would cause the tax rate to vary over time.
  • A list of all tax rates that apply and how they will be imposed.
  • The duration of the tax and when it expires.
  • The best estimate from official sources of the average annual dollar amount to be collected over the first ten years following the initial levy.

 

Rebekah Cearley
CCFC Legislative Advocate