Legislative Update

View the legislative bills report here.

April 20, 2017

The State Capitol was bustling last week with numerous significant actions taken on issues of importance to California Community Colleges.

Assembly Budget Hearing on California Community Colleges

Up first, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance met on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, to review a number of Governor Jerry Brown’s 2017-18 Budget proposals for the California Community College (CCC) system. The subcommittee heard testimony from the Department of Finance, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and the CCC Chancellor’s Office on a number of issues including apportionment proposals, the Guided Pathways Program, the Online Education Initiative, the integrated library system, innovation awards, and an update on the process of Compton College regaining accreditation as a stand-alone college.

Although the Subcommittee did not take any action on the items discussed at the hearing, the hot topics seemed to be the Governor’s apportionment proposal and the Guided Pathways Program.

ACCCA’s State Budget priorities were shared in writing with the Subcommittee and voiced in testimony from ACCCA Advocate Michelle McKay Underwood, who focused on the issues of fully funding the CCC portion of the Proposition 98 split and providing additional resources, to the extent available, for base apportionments. The Subcommittee will await the May Revision before taking action on these CCC issues.

Assembly Higher Education Committee

Also on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, the Assembly Higher Education Committee, chaired by Assembly Member Jose Medina (D-Riverside), met to take action on nearly 30 bills. Of interest to ACCCA and passed out of committee included the following legislation:

  • Assembly Bill (AB) 343 (McCarty, D-Sacramento), which would extend the eligibility for California residence classification, for tuition/fee purposes only, to individuals having certain special immigrant visas or refugee status.
  • AB 568 (Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego), which would require the governing board of a community college or school district to provide at least six weeks of full paid leave of absence for an employee who is absent due to pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth, and recovery therefrom. ACCCA currently has an oppose position to this bill arguing that these types of benefits are best negotiated locally and that the bill has serious fiscal implications. The bill goes next to Assembly Education Committee since it also affects K-12 education.
  • AB 705 (Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks), which would require a community college district or college to maximize the probability that a student will enter and complete college-level coursework in math and English within a one-year time frame, utilizing high school coursework, self-reported grade point average, and grades or guided self-placement to assist in math and English placement in order to achieve this goal. The California Teachers Association is opposed to this bill.

Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security Committee

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee met to discuss a variety of bills including the three California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) divestment bills. Originally the committee was set to hear AB 946 (Ting, D-San Francisco), which would prohibit CalPERS and CalSTRS from making any new or additional investments in companies involved in the construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and require a liquidation of any investments within a year of the bill’s enactment, but the legislation was pulled off the agenda at the request of the author.

AB 20 (Kalra, D-San Jose) would require CalPERS and CalSTRS to submit a report to the Legislature and Governor regarding investments and engagement activities with companies constructing, or funding the construction, of the Dakota Access Pipeline. After rigorous debate on the purpose of the bill and the concern that it could lead to a divestment conversation, it passed out of the committee to the Appropriations Committee where it is likely to be subject to more scrutiny.

The amended version of AB 1597 (Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks) would prohibit CalPERS and CalSTRS from renewing or making additional investments in investment vehicles owned or issued by the Turkish government and would require a liquidation of assets within a year of passage of a federal law imposing sanctions on Turkey. Assembly Member Nazarian argued that this bill is consistent with past divestments from foreign countries such as Sudan and Iran, after federal sanctions were imposed. Nazarian said this bill is in response to the unwillingness of the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian genocide and even foster the teaching of genocide denial. The legislation passed out of committee relatively easily and will now head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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