Legislature Looks to Wrap up the 2019 Legislative Year
With hundreds of bills left to consider, legislative deal making and vote counting has been in full swing during the last week of the 2019 legislative year. Both houses took up measures addressing high profile issues such as employee status, rent caps, and student athlete compensation. The Legislature has until Friday, September 13, 2019, to pass bills to Governor Gavin Newsom for his consideration.
For community colleges, one outstanding issue that still needs to be approved by the Legislature before Friday’s deadline is Assembly Bill (AB) 48 (O’Donnell, D-Long Beach). AB 48 is the legislative vehicle that would put a K–16 construction bond on the 2020 primary election ballot. The bill was significantly amended this week after negotiations between the author, legislative leadership, and the Newsom Administration. ACCCA joined the Chancellor’s Office and several other community college stakeholders to call for a fair share of bond funding when it was rumored that California Community Colleges (CCCs) would receive only $1 billion of the bond funds. As amended, the bill would put a $15 billion bond on the 2020 March ballot with $9 billion for K–12, $2 billion for the CCCs, $2 billion for the California State University, and $2 billion for the University of California.
The bill increases local bonding capacity for community college districts from 2.5% to 4%. Additionally, for the community college bond program, funds may be used for:
- Construction on existing campuses, including the construction of buildings and the acquisition of related fixtures
- Construction of intersegmental facilities
- Renovation and reconstruction of facilities
- Site acquisition
- Equipping of new, renovated, or reconstructed facilities, which equipment shall have an average useful life of ten years
- Payment of preconstruction costs, including, but not limited to, preliminary plans and working drawings for facilities
In its annual request for bond funds, the CCC system will prioritize the seismic retrofitting needed to significantly reduce, in the judgment of the particular college, seismic hazards in buildings identified as a high priority by the college.
Since the amended version of the bill reflects a compromise between the Legislature and Governor Newsom, it is expected to be approved by the Legislature before the Friday deadline and then signed by Governor Newsom. Once the bill is approved by Governor Newsom, it will officially be eligible for the 2020 primary ballot.
Next week, we will provide a more detailed update of which community college measures survived the end-of-session deadline.