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Op-Ed: Lecturers
Capitol Watch
Resolution Summaries

Thomas Krabacher (Sacramento) ASCSU Senator and Legislative Specialist

2014 Legislative Landscape

The California State Legislature reconvened for the second year of its 2013-2014 legislative session in early January. The deadline for introducing proposed legislation for 2014 was February 21st, by which point close to 2500 bills had been introduced. Procedure requires that a bill cannot be heard in committee or amendments introduced until a minimum of 30 days have passed following its introduction. This has meant that committee hearings on most proposed legislation began in earnest in mid-March.

In its review of the proposed legislation, the Academic Senate’s Fiscal & Governmental Affairs Committee identified 29 bills it thought to be of interest to the Academic Senate based on their potential implications for the CSU, and recommended ASCSU positions (Support, Oppose, Watch/No Position) on each of them. These positions, with amendments, were adopted by the Academic Senate at its March 21st plenary meeting. They can be found at:

http://calstate.edu/acadsen/Records/Resolutions/2013-2014/documents/3165Attachment.pdf

ASCSU Legislative Priorities

Of the 29 bills reviewed, the Academic Senate adopted the following positions: Support: 10 bills, Oppose: 3 bills, and a stance of No Position/Watch on the remaining 16. Although bill language has changed in some cases through the amendment process, the ASCSU has not altered any of its positions to date.

Four of the 29 bills were singled out as of high priority to the ASCSU;

SB 850 (Block) California Community Colleges: baccalaureate degree pilot program
ASCSU Position: No Position/Watch

SB 1196 (Liu – D)Postsecondary education: state goals
ASCSU Position: No Position/Watch

AB 2092 (Chávez – R)Postsecondary education: common course-numbering system
ASCSU Position: Oppose

AB 2324 (Williams – D)Trustees of the California State University: faculty member of the board
ASCSU Position: Support

AB 2324 (Williams): This is the highest priority bill for ASCSU in 2014; it is also the first time the Academic Senate has taken the initiative in proposing legislation. The bill would allow the current Faculty Trustee to continue serving on the Board of Trustees after his/her term has expired until a new trustee has been appointed. The Academic Senate made this a top priority given that in recent years there have been times when the Faculty Trustee position has been vacant for extended periods. At the time of this writing, the bill has cleared both its committee hearings and is on its way to the full Assembly, where it is expected to pass without difficulty.

SB 850 (Block): This bill would allow California Community Colleges (CCC) to grant baccalaureate degrees under certain specified conditions.  Although the ASCSU chose not to oppose the bill at this time, it nonetheless has concerns over a number of its provisions. ASCSU representatives have been in regular communication with Senator Block’s staff over the past several months in an effort to address these concerns.

SB 1196 (Liu):  As a pre-condition for receiving General Fund support, the bill would require each of California’s three higher education segments to develop a five-year plan for meeting specified goals established as a result of 2013’s SB 195 (Liu). Because of the vagueness of current bill language (it doesn’t come up for a hearing until April 30th), the ASCSU has adopted a Watch position, given the potential implications of the performance-based funding model it proposes.

SB 2092 (Chávez): The bill originally proposed a common course-numbering system among California’s public and private higher education institutions.  At the time the ASCSU took an Opposed position in line with its past opposition to common course-numbering requirements. 

Recently, however, the bill language has been amended to alter the intent of the bill: it now focuses on the establishment of a CSU four- (or for some majors, five-) year baccalaureate degree guarantee for students meeting certain identified conditions.  Despite these changes, the ASCSU continues to hold its Opposed position in line with its past opposition to similar proposals.

Campaign for Higher Ed Budget Augmentation

Over the past two months the CSU has been aggressively campaigning among the legislators for a $95 million augmentation to the Governor’s proposed $142 million CSU 2014-15 budget. The argument is that while the Governor’s budget is a good start, it falls short of what the CSU needs to redress the effect of budget cuts in recent years, and what it needs to prepare for the enrollment challenges of the next 5-8 years.

The campaign is being coordinated by Karen Yelverton-Zamarripa in the CSU’s Office of Advocacy and Institutional Relations, and involves a wide range of CSU stakeholders, including the California State Student Assocation (CSSA), California Faculty Assocation (CFA), California State University Employees' Union (CSUEU), and representatives of the ASCSU.  The goal is to visit all legislative offices this spring and get as many as possible to commit to supporting the $95 million request.

You can monitor the process of any given bill and committee hearing schedules at either senate.ca.gov or assembly.ca.gov.