Academic Senate

Capitol Watch


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This Month's Issue
Front Page
Message from the ASCSU Chair
Report of the Faculty Trustee
Reports from Standing Committees
Reports from Standing Committees

 Academic Affairs
 
Academic Preparation & 
   Education Programs 
 Faculty Affairs
 Fiscal and Governmental
   Affairs
General Education Advisory Committee (GEAC)
The California State University Emeriti and Retired Faculty Association (CSUERFA)
Capitol Watch
Senator Spotlight
Resolution Summaries
Mark Wheeler (San Diego)

ASCSU Legislative Priorities
At the March 2016 plenary, the ASCSU established its 2016 legislative priorities. Among the many bills introduced this session that bear on public higher education in California, the following were judged to be of primary concern:

Senate Bills:
SB 15 (Block-D) -
Postsecondary Education: Graduation Incentive Grant Program
The ASCSU decided to watch this bill. It would increase the total number of Cal Grant A and B awards from 22,500 to 30,000 annually. In addition, it would increase maximum tuition award for Cal Grant students at private nonprofit postsecondary institutions to $9,084 per annum.  The bill would also, beginning with the 2015/2016 academic year, establish a Competitive Grant Award to CSU students who demonstrate financial need and which would be allocated based on progress toward degree.  This would be funded by redirecting money currently allocated for the 2014’s Middle-Class Scholarship act.


SB 1445 (Hertzberg-D) -
Taxation
The ASCSU decided to support this bill in concept. It calls on the State to begin taxing services from companies generating $100,000 or more in sales per annum.  The monies generated would be used to modify personal income taxes and support education, local government, low-income families, and low wage small business employees.  In terms of education, the bill would allocate an additional $2 billion to the University of California (UC) and the CSU with these funds to be split evenly between the two systems.

The ASCSU supports the bill in concept. The funds are urgently needed, and the bill recognizes that we are in a service economy for which sales taxes should be collected. However, it is not clear that the service taxes generated by the bill would be sufficient to achieve an additional billion dollars in funding for the CSU. Moreover, the decision to divide the funds evenly between the CSU and UC may not be the most appropriate, given the different missions (and size of student enrollments) between them.

SB 1450 (Glazer) -
California Promise (4-year degree)
The ASCSU opposed the bill in its current form. It would establish a program that authorizes a campus of the CSU and the California Community Colleges (CCC) to enter into a pledge with a student who satisfies specified criteria to support the student in obtaining an associate degree within 2 academic years, or a baccalaureate degree within 4 academic years, of freshman admission. The bill would prohibit system-wide tuition charged to a CSU student who participates in a California Promise program for an academic year from exceeding the amount of tuition charged to the student for the academic year of the student’s freshman admission.  Compare to AB 2786.

Although the bill will likely be changed in committee, the Senate has a number of serious concerns. It would appear to disadvantage students whose socio-economic circumstances prevent them from taking a full course load each semester/quarter. It also locks students into a major early on in their career and interferes with students’ opportunity to explore different areas of study or change majors. By restricting the CSU’s ability to raise tuition, the bill limits the CSU’s ability to respond to budgetary changes.  In addition, it is unclear how many students would benefit from the program outlined in the bill, especially given existing priority enrollments and financial aid.

In conversation, Senator Glazer made it clear that he is primarily concerned with helping CSU students graduate in 4 years.  This seems to be the principle motive for the bill. Thus, the bill should be compared with AB 2786.

Assembly Bills:

AB 1582 (Allen) - Conflict of Interest/Textbook Royalties 
The ASCSU decided to watch this bill. It would require employees of public post-secondary educational institutions to disclose any compensation received, including royalties, resulting from the adoption of required course materials for coursework or instruction.  It is an extension of existing law, including the Political Reform Act of 1974: Conflict of Interest Codes. In its current form, the bill does not prohibit royalties; it merely requires their disclosure as an extension of existing law. The bill should be compared with AB 2214.

 

Despite adopting a “watch” position, reservations were expressed about the bill at the plenary. Among these, there is no obvious way for faculty to comply with the demands for information, and were they able to comply, it is unclear how the collected data would be used.

AB 1837 (Low) -
Creation of Office of Higher Education Performance and Accountability
The ASCSU decided to watch this bill. It would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to create the Office of Higher Education Performance and Accountability as the statewide postsecondary education coordination and planning entity.

Word around the capitol has it that the current Governor will never sign this bill. The California Post-Secondary Education Commission (CPEC) having been dissolved, the Governor seems unwilling to create another entity of its kind.

AB 1914 (Bonilla) -
Public Postsecondary Education:  Access Codes
The ASCSU decided to watch this bill. It would require the CSU trustees and the California Community Colleges (CCC) Board of Governors, and request of the University of California (UC) Regents, to adopt policies for their respective segments regarding when it is acceptable for a faculty members to require students to purchase an access code accompanying other course materials, as defined.

Amendments to this bill are in process. In conversation with some of the authors of the bill, it seems clear that the intent is to leave much of the decision-making to the campuses.

AB 2163 (Low) -
Appointment of Campus Presidents
The ASCSU decided to support this bill. It amends the Ed Code to require candidates for campus president positions to participate in at least one public forum on that campus after being formally and publicly designated by the trustees as a finalist for appointment as president of that campus.

ASCSU support for the bill reflects the position adopted by the 22 CSU campus senates that have called for open presidential searches.

AB 2210 (Harper) -
California State University: Student Success Fees
The ASCSU decided to watch this bill. It would increase the affirmative vote required for the imposition of a student success fee from a majority to two-thirds of the student body voting on that proposed fee.

 

The ASCSU is concerned to work closely with CSSA in evaluating the bill. As of the date this report was written, CSSA had not yet taken action on the bill.

AB 2214 (Harper) -
Postsecondary Education:  Faculty Royalty Income Disclosure
The ASCSU has decided to oppose this bill. The scope of the bill is broad—extending well beyond identifying potential conflicts of interest—and its justification is unclear. There is concern that it would license unnecessary intrusion into the privacy of faculty and may inappropriately limit academic freedom.

 

The bill would add to the Donahoe Higher Education Act a provision that requires faculty members to annually disclose, on or before April 15th 2017, and on or before April 15th of each year thereafter, all of the income he or she received in the immediately preceding calendar year from a publisher, periodical, or provider of online content for royalties, advances, consulting services, or for any other purpose. The bill would require that the information be available to the public on the Internet Web site of the institution at which the faculty members teach. The bill would authorize the trustees to require a faculty member who does not file the information required under this bill in a timely manner to pay an administrative fine of up to 25% of the unreported income or $5,000, whichever is smaller, as specified.  Compare to AB 1582.

 

AB 2419 (Jones) - The New University of California
The ASCSU decided to oppose this bill. The bill would establish The New University of California as a 4th segment of public postsecondary education in this state. The university would provide no instruction, but rather would issue credit and degrees to persons who pass its examinations. The bill would establish an 11-member Board of Trustees of The New University of California as the governing body of the university, and specify the membership and appointing authority for the board of trustees. The bill would provide for the appointment of a Chancellor of The New University of California as the chief executive officer of the university.  Note: previous bills calling for the creation of similar institutions have been introduced in prior legislative sessions and have gone nowhere.

The following concerns were raised. First, it would divert resources from the existing segments of California public higher education. Second, there are no provisions for quality control (assessing the integrity and quality of the degrees awarded). Third, it fails to recognize that there exist components of a university education that are not readily assessable by examination.

AB 2786 (Chávez) -
Public Postsecondary Baccalaureate Education:  4-yr degree
The ASCSU decided to watch this bill. It would require the Trustees of the California State University, and request the Regents of the University of California, to offer eligible students of their respective segments an agreement guaranteeing that a student who meets certain conditions may complete a baccalaureate degree within 4 academic years, with the exception of certain programs that may require up to 5 academic years to complete.

The ASCSU Fiscal and Governmental Affairs committee will monitors all of these bills as they move through the legislative process. We welcome your input.


In its top legislative priorities, the ASCSU also took positions on the bills it judged to be of secondary importance.  The ASCSU voted to support the following bills:

AB 1721 (Medina-D) -
Student Financial Aid: Cal Grant Program

AB 1778 (Quirk) -
Sexual Assault Training

The ASCSU voted to oppose:


AB 2352 (Rodriguez) -
Baccalaureate degree pilot program at Crafton Hills College

And the ASCSU will be watching the following bills:


SB 915 (Liu) -
Teacher recruitment: California Center on Teaching Careers

SB 933 (Allen) -
Teachers: California Teacher Corps Act of 2016: teacher residency programs

SB 1123 (Leyva) -
Pupil instruction: high school graduation requirements

SB 1412 (Block) -
CSU Investments

AB 1594 (McCarty) -
Non-Smoking/Non-Vaping Campuses

AB-1756 (Bonilla) -
Teacher credentialing: integrated programs of professional preparation

AB 2019 (Santiago) - State employees: salary adjustments: State Bargaining Unit 3

AB 2122 (McCarty) - California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program

AB 2156 (Levine) - Regional Workforce Coordination

AB 2248 (Holden) - Teacher credentialing: out-of-state

AB 2317 (Mullin) - California State University: Doctor of Audiology degrees

AB 2434 (Bonta) - Higher Education Policy: Improving Affordability, Accessibility, & Coordination

AB 2706 (Wilk) - Teachers: credentialing

The ASCSU will also monitor a number of so-called spot-bills - bills that are introduced without significant content but which may be amended to include significant content:


SB 1045 (McGuire) - Early Start

SB 1439 (Block) - Postsecondary Education:  Sexual Harassment Protection

AB 2137 (Santiago) - Postsecondary Education:  Student Transfer Process

AB 2132 (Baker) - Postsecondary Education


AB 2157 (Baker) - Postsecondary Education

AB 2386 (Garcia) - Postsecondary Education

AB 2646 (Mayes) - Postsecondary Education

AB 2681 (O’Donnell) - Postsecondary Education

AB 2850 (O’Donnell) - Postsecondary Education


An unusually large number of bills bearing on public higher education have been introduced during this legislative session. In addition to the bills discussed and listed above, members of the ASCSU Fiscal and Governmental Affairs committee and the ASCSU Legislative Specialist will continue to monitor all bills that may be amended in ways that may impact the CSU and, more generally, the systems of public higher education in California.

ASCSU Lobby Day

The ASCSU Lobby Day is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12th, 2016. Representatives from the ACSU will meet with legislators to pursue our legislative priorities (see the preceding section). We will also advocate on behalf of the CSU, urging legislators and the Governor’s office to increase funding for the CSU. If you would like to participate in the ASCSU Lobby Day, please speak with your campus ASCSU Senators.

In advance of the Governor’s revised budget plan, to be released in May, we encourage all of you to talk with your elected representatives to help them understand the need for increased state funding for the CSU. Thus far, as we move toward the May revision of the budget, there is no sign that the Governor will increase funding for higher education. The Governor’s current CSU budget proposal removes $25 million in one-time funds allocated as part of the 2015/2016 budget. It allocates an additional $148.3 million in ongoing funding as well as an additional $27 million for health benefits for CSU retirees.

The CSU Administration has requested $295 million from the legislature, including a 3% proposed increase for funded enrollment growth. In a resolution passed at the January plenary, the ASCSU urged the Board of Trustees to amend the proposed expenditure plan to provide a compensation pool increase for all employees substantially beyond the proposed two percent (2%) indicated.

If you need more information, please speak with your campus ASCSU Senators. The California Legislative Analyst has offered a useful analysis of the current budgetary situation, “California’s Fiscal Outlook”, which can be read here. An overview of the proposed budget for Higher Education can be read here.

Members of the ASCSU Fiscal and Governmental Affairs committee continuously monitor budget discussions and legislative activity. As the ASCSU legislative specialist, I am pleased to communicate with you.

Please feel free to write to me at mark.wheeler@sdsu.edu with any questions or concerns.

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