Academic Senate

Reports from the Standing Committees:
Fiscal & Governmental Affairs (FGA)

Thomas Krabacher (Sacramento), Chair

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As noted in the past, spring is one of the busiest times of year, both in the California Legislature and for the Fiscal & Governmental Affairs (FGA) Committee.  As a result, FGA activity during the past two months has focused almost exclusively on two activities:  (1) identifying and monitoring 2016 legislation of potential interest to the Academic Senate, and (2) planning this year’s annual April ASCSU Advocacy Day in Sacramento.

Legislation monitoring 
On the legislative front, FGA followed the same approach it has adopted for the past two years.  Once the February deadline for the introduction of bills in the Legislature had passed, the Committee reviewed 105 bills dealing with the California State University (CSU) and/or higher education to pinpoint those of potential interest to the Academic Senate CSU.  From this list, 34 bills meriting Academic Senate CSU attention were identified.  The Committee then introduced a resolution at the Academic Senate’s March 2016 plenary meeting containing its recommended Senate positions on the bills.  The recommendations were adopted with modifications and they will guide Academic Senate CSU advocacy in this regard.  FGA and the ASCSU’s Legislative Specialist (Senator Mark Wheeler) are continuing to monitor the status of these bills, and others that may come to our attention, as they move through the legislative process.  The list of the ASCSU’s 2016 positions on bills of interest can be found here.

ASCSU Legislative Priorities 
Between the February 21st bill deadline and the ASCSU plenary on March 3rd-4th, the Fiscal & Governmental Affairs Committee will analyze any bills identified as of potential interest, single out those meriting continued monitoring by the Academic Senate, and recommend whether the Senate should adopt formal positions on the selected bills.  The Senate will act upon these recommendations in the form of an omnibus resolution at its March meeting.

Advocacy 
As this is being written, planning is underway for the ASCSU’s annual Advocacy Day in the Capitol on April 12th, 2016.  Members of both the FGA and the Extended Executive Committee will be participating and, by working in conjunction with the California State Student Association (CSSA), our teams will be joined again this year by CSU students as well; the presence of students proved a big success in last year’s advocacy efforts.  As in the past, we expect to visit between 35-45 legislative offices. Our goal this year is not only to target the Senate and Assembly  leadership and membership of key committees, but to also meet with legislators expected to be important in the future to the development of higher education policy.   Our primary messages will be threefold:  (1) support for the CSU’s request for an additional $101 million beyond the Governor’s proposed CSU support budget in order to fully fund the system’s 2016-2017 budget request, (2) the urgent need to improve tenure density in the CSU through increased faculty hiring in the tenure-tenure track ranks, and (3) recognition that investment in the CSU is an investment in California’s economic future.

Resolutions
The date for our Advocacy Day, April 12th, is the same day, the second Tuesday in April, a date that has worked well for us in past years.  This time around, however, the date promises to make our time in the Capitol a bit more complicated.  Currently, it is the day before the faculty strike is scheduled to begin and, should the strike occur, it is likely something legislators will want to raise with us as well.

Finally, in addition to the resolution on ASCSU legislative priorities, FGA brought forward a first reading resolution calling for a CSU evaluation of the efficacy of online instruction (AS-3250-16/FGA).   It will return for second reading at the May 2016 plenary.

For more information, please contact Fiscal & Governmental Affairs Committee ChairThomas Krabacher