Thomas Krabacher (Sacramento)
2013 Legislative Wrap-Up
The ASCSU’s Fiscal & Governmental Affairs Committee identified 38 bills and two concurrent resolutions as being of interest to the Academic Senate during 2013 because of their potential impact on California higher education in general and the CSU in particular. The ASCSU took a position on seven of these, which it identified as being of particular importance. Their ultimate disposition was as follows:
AB 67 (Gorell) – Tuition Freeze for Duration of Prop 30
(ASCSU opposed) – bill was withdrawn
AB 386 (Levine) – Online Concurrent Enrollment
(ASCSU supported) – signed into law
AB 387 (Levine)– Online Concurrent Enrollment
(ASCSU supported) – bill withdrawn
SB 58 (Canella) – Tuition Freeze for Duration of Prop 30
(ASCSU opposed) – bill was withdrawn
SB 241 (Evans) – Oil Severance Tax to Support Higher Education
(ASCSU supported) – bill died in committee
SB 440 (Padilla) – SB 1440 Implementation
(ASCSU initially opposed, then neutral) – signed into law
SB 547 (Block) – Transferable Online Course Development
(ASCSU supported) – bill was withdrawn
SB 520 (Steinberg) – Creation of Partnerships in Online Course Development
(ASCSU opposed) – bill held over until 2014
SB 520, which received considerable attention from the Academic Senate in spring, has been pulled with possible reintroduction by the author (Senate President pro tem Steinberg) in 2014. In addition, although the ASCSU did not take a position on it, it has paid considerable attention to SB 195. The bill, now signed into law by the Governor, will require the establishment of performance metrics by each of California’s three higher education segments, including the CSU.
Both houses of the California State Legislature are currently in recess and will not reconvene until January 6. Legislators and their staff, meanwhile, are researching and developing possible legislative proposals to be introduced as bills at that time.
In anticipation of the 2014 legislative calendar, the ASCSU leadership, along with the legislative specialist and the chairs of the Academic Affairs and Fiscal & Governmental Affairs Committees, spent two days in the Capitol in mid-November speaking with legislative staff members and committee consultants. (Members of the legislature were generally unavailable since they were back in their districts). In all, visits were made to 27 legislative offices. It was too early in the process to speak about specific bill proposals, but a wide range of interests and concerns were expressed by the various legislative offices. Among them were:
- Facilitating the transfer process and ensuring access for those who want it;
- Student debt;
- Student job success after graduation;
- A possible middle-class scholarship bill; and
- The forthcoming report on the feasibility of a community college 4-year undergraduate degree.
Each has the potential to be the subject of proposed legislative action in the spring.
The ASCSU delegation also took this opportunity to stress what we saw as key areas of concern for the upcoming year, including:
- The need for expanded access if SB 1440 transfers are to be accommodated (over the past two years close to 25,000 admission-ready students were denied access to the CSU);
- The need for increased tenure-track faculty hires; and
- Our support for the CSU Board of Trustees 2014-15 budget proposal, which calls for $80 million more in state support than is currently contained in the Governor’s proposal.
The need for a legislative solution to ensure the continuous presence of a faculty member on the Board of Trustees was also discussed. All of this is in anticipation of what will be happening once the Legislature reconvenes in January. We will keep you up to date as events unfold.