Academic Senate

Capitol Watch


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This Month's Issue
Front Page
Message from the ASCSU Chair
Report on the ASCSU 50th Anniversary
Reports from Standing Committees

Academic Affairs
Faculty Affairs
Fiscal & Governmental
   Affairs

An Update on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA)
Report from the Faculty Trustee
Resolution Summaries

Thomas Krabacher (Sacramento)

On Monday, April 1st the legislature returned from its spring recess to resume consideration of the business before it this calendar year. For faculty, the two key items are the CSU budget and legislation affecting higher education and the CSU.

The Budget: The Legislature is required to submit a budget by June 15th.  While the outlines of any such budget are as yet unknown, it is unlikely that legislature will reduce the $125M allocation to the CSU contained in the Governor’s budget (historically, higher education allocations have seldom, if ever, fallen below the Governor’s recommendation).  A key question is whether, given the competition from other areas of the budget such as health care and social services, the CSU allocation will be further augmented as a result of the announcement of higher than expected revenues in the May revise.

The key concern is the Governor’s proposal to roll capital debt service expenditures into the CSU general budget.  If this remains in place, it would, in effect, place debt service expenditures in direct competition with the CSU’s operating budget, that portion of the budget that, among other things, funds our academic programs.  The Legislative Analyst’s Office thinks this is a bad idea, the CSU Chancellor’s Office is greatly concerned, and the ASCSU Fiscal and Governmental Affairs Committee is monitoring this as well.

Legislation:  By the 2/22/13 deadline, approximately 2300 bills had been introduced for consideration in 2013; a significant number of these have the potential to directly or indirectly affect the CSU. This year, many of the bills involve online education, particularly as it applies to CSU, reflecting a growing nationwide trend in this regard.  Of particular importance are SB 520 (Steinberg), SB 547 (Block), and AB 386/AB 387 (Levine).   In addition, SB 440 (Padilla) would address SB 1440 implementation underway for some years.

It is worth mentioning here that the ASCSU is currently considering resolutions on most of these and members of the ASCSU Executive Committee and/or the Legislative Specialist have already met with the offices of the bill sponsors to discuss our concerns. SB 520 is of particular concern in that it has the potential to require the CSU to accept online courses offered by outside non-accredited vendors, as the author currently envisions it.  The CSU Chancellor’s Office, the ASCSU leadership, the CFA, and the UC and CCC academic senates are currently developing a strategy to address concerns over SB 520. 

These bills were included as part of the ASCSU’s April 9th Advocacy Day agenda as well.

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The legislative schedule for the rest of the spring is as follows:

  • April/early May:  Currently all bills are being heard by the relevant policy committees in their house of origin (Senate or Assembly); 
  • Mid- to Late May:  Policy committee hearings must be completed by end of the first week of May, at which time those bills with a fiscal impact go to the fiscal committees in their respective houses; fiscal committee hearings must be completed by May 24th after which they go to house floor hearings.
  • May 31st: Last day for each house to pass bills introduced in that house.

Throughout the process bills may be amended, withdrawn, held over, or passed as is.   You can monitor the process of any given bill and committee hearing schedules at either senate.ca.gov or assembly.ca.gov.