July, 2021

In this Issue:

  • Legislature Heads to Summer Recess
  • Record Budget Results in Significant Increases to Community Colleges
  • Congressional Efforts to Develop an Infrastructure Program
  • Attend the 2021 ACCT Leadership Congress in San Diego
  • Join Us for our Next GR Webinar: Tuesday, August 17 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Federal Grant Opportunities

Legislature Heads to Summer Recess

The Legislature has left Sacramento for its annual summer recess and is slated to return on Monday, August 16th. When members return, they will then have a little over 20 days to consider bills of critical importance to both our students and institutions. They will largely focus on the fiscal impact of bills if the state can afford to implement them and if the policy goals of bills are worth their cost.

Before leaving Sacramento earlier this month, legislative policy committees like the Senate Committee on Education held numerous hearings, as they consider bills ranging from items like student basic needs or collective bargaining to collegiate athletics. Below is a summary of bills that are critical to our colleges. For a full list of League’s tracked legislation, click here.

League Priority Bills

AB 927 (Medina) Baccalaureate Degrees
Would permit community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees that are not offered by the UC and CSU and remove the sunset date of the current 15 college program.
Notes: This legislation is strongly supported by our colleges and has been unanimously supported by lawmakers of both parties.
Location: Senate Committee on Appropriations

AB 1456 (Medina) Financial Aid Reform
Would reform the state’s financial aid system by:

  • Creating two new Cal Grant Awards focused on either four-or two-year students.
  • Significantly expanding the number of students eligible for awards.
  • Two-year award focused on access costs.

Notes: It is critical to note that while the Governor and state legislators reached a deal to increase access to Cal Grants in the 2021-22 budget, they did not fund the items in AB 1456 (Medina). Thus, it likely will not become law, but League staff are hopeful that the legislation can be used as a vehicle to continue to advocate for Cal Grant reform.
Location: Senate Committee on Appropriation

Academic Affairs

AB 928 (Berman) Transfer
Introduced in order to smooth out the ADT approval, adoption, and utilization process, this bill would:

  • Create a committee charged to make recommendations to the Legislature on ways to improve the transfer process.
  • The proposed committee would be made up of the following:
    • Three representatives from each of the system offices of the UC/CSU/CCC.
    • Three representatives from each of the Academic Senates of the UC/CSU/CCC.
    • Three representatives from each of the student body organizations of the UC/CSU/CCC.
    • One member from the California Intersegmental Articulation Council.
    • Three members of the public, one each appointed by the Governor and State Legislature.
  • Require the UC and CSU to adopt one unified transfer pathway.
  • Require community college students to be automatically enrolled in an ADT program. Those who intend to transfer to the UC or prefer a traditional AA would need to opt out.

Notes: The League and our coalition partners within the Academic Senate and the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges are strongly supportive of a committee empowered to take a hard look on how our higher education systems are doing on transfer.  However, we have significant concerns about the unintended consequences of the mandates within the bill and have thus asked that they be amended out and the committee asked to consider them.
Location: Senate Committee on Appropriations

AB 1111 (Berman) Common Course Numbers
Would require California’s community colleges to establish a common course numbering system.
Notes: The 2021-22 budget appropriates $10 million in one-time Proposition 98 dollars to fund a common course number system.
Location: Senate Committee on Appropriations

AB 1040 (Muratsuchi) Ethnic Studies
Would have required students at a community college to take a 3-unit ethnic studies course in order to graduate.
Notes: This bill was held in the Senate Committee on Education and thus will not be going forward this year. The Board of Governors has adopted, via regulation, a similar requirement that community college students take a 3-unit ethnic studies course to graduate.
Location: Senate Committee on Education

Collective Bargaining

AB 275 (Medina) Classified Employees
Currently, colleges and collective bargaining units are permitted to negotiate the length of a probationary period for a newly hired employee for up to one year. This bill would reduce the maximum length of time from one year to six months.
Notes: Identical legislation for K-12 classified employees was passed and signed into law in 2019. As this bill is not keyed fiscal, it is likely to pass out of the State Legislature and be signed by Governor Newsom soon after legislators return to Sacramento in August.
Location: State Assembly

AB 375 (Medina) Part-Time Faculty Load
Would increase the level of teaching load a part-time faculty member could teach from 67% to 85% of a full-time faculty member. A college would be prohibited from assigning a teaching load below 80% to a part-time faculty member who has achieved reemployment rights.
Notes: Depending on how a college or district implements this legislation, this bill could trigger mandated healthcare benefits under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
Location: Senate Committee on Appropriations

AB 438 (Reyes) Classified Employees: Layoff Notices and Hearings
Would provide classified school employees with the same rights to a notice and hearing with respect to layoffs as is provided to certificated employees of school districts or academic employees at community colleges.
Notes: This bill is opposed by a range of K-12 and community college district management groups.
Location: Senate Committee on Appropriations

Record Budget Results in Significant Increases to Community Colleges

This year’s budget advocacy began with cautious optimism and ended with celebration. On the heels of last year’s COVID-induced recession, we learned last fall that the state’s resilience in the wake of a projected $54 billion shortfall was stronger than expected. As such, we entered January with a minimum expectation of no further reductions and the hope of a partial restoration.

Little did anyone expect Governor Newsom’s announcement in May of a $100 billion surplus in mostly one-time funds, three-fourths of which from state revenues, the remainder, federal. This radically changed the equation as the League, among other community college entities, were far more confident in the likelihood of a higher COLA, complete extinguishment of the deferrals, significant investment in deferred maintenance and instructional equipment, and genuine augmentations to student service programs supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Our advocacy in Sacramento was substantially boosted by the relentless grassroots efforts by district/college CEOs and trustees. Additionally, to the extent possible, the League worked collaboratively with the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges and the Student Senate for California Community Colleges to showcase unity in our message.

The resulting budget provided $371.2 million for a 5.07 percent COLA to the base apportionment, along with other ongoing expenses including, but not limited to, $100 million for full-time faculty hires, $74 million for targeted support services, $42.4 million for Strong Workforce, $30 million for basic needs centers, $30 million for mental health support, $29.2 million COLA for select categorical COLAs, and $23.8 million to support 0.5 percent growth.

In one-time funds, the centerpiece was $1.453 billion to completely eliminate the deferrals and $511 million for deferred maintenance and instructional equipment. A complete list of both the ongoing and one-time funds can be found in the Joint Analysis of the Enacted State Budget produced by the Chancellor’s Office in conjunction with the League, ACCCA, and ACBO (pages 7-8).

While the budget includes a promise to reboot the Middle Class Scholarship to help address the total cost of attendance for low- and middle-income students at UC and CSU, it falls short of the League’s push to fund AB 1456 (Medina and McCarty), legislation addressing longstanding disparities in the Cal Grant system that disadvantages community college students. Among its provisions, AB 1456 would address affordability for community college students by providing an entitlement award from the state’s grant program to meet the true cost—including non-tuition expenses—of attending college.

Discussions have already begun for next year’s budget where the League will press for a substantial ongoing supplemental allocation to base apportionment along with other critical augmentations to achieve an E-Shaped economy, one where all segments of our society, not just those at the top, are valued. It starts with addressing inequities in higher education funding and is achieved through continuous advocacy in Sacramento and across the state. Please continue to monitor the League’s emails and social media as your efforts in this area will be critical to our collective success.

Congressional Efforts to Develop an Infrastructure Program

The U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate are attempting to move broad infrastructure proposals in coordination with the Biden-Harris administration. While no deal has emerged, progress is being made. Below is a brief update.

U.S. House of Representatives – the “INVEST Act”
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $547 billion legislation known as the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act (H.R. 2). The INVEST Act is a broad surface transportation infrastructure bill. H.R. 2 reauthorizes federal highway and transit improvement programs over a five-year period. Of particular interest to local communities, the INVEST Act includes line-item funding provisions known as Community Project Funding (or “earmarks”) requested by members of Congress. The following are examples of Community Project Funding included in the legislation:

  • $20 million for Valley Link Sustainability Blueprint, Livermore, CA
  • $20 million for I–15/SR-78 Managed Lanes Project, Escondido, CA
  • $20 million for SR-41 Excelsior Corridor Project, Fresno County, CA
  • $20 million for Central Mobility Hub Pre-Construction, San Diego, CA
  • $15 million for I Street Bridge Replacement, Sacramento, CA
  • $15 million for Malaga Bridge Project, Fontana, CA

The House passed H.R. 2 on July 2nd and sent the bill to the Senate for consideration.

United States Senate – Seeking a Bipartisan Approach
Under consideration in the Senate is a $1.2 trillion framework infrastructure bill negotiated by the White House and a bipartisan group of 22 Senators. While details have yet to be determined, the bill includes $579 billion in new spending and other spending that is “repurposed” from various funding accounts. The vast majority of the proposed funding would be spent over five years.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is attempting to set up a cloture vote, which requires a 60-vote majority, to move toward consideration of the bipartisan infrastructure package in the Senate. This effort is resisted by Senate Republicans who are insisting on reviewing details of the infrastructure package prior to a vote.

If the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passes the Senate, the Senate will then consider a $3.5 trillion relief bill with elements of President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. Most relevant to California Community Colleges is the American Families Plan provision for free community college.

Other American Families Plan provisions include support for child-care programs, a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, nutrition assistance, and tax cuts to benefit lower- and middle-income workers and families.

Senate Democrats plan to use the “reconciliation” process to consider the $3.5 trillion package.  Reconciliation only requires a simple majority vote. In a Senate with 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats (48 Democrats plus two Independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, both of whom caucus with Democrats), a tie-breaker would be decided in favor of Democrats by Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Reconciliation was the process used successfully in March 2021 to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan COVID-19 response legislation, which President Biden signed into law. The Senate Majority’s goal is to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the broad $3.5 trillion relief package before its traditional August recess. Stay tuned.

Attend the 2021 ACCT Leadership Congress in San Diego

California Community College (CCC) trustees and CEOs are encouraged to attend the 2021 ACCT Leadership Congress in San Diego, October 13-16th. The ACCT Leadership Congress is the annual conference for community college leaders and the only national conference dedicated to community college trustees. Each year, approximately 2,000 community and technical college trustees, CEOs and other executives, and federal higher education policy influencers gather to share information about governance best practices, community college advocacy, advancing student success, and more.

ACCT’s presence in California for its annual conference is an opportunity for CCC trustees, especially those in southern California, to engage with their counterparts from across the country and participate in conversations about improving community colleges on a national level. For those interested, early-bird registration closes on Friday, August 6th.

In addition, the League will host a reception at the ACCT Leadership Congress on Wednesday, October 13th at 6:45 p.m., open to call California attendees.

Join Us for our Next Webinar: Tuesday, August 17 at 11:00 a.m.

Join the League's Monthly Government Relations Webinar on Tuesday, August 17 at 11:00 am for legislative and policy updates.

2021 Webinar Schedule
Every third Tuesday of the month, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 17
Tuesday, September 21
Tuesday, October 19

Webinar Details
Telephone Number: (646) 876-9923 or (669) 900-6833
Zoom Meeting ID: 623 780 059
Passcode: 550660

Be sure to register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.

Federal Grant Opportunities

Presented by Downs Government Affairs

The League, in partnership with Downs Government Affairs, provides a list of federal grants to assist your community college in improving its programs and services. If you have any questions about the following grants, please feel free to reach out to Thomas Downs at TCDowns@downsgovaffairs.com.

For a full list of federal grants available to community colleges, visit our Federal Grants page at www.ccleague.org/federal-grant-opportunites

Upcoming Events

Governance Leadership Institute for New Trustees
August 3-5 | Virtual Conference

Student Trustees Workshop
August 12-13 | Online Virtual Event

Consultation Council
August 19

Board of Governors Meeting
August 20 (Learning Session)

ACCT Leadership Congress
October 13-16 | San Diego

Undocumented Student Action Week
October 18-22, 1:00-2:00 p.m. Systemwide Webinars

For more information, contact the League's Government Relations and Communications staff: advocacy@ccleague.org

Follow League Tracked Bills at www.ccleague.org/advocacy/bill-tracking
For news related to the State Budget and Policy visit www.ccleague.org/advocacy