June, 2021

In this Issue:

  • Legislature Approves Placeholder Budget
  • Legislature Enters "Second House" Phase
  • Advocating for Your College at the Federal Level
  • An Update on Affordability Legislation for Community College Students
  • Join Us for our Next GR Webinar: Tuesday, July 20 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Federal Grant Opportunities

Legislature Approves Placeholder Budget

On Monday, June 14th, the Legislature approved AB 128 (Ting) as the vessel for the California Budget Act of 2021. Since AB 128 did not reflect a resolution to many of the outstanding issues dividing the Legislature and Governor, there is widespread expectation that a subsequent legislative measure will be approved before the June 30th close of the state’s fiscal year that will supersede AB 128 and become the official Budget Act of 2021.

The value in approving AB 128 was allowing the Legislature to comply with the constitutional requirements of Proposition 25 of 2010, which threatens legislator salaries unless they approve a balanced budget by June 15th. Since the Legislature acted on June 14th, a day before the deadline, it essentially allowed them to have more time for further negotiations with the Governor to bridge the items of contention in advance of a new budget bill being passed.

While there are still unresolved issues within the education budget—some dealing with community colleges—the major points of contention are on the size of overall revenues, how far to go in helping undocumented Californians, how much to spend on public health, and how to alleviate homelessness. For community colleges, the League is grateful to the Legislature for many of its augmentations above the Governor’s May Revise, including increasing the size of the COLA and fully extinguishing the deferrals. The League has also called for a last-minute advocacy push on the budget to increase student access to financial aid.

Not surprisingly, supporters of AB 128 hailed it as a unique opportunity to both rebuild reserves and expand programs. Assembly Education Budget Subcommittee Chair Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) declared that it “may be best education budget in any year.” Detractors were less effusive, as illustrated by Senate Budget Committee Vice Chair Jim Nielson’s (R-Roseville) assertion, “This is a fake budget. It’s a feel-good budget. It’s a let-us-get-paid budget. But what we’re voting on is not going to be the budget.”

The unexpected revenue windfall and gubernatorial recall election have undoubtedly complicated the budget dynamics this year. Adding to the uniqueness of the times was the one-month delay in the tax filing deadline, which required the Governor’s May Revise to be crafted on the basis of estimated collections rather than actual numbers. Nonetheless, there remains widespread belief that the state will begin its July 1st fiscal year with a budget in a place that reflects a hefty level of expansion over the Governor’s original January budget proposal.

Legislature Enters “Second House” Phase

The state legislature has entered into what is known as the “Second House” part of the legislative process. In order to move forward, all Assembly Bills must be in the State Senate, and all Senate Bills must be in the Assembly.  We look forward to working with lawmakers and staff as legislation continues to move through the process.

Similar to the rest of California, the legislature is beginning to open up again to the public. The State Capitol is operating at a 25% capacity and will permit more members of the public to enter the building in the next several weeks. The legislature is still encouraging advocates to weigh in via telephone testimony or written materials.

Below is a selection of bills that are still active in the legislative process and are of interest to community college practitioners. If you have questions about any of the bills, please reach out to League staff at advocacy@ccleague.org.

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.

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.

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.

AB 927 (Medina) BA 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.

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

  • Create a committee made up of stakeholders, activist groups, researchers, and representatives from the UC, CSU, and community colleges to make recommendations to the legislature on how to increase the use of ADTs.
  • 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.

AB 1040 (Muratsuchi) Ethnic Studies
Would require students at a community college to take a 3-unit ethnic studies course in order to graduate.

Advocating for Your College at the Federal Level

This week, leaders from the League will be meeting with federal policymakers—ranging from Congressmembers, Biden Administration officials, and key committee staff—to talk about how Washington, D.C. can best support California Community Colleges. We will be discussing the following:

America’s College Promise and California
As a candidate, President Biden ran on the platform of providing free community college for all students. In addition to other measures, his America’s College Promise would implement this pledge by providing incentive grants to states to waive tuition for students attending community college. Due to California’s unique and generous tuition policies, it is critical that colleges with low tuition receive the same level of funding as those with high tuition.

College Affordability
California depends on a partnership with the federal government to make college more affordable. While our institutions have the lowest fees in the country, our students experience a very high cost of living. Thus, programs like Pell Grants and others provide critical support for low-income students to alleviate costs such as housing, food, or transportation.

DACA Students
While the new administration is certainly more friendly to students who have obtained work permits under the DACA program than the previous one, the status of the program is still in doubt. Community college leaders will be advocating for a codification of DACA into law and a pathway to citizenship for its recipients.

An Update on Affordability Legislation for Community College Students

Over the last few months, the Co-Chairs of the Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce have met with the staff of Assembly Member Low, McCarty, and Senator Skinner to discuss their bills and how they align with the work of the Taskforce. The League subsequently met with the California School Finance Authority to better understand their process. Staff also met with the Student Senate of the California Community Colleges and the John Burton Advocates for Youth and were joined by San Diego Mesa College President Dr. Pam Luster and Evergreen Valley College President Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson.

Given these meetings, below is a quick summary of the most relevant bills and their status. In addition, we have provided a quick update on issues related to these matters that are currently contained in the 2021-22 Budget.

Legislation on Affordable Housing

AB 306 (O'Donnell) Student and Employee Housing
This bill would exclude housing built for faculty or staff on a school or community college district property from Department of State Architect oversight, potentially expediting their construction and reducing costs.
This measure is in the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be heard on Monday, June 21st.

AB 635 (Low) California Education Facilities Authority
The California Education Facilities Authority (CFEA) has the authority to issue revenue bonds to assist higher education institutions in the expansion and construction of educational facilities, potentially at a more favorable rate than might otherwise be obtainable. This bill would remove certain restraints from the CFEA's ability to issue tax-exempt facility bonds for public-private partnerships.
This bill was made a two-year bill while in the possession of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

AB 1377 (McCarty) Community College Student Housing
This bill establishes a revolving loan fund in which the California Community Colleges, California State University, and the University of California can build affordable student housing. It would also create a continuous appropriation towards the fund that the State Treasurer can utilize as security for issuing bonds.
This bill was referred to both the Senate Education and the Governance and Finance Committee.

SB 234 (Wiener) Transition Aged Youth Housing Program
This measure provides grants to local governments and non-profits that provide transitional housing for individuals under 26 who are former foster youth experiencing homelessness. These grants can be utilized for the capital development programs to build emergency shelters, transitional housing, or permeant supportive housing.
This bill was made a two-year bill and will likely move in the Spring of 2022.

SB 290 (Skinner) Density Bonus Law: qualifications for incentives or concessions: student housing for lower-income students
Current law requires cities and counties to grant a density bonus when an applicant for a housing development of five or more units agrees to construct a student housing development that will set aside at least 20% of the total units for lower-income students. SB 290 would provide further incentive housing for lower-income students by making such a development eligible for one incentive or concession.
This bill has been double referred to the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and the Local Government Committee.

Legislation on Basic Needs

AB 775 (Berman) Public postsecondary education: basic needs of students
The bill would require each campus of the California Community Colleges to hire a basic needs coordinator and establish a basic needs center at a central space on the campus. The measure describes some of the services that the bill would require the centers to provide.
This bill was referred to the Senate Education Committee.

Assembly Bill 1326 (Arambula) Public social services: county liaison for higher education
This bill would help college students meet their basic needs by requiring counties to designate a staff liaison to serve as a link between college counselors and county services to connect students with services they need more quickly.
The measure was referred to both the Senate Human Services and Education Committee.

Related Budget Actions

Both the legislature and the Governor's budget provided funding to address housing at the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges. While both would provide $4 billion for this effort, there were some notable changes to the Governor's Proposal. The Governor's proposal would have directed the California School Finance Authority to be responsible for the $4 billion one-time to support student housing projects. The legislative proposal would provide funding for student housing projects at community colleges, UC, and CSU  with the establishment of the Capacity and Affordable Student Housing (CASH) fund. The final language for controlling the funds would still need to be developed, but the legislature would still retain authority over projects.

Also, both the Legislative and Governor's budget would provide $30 million in ongoing funds to support basic needs. The language associated with the Governor's proposal was more ambiguous, while the legislative language would appear to be more similar to Assembly Member Berman's AB 775 legislation.

Join Us for our Next Webinar: Tuesday, July 20 at 11:00 a.m.

Join the League's Monthly Government Relations Webinar on Tuesday, July 20 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, July 20
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

2021 CEO Leadership Academy
June 24-25 | Online Virtual Event

Consultation Council
July 17

Board of Governors Meeting
July 12-13

Student Trustees Workshop
August 12-13 | Online Virtual Event

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