Legislative Update: End of Session

September 30, 2013

The Legislature adjourned for interim recess on Friday, September 13, and will re-convene on January 6, 2014.  The Governor now has until October 13 to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature.  Bills that failed passage have become two-year bills and will have a second chance to proceed in January.  Below is an update on a number of key bills.

SB 731/SB 743 (Steinberg) – CEQA Modernization

Senator Steinberg’s CEQA reform bill, SB 731, was an end-of-session casualty resulting from negotiations with the Governor.  Steinberg agreed to hold SB 731 in favor of moving forward SB 743, a narrower bill aimed at streamlining the new Sacramento Kings arena CEQA process.  Some broader components from SB 731 were included in SB 743, such as a provision related to alternative metrics for assessing traffic impacts.  Given its focus on infill development, SB 743 may provide some CEQA relief for urban school districts.

 

The Governor has signed SB 743.

 

AB 182 (Buchanan) – Capital Appreciation Bonds

In light of the work by C.A.S.H. and other education advocacy organizations, Assembly Member Buchanan took significant amendments to AB 182, maintaining existing Government Code authority to issue Current Interest Bonds (CIBs) with a 40-year maximum term.  As a result, C.A.S.H. has removed its opposition and adopted a “neutral” position on the bill.  This position reflects our appreciation for Assembly Member Buchanan’s willingness to remove the bill’s most egregious provisions.  AB 182 still includes restrictions on Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABs), including, but not limited to, a maximum term of 25 years and a debt service ratio limit of 4:1 for each series.  The bill also stipulates additional transparency requirements for CIBs with maturities between 30 and 40 years.

 

AB 182 was passed by the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s action.

 

AB 120 (Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee) – Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program

This bill would expand access to the School District Account in the UST program by waiving permit criteria if school districts certify that petroleum was not delivered to the tank on or after January 1, 2003, or if the tank was removed prior to that date.  C.A.S.H. was the unofficial sponsor of this bill and actively supported it through the legislative process.

 

AB 120 was passed by the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s action.

 

AB 308 (Hagman) – Sale of Surplus Property

This bill authorizes the State Allocation Board to establish a program related to the sale of surplus property.  The program would require school districts to return the state share used for New Construction, Modernization, or site acquisition for sites sold as surplus property.  This return of state funds would not apply if: sale proceeds are used for capital outlay purposes; the site is sold to a charter school or public agency for child care purposes; or the site was purchased or improved with state funds ten years prior to the sale.  C.A.S.H. monitored this bill closely but did not take a position.

 

AB 308 was passed by the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s action.

 

AB 327 (Perea) – Net Energy Metering (NEM)

This bill would restructure the rate design for residential electric customers, create a new net energy metering (NEM) program, and specify that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) may require the procurement of eligible renewable energy resources in amounts greater than what is required in statute.  C.A.S.H. raised concerns that the NEM provisions could affect schools with existing contracts by subjecting them to the new rules to be developed by the CPUC.

 

AB 327 was passed by the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s action.

 

SB 594 (Hill) – Use of Public Resources

The bill was an end-of-session gut-and-amend to prohibit nonprofit organizations from using funds received from local agencies for campaign activities.   This bill resulted in heavy lobbying by the League of California Cities, the California State Association of Counties, and others.  C.A.S.H. adopted an oppose position, fearing that the bill would cause a chilling effect on local bond campaigns and ballot advocacy.  After a number of iterations, schools were ultimately exempted from the bill. 

 

SB 594 was passed by the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s action.

 

School Safety Bills

Two of the primary school safety bills, SB 49 (Lieu) and SB 316 (Block), failed to move off the Appropriations suspense file at the end of August.  SB 49 sought to put some teeth into the school safety plan process and require CDE to monitor compliance.  The bill also would have required plans to include an active shooter element.  SB 316, the interior door locks bill, had been amended to provide a funding source to address the installation costs for SFP Modernization projects.  Both bills have another chance to move forward in January.

 

~ Rebekah Cearley