Legislative Update – May 2014

May 14, 2014

The Legislature just passed a very important deadline: May 2 was the last day for policy committees to hear bills with fiscal implications.  Most bills are now pending in the Appropriations Committee in their house of origin and must be passed out of this committee by May 23.  Bills are then considered by the full Senate or Assembly and must be passed out of their original house by May 30.

 

Below is an update on a number of priority bills for which C.A.S.H. has taken a position or that staff is actively monitoring.  Note that when bills are heard in the Appropriations Committee, the Committee will often defer action, sending bills to the “suspense file.”  This is a mechanism whereby each house collects and prioritizes bills with state fiscal implications, acting upon them at a later date.

 

AB 2235 (Buchanan) – 2014 Bond Bill

The bond bill, AB 2235 (Buchanan/Hagman), has been heard and passed by two policy committees: Assembly Education Committee (April 9) and Assembly Higher Education Committee (April 22).  The bill had bipartisan support in both Committees and did not receive any opposition from members of the public or committee.  While there is currently no specific dollar amount in the bond bill, Buchanan has suggested a total amount of approximately $9 billion to $10 billion.  The real work continues on encouraging the Governor to support the bond.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Support

Status:                         Pending in Assembly Appropriations Committee – suspense file.

 

AB 1581 (Buchanan) – Lease-Leaseback Prequalification

AB 1581extends prequalification requirements added by AB 1565 (Chapter 808, Statutes of 2012) to lease-leaseback projects.  C.A.S.H. took an oppose position, arguing that the new prequalification requirements should be allowed to go into effect before making significant changes to the law.  We also have concerns about adding language to the Education Code sections granting Lease-Leaseback authority (Sections 17406 and 17407) and believe that changes to the Public Contract Code, where the prequalification statute resides, would suffice.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Oppose

Status:                         Pending in Assembly Appropriations Committee – suspense file.

 

AB 1664 (Hagman) – Naylor Act Revisions

AB 1664 would make modifications to the Naylor Act regarding the sale or lease of surplus property.  This bill would add school districts, county offices of education, and child care agencies as specified public entities to which surplus property should first be offered, presumably to achieve consistency with the provisions of his bill AB 308 (2013) regarding the return of state SFP dollars used to purchase a site that is sold within ten years of purchase.  C.A.S.H. believes that this bill is unnecessary, based on the precedent set by case law regarding what constitutes an “offer” under the Naylor provisions.  We also believe that districts are adequately able to manage their assets under current statute.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Oppose

Status:                         Pending in Assembly Appropriations Committee – suspense file.

 

AB 1754 (Hagman) – Portable Electronic Devices

AB 1754 would prohibit the use of Proposition 39 local bond dollars for the purchase of portable electronic devices, including laptops and tablet computers, and instructional materials.  Assembly Member Hagman is concerned about the use of long-term bond funds for items with a relatively short useful life.  C.A.S.H. suggested amendments to achieve state conformity with Federal tax code, which requires governmental entities issuing tax-exempt bonds to match the maturity of the bond with the life of the item being purchased.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Oppose Unless Amended

Status:                         Bill failed passage in Assembly Education Committee on May 9.

 

AB 1918 (Williams) – HVAC Installations

AB 1918 requires the California Energy Commission to establish an incentive program to improve building code verification and compliance by January 1, 2016, and to provide resources for training HVAC installers, local building officials, and school building inspectors licensed through the Division of the State Architect (DSA), as well as financial or other support to assist local agencies to offset costs associated with reducing barriers in the permitting process of HVAC equipment.  C.A.S.H. supports AB 1918 because it would develop a process and dedicate resources to provide information and training to allow schools to ensure HVAC systems are properly permitted and operating as efficiently as advertised.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Support

Status:                         Awaiting hearing in Assembly Appropriations Committee.

 

AB 1971 (Bocanegra) – Best Value Contracting

AB 1971 would authorize school districts to use best value procurement for projects that exceed $1 million, allowing a bidder to be selected based on a combination of price and qualifications.  C.A.S.H. continues to be interested in more flexible contracting opportunities, but we have concerns about implementation issues, such as how best value would interact with the new prequalification requirements, and the potential conflicts or legal challenges that may arise from perceived subjectivity of scoring and selection.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Watch

Status:                         Passed by Assembly Education Committee; pending on the Assembly floor.

 

AB 2319 (Bonilla) – Common Core Implementation

AB 2319 would establish the Broadband Infrastructure Fund Program (BIFP) to help schools prepare for Common Core implementation and digital assessments, with the objective of providing all Local Education Agencies with a minimum level of broadband connectivity.  It is expected that a funding source for the program will be discussed through the budget process, in tandem with policy discussions surrounding this bill.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Support

Status:                         Pending in Assembly Appropriations Committee – suspense file.

 

SB 837 (Steinberg) – Transitional Kindergarten

Senator Steinberg is pursuing an effort to provide universal transitional kindergarten.  He has introduced SB 837, and there are a number of facilities components in the bill:

-          T-K facilities would be eligible for state school facilities funding.  The bill does not include any specificity regarding eligibility or funding.

-          T-K facilities would be eligible for joint-use funding.

-          T-K programs could be operated in available kindergarten space on school sites or off-site at any public or private facility that has a specified child care license.

C.A.S.H. does not have an active position at this time, but we will work to ensure that the implications of these provisions, and the pressure that a new grade level would place on existing facilities, are understood by Steinberg and others.  Of particular concern is the potential that state facilities dollars could be spent on non-Field Act buildings.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Watch

Status:                         Awaiting hearing in Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

SB 1067 (Beall) – Site Selection & Emergency Access

SB 1067originally required all projects, including those that are 100% locally funded, to go through CDE for site selection, and required new sites to have at least two points of entry and exit on the school site.  The author was attempting to address concerns regarding placement of a locally-funded charter school in his district, and to increase accountability in the site selection process for those projects that do not currently go through CDE.  C.A.S.H. adopted an oppose unless amended position and worked closely with the author’s office and committee staff to narrow the bill.  Senator Beall agreed to take amendments to make the CDE site selection review permissive for districts and charter schools, eliminating the requirement that projects without State funding must go through CDE.  The bill still includes the requirement for two points of entry and exit.  C.A.S.H. is reviewing the amendments and reconsidering our position.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Oppose Unless Amended

Status:                         Awaiting hearing in Senate Appropriations Committee.       

 

SB 1157 (Hancock) – Specialized Program Fund Balances

SB 1157 would require bond funds authorized by Proposition 1D for seismic repair and high-performing schools to be used for those particular purposes.  This bill is intended to counteract the Governor’s proposal to sweep funds remaining in the Seismic Mitigation Program and High-Performance Incentive Grant accounts and deposit them in the main New Construction and Modernization accounts.  C.A.S.H. opposes the proposed transfer of School Facility Program funds and supports SB 1157.  Amendments were taken in the Senate Education Committee to delay a transfer of funds from the Overcrowding Relief Grant Program, the Career Technical Education Facilities Program, and the Charter School Facility Program until January 1, 2015, to provide projects time to participate in the Priority Funding process.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Support

Status:                         Awaiting hearing in Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

 

SB 1347 (Anderson) – Contracts

SB 1347previously required a school district to post on its website a copy of all final public works contracts awarded at $5,000 or more.  C.A.S.H. opposed this version of the bill, which would create a new unfunded state mandate and administrative burdens and associated costs.  Additionally, contract information is already available upon request and included in Board agendas.  When the bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee, the author took amendments to narrow the posting requirements to an annual list of awarded construction contracts (no requirement to post full contracts), and to raise the dollar threshold to $15,000.  Given these amendments, C.A.S.H. withdrew opposition and is now neutral on the bill.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Neutral

Status:                         Awaiting hearing in Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

SB 1405 (DeSaulnier) – Use of Pesticides

SB 1405would require that all school personnel involved in the application of pesticides be trained by the Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) in the safe use of pesticides and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and require schools that use pesticides not approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to submit a copy of pesticide use records.  C.A.S.H. initially opposed the bill and worked with the author’s office, DPR, and supporters regarding our concerns.  Now that we have assurances that the training component will be minimal, likely online, C.A.S.H. is adopting a neutral position.  The bill was heard and passed by two committees (Senate Education and Senate Environmental Quality) and is now pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Neutral

Status:                         Pending in Senate Appropriations Committee – suspense file.         

 

SB 1421 (Fuller) – Military Base Schools

SB 1421 would require the State Allocation Board to give priority to School Facility Program funding applications for projects on military bases that are eligible for Federal Department of Defense school construction grants.  Seven California schools are eligible to participate in the current cycle of the Federal program and are required to provide a local funding match to do so.  While C.A.S.H. supports efforts to establish a mechanism to provide base schools with local match resources, we are concerned that the bill as drafted would give military base school projects precedence over other projects that are already in line for funding, thereby displacing projects slated to receive state bond dollars.  We are seeking clarity from the author regarding this concern.

C.A.S.H. Position:       Oppose Unless Amended

Status:                         Awaiting hearing in Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

~C.A.S.H. Staff