Capitol Update 5/31/13

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May 31, 2013 Legislative Update
Today is the deadline for bills introduced in each house - Assembly and Senate - to pass a vote of the full house and move forward. This "house of origin" deadline means that the legislature has been spending time this week debating hundreds of bills, including a ban on single-use plastic bags, among others. The Senate finished their work yesterday, and the Assembly wrapped up this morning. Two key charter school bills faced important votes on the Assembly floor this week:

  • AB 948 (Olsen), CCSA's sponsored bill, passed off of the Assembly Floor on a 75-1 vote! This bipartisan show of support for such a key proposal is heartening as the bill continues to move forward in the legislative process. Thank you for alerting your Assemblymembers to its importance prior to Wednesday's vote. AB 948's next stop is the Senate Education Committee.
  • AB 913 (Chau), which would impose new conflict of interest proposals on charter schools, was amended by the author to remove one of the exemptions to Government Code 1090 (conflict of interest law) that allows a board member to lease property to a school under very specific circumstances. The bill then passed off of the Assembly Floor yesterday afternoon on a 53-23 vote and will move to the Senate for further action. We are disappointed that the bill was amended further from our goal of a reasonable, comprehensive conflict of interest proposal, and we will continue to oppose the bill as it moves forward. As Assemblymember Hagman said, "forcing employees to conform to a law that fails to recognize the challenges that charter schools are facing is a big step in the wrong direction."

Additionally, we want to alert you to several committee membership changes. Due to the various special elections for open seats in the legislature, there are two changes on the Education Committees, with new Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez replacing Nora Campos on the Assembly Education Committee. New Senator Norma Torres replaces Senator Jackson on the Senate Education Committee as well. We thank Assemblymember Campos and Senator Jackson for their work on education issues as committee members, and look forward to working with Assemblymember Gonzales and Senator Torres in the coming months.

Budget Update
Budget committees in both the Senate and Assembly completed their work this week. The next step in the budget process is for a Budget Conference Committee consisting of members from both houses to meet and reconcile the differences between the two versions of the budget. The Conference Committee will meet over the next couple of weeks, beginning today. On the Senate side, Senators De Leon (D-Los Angeles), Emmerson (R-Redlands), Hancock (D-Berkeley), and Leno (D-San Francisco) will serve as conferees. And, on the Assembly side, Assemblymembers Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), Gorell (R-Camarillo), Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), and Skinner (D-Berkely) will serve as conferees.

Both houses adopted budgets that include higher revenues overall, as proposed by the Legislative Analyst's Office, rather than the more conservative figures projected by Governor Brown. Many of the charter school specific items have been moved to the Conference Committee for final decisions. In addition, there are alternative proposals for the Local Control Funding Formula in each house that also differ from the Governor's proposal. CCSA is evaluating the elements of each of these proposals and their impact on charter schools. We will keep you posted as discussions continue.