Last week, the California legislature returned from its month long summer recess and will meet for a few weeks before adjourning the first year of the two year legislative session. This Friday, August 28th, is the last day for the legislative fiscal committees to meet and report out bills. September 11th is the last day the legislature can meet and October 11th is the last day for Governor Brown to veto or sign bills.
The legislature has several major issues facing them before they adjourn. The biggest political fight will be around climate change where three major bills are pending. One is authored by the Speaker of the Assembly, Toni Atkins, and another is authored by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Kevin De Leon. This means leadership is pushing the issue and something is going to pass the legislature and make it to the Governor’s desk.
Additionally, there are two special sessions going on parallel to the normal legislative session. The special sessions are on transportation and health care. Transportation seems like the most likely of the two to produce legislation that the Governor will sign because there is bi-partisan agreement around the issue. The only sticking point is how to pay for the work, with Republicans balking at new taxes, so legislators are busy searching for revenue.
The health care special session is more complicated because major changes would require a larger investment of resources and major policy changes. There may not be enough legislative days on the calendar to solve both of the issues.
In terms of California charter schools, there are still several bills that may have a large impact. Here are some short descriptions of them and where they are legislatively:
- AB 709 by Assemblyman Gipson would apply the Brown Act, the Political Reform Act, Public Records Act and Government Code 1090 to charter schools. The bill is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee on the suspense file.
- AB 787 by Assemblyman Hernandez would prohibit for-profit charter schools in California. It is currently on the Senate Floor.
- AB 943 by Assemblyman Allen would encourage entities assisting charter schools under the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence to have prior experience working with charter schools. It is also on the Assembly Floor awaiting a concurrence vote.
- SB 322 by Senator Leno would prohibit charter school attendance preferences except the sibling and employee preference. It would also mandate that charter schools follow the same expulsion and suspension procedures as school districts. The bill is in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
- SB 705 by Senator Hill mandates that if a charter school requests a facility from the district or the district approves a charter school facility request the district must post that information on their website. The bill is on the Assembly Floor.
- SB 739 by Senator Pavley would prohibit school districts from approving charter schools outside of their boundaries if they have a negative certification. This bill is in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
To view any of these bills, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov and type in the bill number.