A Sacramento Legislative Update
April 15, 2015
State Legislative and Budget Processes Do Not Wait
Facing a May 1st deadline, the state legislature is focused on expediting bills before policy committees if they have fiscal implications. If bills pass their first policy committee, the bills then move to the Appropriations Committee in the first house. It is at this point that most bills meet their demise. However, if successful in the appropriations committee, bills move to the second house. In the second house, they will need to clear policy and appropriation committees.
With the state budget, subcommittees with specific areas of responsibility, such as education, have had their first review of major line items. Within the education budget subcommittees this year, adult education was the most discussed topic.
At this point the Governor’s staff is updating revenue estimates for the current year and 2015-16. The staff is reviewing the input and recommendations of legislators to modify the budget introduced in January 2015.
On May 15th, the Governor’s Office will release a revised state budget. The legislature will then respond to the revisions and approve a final budget by June 15th. The budget needs to be approved by this date or else legislators are not paid.
Following the June 15th deadline, the Governor will have until June 30th to review, cut, and approve the state budget. The governor has authority to reduce specific line items in the budget. Any cuts to the budget by a governor need a 2/3rd vote to be reinstated.
State Revenues Continue to Be Positive
For the present fiscal year, 2014-15, state revenues are ahead of projections by $1.01 billion. Nearly 50 percent of these revenues will be spent for K-14 education because of Proposition 98. As per last year when there was a similar increase, districts can expect to receive block grants with a requirement for one-time expenditures.
Projected revenue increases in the current year and 2015-16 are important to adult education because they provide relief from budgetary pressures.
SB 172 (Liu): Suspends the high school exit examination as a condition of receiving a high school diploma. The suspension would extend from the 2016-17 to the 2018-19 school years. The measure would require the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene an advisory panel to provide recommendations to satisfy high school graduation requirements.
Status: Pending initial hearing.
SB 425 (Hernandez): Clarifies that adult education and regional occupational programs are eligible to participate in the federal Title IV Pell Grant programs.
Status: Passed Senate Education Committee.
AB 907 (Burke): Similar to AB 425, it also clarifies that adult education and regional occupational programs are eligible to participate in the federal Title IV Pell Grant programs. Status: Passed Assembly Committee
AB 1112 (Lopez): Includes Parent Education and Family Literacy in scope of Adult Education and Community College non-credit.
Status: Passed Assembly Education committee and will next be heard by the Assembly Higher Education committee because it also impacts community college non-credit programs.
Democrats Introduce 10 Measures on Immigration Reform
Responding to federal inaction on immigration reform, California Democrats on April 7th announced a package of 10 bills that address health care, legal rights, and business protection for undocumented immigrants. Leading the announcement of this legislative package were the heads of the two legislative houses, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. Descriptions and status reports of bills will be included in the next Sacramento Update.
Adult Education Will Be Different in 2015-16 and Thereafter
Adult educators should be aware that a comment being heard in Capitol halls is that adult educators solely want to return to the “former program” that existed in 2007-08. This take is unfortunate because adult educators are expected to implement a different program based on at least the following changes:
• As proposed by the Governor, adult education will now be one component of larger state effort to address workforce development and training.
• An adult education program will need to be a member of a consortium to be eligible for state funding.
• Adult education subject areas are reduced from 10 to 5 to focus on workforce development.
• Local adult education programs will be connected and leveraged with other programs meeting the education needs of a community’s adults.
• With the passage of SB 173 in 2014, adult education programs will need to meet state accountability standards.