All Politics is Local

Executive Committee member

I do believe that all politics is local. And all legislation is also local. Textbooks, nursing career technical education, accountability, part-time faculty-these are all issues that will be voted on in Sacramento, and all will have an impact on us at the local level.

2008 is the start of the second year of a two-year legislative session of the California Assembly and Senate. Bills have been proposed, introduced and discussed. They have been voted on in committees and on the floor-some have passed, some have failed, others are in limbo right now. And bills that have been passed by the Legislature have been either vetoed by the Governor or signed into law. It is a long and involved process, but worth our time to keep abreast of the issues.

We need to examine these bills to see how they affect us at the local level. A bill about textbook costs and prices (AB 1548) has passed. We all need to take a look at how we can use this bill to lower textbook prices at our campuses. It is not a cure-all for the situation, but we need to see how it can help the process. Another bill is still being considered-AB 577 would establish an Open Source Resource Center-that will bring new thoughts and avenues for discussion about textbook costs. The System Office is also holding several informational sessions about textbook prices. Let's take a look at using some of the outcomes from these meetings to inform our dialogue and see if there is the need for further bills that have broad support and help for our students.

Career technical education, many times with a focus on nursing education, is an important topic of discussion in Sacramento and throughout the state. Many of these bills deal with curriculum issues and this is of extreme importance to faculty. We must be always vigilant that the faculty voice is heard in these discussions.

There are several bills being considered in regards to faculty conditions-salaries, 75:25, 50% Law and parttime employment. Many of these are still "in play"- that can either mean that they are up for further discussion in legislative committees this year or that they are enduring a slow death until the end of the session. Only time will tell.

I have just given you a broad brushstroke of what is happening in Sacramento. For more updated information, please take a look at the ASCCC Legislative website and those of other community college constituent groups.

By the time you read this, we should know the results of the California Presidential Primary Election on February 5. In addition to little things like knowing which presidential candidates Californians like at this time, we will find out about Proposition 92-the Community College Initiative. This has probably been the biggest political issue involving the California Community Colleges in the last year or so. Whether it passes or not, I am sure that it will influence legislation affecting the California Community Colleges-we will keep you informed of developments.