Jack of All Trades, Master of None?

Chair of the Legislative and Governmental Relations Committee

I had the opportunity to participate in three breakouts for the Spring 2007 Plenary Session on three different and divergent topics. I will relate my three breakouts in three of my different personas-as the chair of the Legislative and Governmental Relations Committee, as a member of the Standards and Practices committee, and as a library faculty member.

Legislation-What's Happening in Sacramento and DC?
by Dan Crump, Chair of the Legislative and Governmental Relations Committee

2007 is the beginning of the first year of a new two-year legislative session for the California State Assembly and Senate. We have seen a number of bills proposed that will have an effect on community college faculty and students. The main purpose of the Legislative Committee is to research, monitor and provide recommendations on legislation to the Senate President and the Executive Committee. There are many bills out there that pertain to higher education, but the focus of the Committee is on those bills that directly relate to "academic and professional matters"-the 10+1 issues (or the "Holy 11" as we call them in my district.). Therefore, the Committee has provided recommendations on about 15 different bills that have a direct professional effect on faculty-on topics ranging from textbook prices (AB 1548 and SB 832) to part-time faculty (AB 591) to 75:25 (AB 1305 and AB 1343) to nursing education and admissions (AB 573 and SB 139) to accountability (SB 325). As I stated before, the Committee has made position recommendations (e.g. Support, Watch, Oppose) on these bills (based on resolutions and past actions and positions of the Senate) and the Executive Committee has voted on these recommendations. I am not going to tell you those positions in this article, as they can change when a bill is amended, necessitating a change in the Senate's position. To see the current position of the Senate on certain bills, please check the Legislative Bill Tracking page on the Senate's website at http://www.asccc.org/Legislative/LegTracking/legTracking.asp. Another website that is good for bill watchers to go to is the state's official (Legislative Counsel) website at www.leginfo.ca.gov to see the latest amendments to bills, actions taken on the bills in committees and analyses of bills done by legislative staffers. I will end this part of my narrative by relating a comment made by one of the breakout attendees. He was wondering why the Senate does not take a more active role in the formulation of bills that are proposed. He was right on. We faculty are fortunate that we have many faculty advocacy groups at the Capitol, including FACCC and CFT and CTA, and other community college groups such as the Community College League of California. But it does behoove us that we work on having the Academic Senate be the group that legislators turn to when they need help understanding community college issues that affect faculty (remember the 10+1!). I stated that the Senate is a volunteer group and doesn't always have the time and expertise that many of our colleague groups have to educate and inform the Legislature. But we are encouraged with the spirit of the faculty who urge us on to continue and increase our involvement in the legislative arena.