Tracking Legislation: The Two Year Process

December
2008
Shaaron Vogel, Legislation and Governmental Relations Liaison

On October 1st, 2008, the Governor signed the last bills for the two-year cycle of 2007-2008. He signed 771 bills and vetoed 415, citing budget reasons for many of these vetoes. The budget was the hot topic throughout most of the summer and early fall, and impacted many of the bills that needed to be worked on the last part of the legislative year.

The Academic Senate tracked 24 different pieces of legislation over the last year. The Academic Senate only tracks legislation that affects the academic and professional matters of the 10 + 1. Some of these "died" in committee and never made it out of the "discussion" stage. Some were passed by both bodies of legislature but were vetoed by the Governor, and some became law. The System Office, FACCC, and the League track legislation that has a broader scope and track any legislation that may affect community colleges. The Academic Senate has a representative on the FACCC legislative committee to help in this process. The bills that the Governor signed become law January 1st of the next year. Here are a few of the bills that passed and will become law in January:

AB 1548 Solorio Transparency in College Textbook Publishing Practices Act

AB 1559 Berryhill Nursing Programs: Merit Based Admissions

SB 139 Scott Nursing Education

AB 2261 Ruskin Open Source Center-Pilot Project

AB 591 Dymally Part Time Faculty Load to 67%

SB 946 Scott Early Assessment Pilot Project

SB 1437 Padilla CA Virtual Campus/Concurrent Enrollment

If you want to read the bill language or learn more about the legislation, you can go to www.leginfo.ca.gov and click on "Bill Information".

The new two-year process starts in January with legislators proposing their new legislation and bill language to be ready by mid March-early April. Some lobbyists are finding legislators at this time to sponsor bills for them. A legislator can only sponsor so many bills, and many legislators propose bills that get assigned numbers and a title, but the actual content of each bill may be changed significantly over the two year process. A bill is introduced in either the Senate or the Assembly (the two "Houses" of the legislature) in late Marchearly April and then heads for committee hearings that are open to the public. They then go to the full House of origin for floor action, and are then sent on to the other House of the legislature for committee hearings and possible floor action. If a bill makes it through all committees and both Houses, it is then returned to the original House for final approval and if approved is forwarded to the Governor.

If a bill does not seems likely to get out of committee the first year, the legislator who originated it may pull it and try again the second year. Throughout this process the public has a chance to give input. You can send letters, e-mails, phone or have a meeting with the legislators themselves regarding a bill. FACCC has a legislative tracking site on its home page (http://www.faccc.org) where you can easily access the names of your legislators and send them a letter. Please check the Academic Senate website in March to see the new bills that we are tracking and follow their progress.

The articles published in the Rostrum do not necessarily represent the adopted positions of the academic senate. For adopted positions and recommendations, please browse this website.