Today the Legislature held their last floor session before breaking for a one-month summer recess. This was the best opportunity for the Legislature to pass a bill to address the issues created by AB 195 (Obernolte) in time to protect all bonds on the November 2018 ballot. Unfortunately, neither the Senate nor Assembly took action today on a bill to give that protection. The Legislature is still exploring possible options for early August action that could help some of the November bonds.
Budget trailer bill SB 863 would provide a two-year suspension to AB 195’s provisions for local bonds, allowing time to pursue a permanent policy resolution through the regular legislative process next year. The Legislature was awaiting assurance from the Governor that he would sign SB 863 before putting the bill up for a vote. As of this morning, legislative leadership had not received that confirmation and therefore did not feel comfortable sending the bill to the Governor.
The Legislature reconvenes August 6. CASH has been clear that is too late to resolve the issue for many school districts with county filing deadlines in July.
Over the last few weeks, CASH actively worked with our coalition partners to push the Administration and Legislature to support SB 863. We want to thank our members who have been engaged in this effort. CASH will continue to work with our coalition partners to persuade the Administration to accept the needed transparency legislation.
Left uncorrected, AB 195 will have a significant chilling effect on many local bonds. AB 195 requires a local ballot measure that imposes a tax or raises the rate of a tax, including a local bond, to include on the ballot label the amount of money to be raised annually and the rate and duration of the tax to be levied. This is misleading and confusing to voters when applied to bonds, and recent polling and outcomes from the June 2018 election reflect that confusion. Many bonds see a drop in support of 10% or more when AB 195 language is added to the ballot label, pushing many below the threshold required for passage.
~ Rebekah Cearley, Legislative Advocate