Today the Legislature met a significant deadline that required them to act on bills with a potential state fiscal impact. Today the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees took up the “suspense file,” acting on a number of bills with school facilities implications. When bills are initially heard in the Appropriations Committee, the Committee will often defer action, sending bills to suspense. This is a mechanism whereby each house collects and prioritizes bills with state fiscal implications, acting upon them at a later date. Bills that are “held” in the Appropriations Committee at this point in time will likely not be moving forward through the legislative process for the remainder of the year; they become “two-year bills” with the opportunity to move again at the beginning of 2016.
State Bond Bills
Various actions were taken on the three major bond bills:
- SB 114 (Liu) was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee with a 5:2 vote (Republicans voting no). The bill will require a 2/3 vote on the floor to pass out of the Senate. The bill would place a K-12 bond on the November 2016 ballot, and it is silent on the dollar amount. It does not appear that the Senate Appropriations Committee took amendments to specify a dollar amount, which is an unusual step given that the Committee typically needs to be able to characterize the fiscal implications.
- AB 148 (Holden) was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and will become a two-year bill. This bill would place a K-14 bond on an unspecified 2016 ballot, and no dollar amount is specified, though Assembly Member Holden has indicated that he is considering a “bridge” bond in the amount of $1.8 billion.
- AB 1088 (O’Donnell) was never scheduled to have its initial hearing in Assembly Appropriations Committee and therefore was not on the suspense file and will become a two-year bill. It would place a Kindergarten through University bond on an unspecified ballot, and the bill is silent on the dollar amount.
School Facilities Legislation
Additional actions on key pieces of legislation include:
- AB 677 (Dodd) – Safety Locks
This bill was held in Assembly Appropriations Committee, which is a significant win. This bill would require, by January 1, 2022, all classrooms and rooms with occupancy of 5 or more to be equipped with locks that are lockable from the inside, also known as security or interior door locks. It would also require all School Facility Program modernization projects as of January 1, 2016, to include such security door locks. C.A.S.H. has an oppose unless amended position and has been working with the author’s office on our concerns, which are primarily related to costs, specifically with the requirement to retrofit all door locks by 2022.
- AB 1347 (Chiu) – Claims Process
This bill was passed with a unanimous vote and amendments that reflect ongoing negotiations between the author’s office and representatives of the public works sector, including C.A.S.H. We still need to review the amendments when they are in print, but we hope to be able to remove our opposition to reflect the compromise negotiated by United Contractors, the sponsor, and the public works community. The bill establishes a new claims process that is attempting to achieve timely payment for undisputed claims.
- SB 47 (Hill) – Artificial Turf
This bill was held in Senate Appropriations Committee, which reflects the hard work done by C.A.S.H. and other education stakeholders to oppose certain provisions of the bill. As introduced, SB 47 proposed to prohibit the installation of new artificial turf fields and playground surfaces containing waste tires (aka crumb rubber infill) for two years beginning January 1, 2016 while the state conducted a comprehensive study of the potential health impacts of crumb rubber infill. The author amended the bill in an attempt to meet some of the concerns of opponents; these amendments removed the prohibition on the installation of such artificial turf fields and play surfaces but created additional bid requirements that would make it more difficult to move forward with such projects, and C.A.S.H. continues to oppose the bill.
~ C.A.S.H. Staff