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Bills on the Move

By Andrew Keller - January 13, 2011

 

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The latest round of introduced bills for the 2011-12 legislative session includes some measures that may seem vaguely familiar. Returning legislators have reintroduced failed bills from prior years hoping that a new administration and new committee members may look more favorably upon certain issues. Below are the summaries of these and other measures introduced so far this year.

 

Finance

SB 64 (Liu D) State mandates: school district test claims procedure.  
Introduced: 1/5/2011
Status: 1/6/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after February 5.

Summary: Under the California Constitution, whenever the Legislature or a state agency mandates a new program or higher level of service on any local government, including school districts, the state is required to provide a subvention of funds to reimburse the local government, with specified exceptions. Existing law establishes a test claim procedure for local governmental agencies to file claims for reimbursement of these costs with the Commission on State Mandates. This bill would revise these provisions to require the commission to adopt procedures for receiving test claims for school districts that eliminate specified existing requirements, including, among others, requirements to file certain documents under penalty of perjury. The bill would require the commission to create a school district test claim advisory committee, with a prescribed membership, for the purpose of reviewing school district test claims and preparing a report for the commission that includes specified information relating to the test claim. The bill would also require the advisory committee to prepare and submit the parameters and guidelines for an approved test claim to the commission for approval on behalf of a school district claimant, as specified. The bill would make a reimbursement claim filed by a school district claimant subject to the initiation of an audit by the Controller for up to four years after the date that the claim is filed.

 

Curriculum & Instruction

AB 124 (Fuentes D) Academic content standards: English Language Development Standards Advisory Committee.  
Introduced: 1/10/2011
Status: 1/11/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee February 10.

Summary: Existing law requires each school district that has one or more pupils who are English learners to assess the English language development of each of those pupils upon initial enrollment in order to determine the level of proficiency of those pupils, and thereafter to assess each of those pupils annually until the pupil is redesignated as English proficient. This bill would establish a 13-member English Language Development Standards Advisory Committee for the purpose of ensuring high-quality instruction for English language learners as the state implements the academic content standards in English language arts. The bill would specify the appointing authorities and qualifications of the members of the advisory committee.

 

Human Resources

AB 89 (Hill D) Retirement: public employees.  
Introduced: 1/6/2011
Status: 1/7/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee February 6.

Summary: The Public Employees' Retirement Law creates the Public Employees' Retirement System, which provides a defined benefit to its members based on age at retirement, service credit, and final compensation, as defined. The State Teachers' Retirement Law and the retirement laws for county employees and city employees also provide for a defined benefit based on age at retirement, service credit, and final compensation. This bill would specify that, notwithstanding any other law, for the purposes of determining a retirement benefit paid to a person who first becomes a member of a public retirement system on or after January 1, 2012, the maximum salary, compensation, or pay-rate upon which retirement benefits shall be based shall not exceed an amount set forth in a specified provision of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

Facilities

AB 85 (Mendoza D) School facilities: security locks.  
Introduced: 1/6/2011
Status: 1/7/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee February 6.

Summary: Existing law, the Leroy F. Greene School Facilities Act of 1998 (the Greene Act), requires the State Allocation Board to allocate to applicant school districts prescribed per-unhoused-pupil state funding for construction and modernization of school facilities, including hardship funding and supplemental funding for site development and acquisition. Under existing law, all new construction projects submitted to the Division of the State Architect pursuant to the Greene Act are required to include locks that allow doors to classrooms and rooms with an occupancy of five or more persons to be locked from the inside, except as specified. This bill, on and after July 1, 2012, would require both new construction and modernization projects for school facilities submitted to the Division of the State Architect, as well as construction plans for community college facilities submitted to the Department of General Services, to include locks that allow doors to be locked from the inside, except as specified.

 

Miscellaneous

AB 86 (Mendoza D) Charter schools: authorization: petition.  
Introduced: 1/6/2011
Status: 1/7/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee February 6.

Summary: The Charter Schools Act of 1992 allows one or more persons seeking to establish a charter school within a school district to circulate a petition to that effect. The act allows a charter petition to be submitted to the governing board of a school district for review after the petition has been signed by a number of parents or guardians of pupils that is equivalent to at least 1/2 of the number of pupils that the petitioner estimates will enroll in the charter school for its first year of operation or has been signed by a number of teachers that is equivalent to at least 1/2 of the number of teachers that the petitioner estimates will be employed at the charter school during its first year of operation. This bill, in addition, would require that a charter petition signed by a number of teachers that is equivalent to at least 1/2 the number of teachers that the charter school estimates will be employed at the charter school during its first year of operation also be signed by a number of classified employees that is equivalent to at least 1/2 of the number of classified employees the petitioner estimates that the charter school will employ during its first year of operation prior to submission to the governing board of a school district for review.

 

SB 65 (Strickland R) Pupil health: prescription pancreatic enzymes.  
Introduced: 1/6/2011
Status: 1/7/2011-From printer. May be acted upon on or after February 6.

Summary: Existing law establishes the public elementary and secondary school system in this state. Under this system, school districts throughout the state provide instruction to pupils in kindergarten and grades 1 to 12, inclusive, at the public elementary and secondary schools. This bill would further provide that any pupil who has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and is required to take, during the regular school day, medication prescribed for him or her by a physician or surgeon may be assisted by the school nurse or other designated school personnel or may carry and self-administer prescription pancreatic enzymes if the school district receives the appropriate written statements, as prescribed, from the physician or surgeon and the parent, foster parent, or guardian of the pupil.

 

AB 123 (Mendoza D) School safety: disruption threatening pupil's immediate physical safety.
Introduced: 1/10/2011
Status: 1/11/2011-From printer. May be heard in committee February 10.

Summary: Existing law provides that a person who comes into any school building or upon any school ground, or adjacent street, sidewalk, or public way, whose presence or acts interfere with or disrupt a school activity, without lawful business, or who remains after having been asked to leave, as specified, is guilty of a misdemeanor. “School” is defined to mean any preschool or public or private school having kindergarten or any of Grades 1 to 12, inclusive. This bill would expand this provision to also apply to any person who comes into any school building or upon any school ground, or adjacent street, sidewalk, or public way, and willfully or knowingly creates a disruption with the intent to threaten the immediate physical safety of any pupil in preschool, kindergarten, or any of Grades 1 to 8, inclusive, arriving at, attending, or leaving from school. Because this bill would expand the definition of an existing crime, it would create a state-mandated local program.

 

AB 130 (Cedillo D) Student financial aid: eligibility: California Dream Act of 2011.
Introduced: 1/11/2011
Status: 1/11/2011-Read first time. To print.

Summary: Existing law requires that a person, other than a nonimmigrant alien, as defined, who has attended high school in California for three or more years, who has graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof, who has registered at or attends an accredited institution of higher education in California not earlier than the fall semester or quarter of the 2001-02 academic year, and who, if he or she is an alien without lawful immigration status, has filed a prescribed affidavit, is exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges and the California State University. This bill would enact the California Dream Act of 2011. The bill, as of July 1, 2011, would exempt a person who has attended, for three or more years, at least one of which shall have been in a high school, and graduated from, secondary school in California from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges and the California State University. Under the bill, persons attending and graduating from California technical schools and adult schools, as well as high schools, would be included within the scope of this provision.

Editor's Note:  Andrew Keller is a Policy Consultant for Governmental Solutions Group, LLC, a policy consulting and legislative advocacy firm.