By Len Feldman
Things are looking up for the start of this two-year legislative session, thanks to the hard work of CTA members and partners in passing Proposition 30. CTA representatives in the state Capitol will deal with key issues that have a direct impact on teachers and education support professionals.
The governor’s proposal to revise how funds are allocated to local schools.
The local control funding formula aims to channel money into schools with students whose educational needs are more demanding to meet.
Educators want to see a balanced, data-driven process that reflects accurate information and accountability measures, along with class size reduction, professional development, home-to-school transportation, and adult education. One of CTA’s goals is to make school districts whole, insuring they are paid back money owed for the last several years.
Sen. Padilla’s new measure to change teacher discipline procedures.
Last year Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) proposed a bill that undermines teachers’ due process protections in a misguided attempt to enhance student protections against adult misconduct. Sen. Padilla introduced a new version of that bill, SB 10, which does nothing to improve student safety, and instead compromises due process.
CTA will again seek to craft an effective measure that does not create more problems than it solves. Last year CTA sought a way to speed up the legal process, while protecting the rights of the accused. CTA’s goal is to keep students safe, maintain the integrity of the teaching profession, and protect educators’ due process rights.
The legislative year at a glance:
Just like the school year, the legislative calendar has set dates for action items.
The process in finalizing a state budget runs from January through June each year. In early January, the governor proposes a draft spending plan. From then until May 15, lawmakers review and revise the proposal, which is contained in a budget bill introduced into each house. In mid-May, the governor issues an updated draft, based on more recent fiscal information. Under terms of the constitution, legislators have until June 15 to send the governor a final spending plan. He has until June 30 to sign it so that it will take effect on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
Technically, lawmakers may introduce new legislation until Feb. 22 this year. (The effective deadline is earlier, because they have to send proposals to the Legislature’s lawyers by Jan. 25 for the plan to be put in bill language.)
How a bill becomes a law:
To become law, bills need to secure approval of committees in the house where they begin. (AB bills begin in the Assembly; SB bills begin in the state Senate.) If a bill is approved by the house of origin, it must secure approval of the other house in order to go to the governor for his signature or veto. Nonetheless, during the year, some bills are “gutted and amended,” thereafter carrying provisions that may be very different from those in the original bill. While there are intervening deadlines for bills getting through committees, the last day the Legislature can approve legislation this year is Sept. 13.
CTA communicates directly with members and association leaders through the weekly e-mailed Capitol Reporter, www.cta.org, text messages, Facebook posts and Twitter feeds, and through CTA member Legislative Contacts. Check in to the website regularly for updated bill information, analysis and positions. Reach out to legislators on the various issues by visiting www.cta.org/contactyourlegislator. For more information on legislative communications, call (916) 325-1551. Want to know CTA’s take on proposed legislation? Check out www.cta.org/billpositions.