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LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS 2017 SESSION
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September 18, 2017

 

 

 

TO: CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS

 

FROM: Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists

 

RE: News From the Capitol

 

 

LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS 2017 SESSION

 

 

On Saturday, September 16, the California State Legislature officially adjourned the 2017 session in the early morning hours, after concluding their work in processing hundreds of pieces of legislation over the course of the week.  The Senate and Assembly debated controversial bills pertaining to “cap and trade,” cannabis regulation, the siting of cell phone towers, prescription drug prices, and affordable housing, as the hours ticked down to the close of session.  While rules of the Senate and Assembly state that there should be no policy hearings during the final week of session, policy hearings nonetheless happened with great frequency, as bills needed final vetting before they headed to their respective Floors.  

 

Interestingly, the impacts of Proposition 54 (passed by the voters in 2016), which require legislation to be in print for 72 hours so that the public has more time to review changes, had its intended impact on this year’s session.  While there were still some last-minute legislative intricacies, the “72-hour in-print rule” forced the legislature to produce amendments no later than Tuesday evening, instead of in the final hours of session.  Several Capitol staff members commented to us that they appreciated the new law, which leant itself to a more orderly system of processing the bills, as well as fewer last-minute surprises. 

 

The legislature will return on January 3 to commence the 2018 session. 

 

 

SCA 3-DODD (55% VOTE THRESHOLD) IS NOW A TWO-YEAR BILL

 

SCA 3 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) seeks to lower the local vote threshold for library construction bond measures from the current two-thirds vote, to 55%.  The measure is sponsored by CLA.  After a substantial amount of lobbying, SCA 3 was able to reach the Senate Floor this year, after first passing two policy committees on a straight party-line vote.  It is being carried over as a “two year bill,” meaning that it is eligible to be taken up when the Legislature returns in January.

 

While SCA 3 received strong support from the Senate Democrats throughout the process, CLA has not been able to convince any Senate Republicans to vote for the bill.  Complicating matters:  one of the Democrat Senators is the subject of a recall campaign, making the pending Senate Floor vote even more tenuous.  

 

Ultimately, Senator Dodd made a decision to make SCA 3 a “two-year bill” and asked that the measure be moved to the so-called “Inactive File.”  It can be noticed for removal by a procedural motion by Senator Dodd at the appropriate time.  Our office would like to note the outstanding effort of Senator Dodd in authoring SCA 3 this year.  Both he and his Legislative Director, Les Spahnn, left no stone unturned in their effort to shepherd the measure through the legislative process.  The Senator is committed to this subject matter and has clearly distinguished himself as one of CLA’s true library champions.  

 

We also want to thank several library directors who reached out to their Senators at the request of the CLA Legislative Committee and/or our office.  CLA is very appreciative of your assistance with personal calls and visits to key Senators.  During the Legislative Interim, the CLA Legislative Committee will be formulating ideas of how to increase support and visibility for SCA 3 heading in to 2018.

 

 

AB 1250-JONES-SAWYER:  COUNTY CONTRACTING OF SERVICES

 

One of the more controversial bills tied up in the end-of-session events was AB 1250 by Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer, which would have imposed rigid restrictions on the ability of counties to contract for services.  Due to major opposition by the counties and the nonprofit sector, AB 1250 was sent to the Senate Rules Committee, where it stayed until the end of session – making it a “two-year” bill.

 

AB 1250 was sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), but as mentioned, was heavily opposed by the California State Association of Counties and almost 100 non-profits.  CLA and the California County Librarians’ also formally took an “oppose” position on the bill due to the potential impacts on services provided by public libraries such as:  janitorial and security guard services, overdue notices by mail, Link + (Plus) interlibrary loan services, mail house services for distribution of newsletters and other communications, etc.  The bill could have also jeopardized programs involving coordinated efforts between libraries and community non-profits, such as veterans’ services and summer reading.  

 

Specifically, AB 1250 would have, among other things, prohibited “a county from contracting for personal services currently or customarily performed by that county’s employees unless it makes specified findings, and all of the conditions are met:  

  • The Board of Supervisors demonstrates that the contract will result in cost savings for the duration of the contract, as compared with the county’s actual costs of providing the same services,
  • The contract is with a ‘firm,’ it may be terminated by the county for material breach, it is awarded through a public competitive bid process, and it includes provisions pertaining to the qualifications of the staff that will perform the work,
  • The contract does not displace county employees, as specified, or cause vacant positions to remain unfilled,
  • On personal services contracts of over $100,000 annually…The contractor must disclose the total compensation, including salaries and benefits, the contract provides to workers for the same work, compensation provided to the five highest compensated officers or employees, and any other information the county deems necessary,
  • The bill applies to contracts entered into, renewed, or extended on or after January 1, 2018 for personal services currently or customarily provided by county employees.”

[Source:  Senate Appropriations Committee analysis, June 21, 2017] 

 

When AB 1250 was considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee in late June, the Governor’s Department of Finance representative indicated that their unit was “opposed” and she raised a series of concerns. She stated, “Finance is opposed to this bill because it applies a one-size-fits-all approach to contracting for personal services that could severely restrict the ability of counties to provide services in an efficient manner.”  

 

When the bill was before the Senate Appropriations Committee again on September 1, the committee took the unusual step of sending the bill to the Senate Rules Committee so that talks could continue between stakeholders.  However, CSAC remained particularly concerned that the bill could move from the Senate Rules Committee at a moment’s notice, setting up the possibility of a difficult Senate Floor vote.  As such, the coalition continued to lobby against AB 1250 up to the end of session.

 

Ultimately, the Senate Rules Committee did not take any further action, automatically making SB 1250 a “two-year” bill.  However, it is presumed that AB 1250 could surface again in the 2018 session.