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SCA 3-DODD WON’T MOVE FORWARD IN 2018 – THE VICTIM OF A STRANGE TIME AT THE CAPITOL
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January 23, 2018




TO: CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS

FROM: Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists


RE: News From the Capitol



SCA 3-DODD WON’T MOVE FORWARD IN 2018 – THE VICTIM OF A STRANGE TIME AT THE CAPITOL


In early 2017, and on behalf of the California Library Association, Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced a measure seeking to lower the local vote threshold for the passage of library construction bonds from the current two-thirds vote to a 55% vote.  The measure was subsequently introduced at the State Capitol as SCA 3-Dodd, and it successfully passed both the Senate Governance and Finance Committee and the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee.  Despite an all-out push by Senator Dodd and his staff, by our office, and by CLA members to secure passage of the measure on the Senate Floor, we have collectively been hindered due to some strange, unanticipated dynamics at the State Capitol.  Unfortunately, due to a situation beyond CLA’s control, SCA 3 is “dead” for the year.


One of the great challenges with constitutional amendments that seek to lower vote thresholds for bonds or special taxes is that they require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature and the signature of the Governor.   While the Democrats had a two-thirds supermajority in both the Assembly and the Senate at the start of the 2017 legislative session, by the Fall of 2017 that was no longer the case, with several members of the legislature being forced to step down.  Since these vacant seats would not be filled via a Special Election until June 2018 at the earliest, we are seriously disadvantaged in bringing forward a bill (SCA 3) which requires a two-thirds vote.


Complicating matters:  as of this writing, neither our office, nor Senator Dodd, nor active library supporter constituents, have been able to convince any Senate Republicans to join with Democrats to vote for SCA 3 on the Senate Floor to make up for the loss of Democrat votes.  In a previous report to CLA members we noted that the Senate Republicans have traditionally had a caucus policy of not supporting legislation that lowers the vote threshold for construction bonds or special taxes -- and such is the case with Senator Dodd’s measure.


A bill currently in the Assembly – ACA 4 by Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) would lower the vote threshold for construction bonds and special taxes for all local government projects (e.g. water, streets, libraries) but it did not move during the 2017 session.  Similar to SCA 3, Assemblywoman Aguiar-Curry’s bill faces the unique challenges of the vacancies in the legislature and most likely will not move in 2018.


The CLA Legislative Committee and CLA Executive Board will continue to support these efforts moving forward, as the 55% vote threshold issue is a top priority for the association.  Lastly, many thanks to Senator Bill Dodd and his Legislative Director, Les Spahnn for their strong leadership on behalf of California’s public libraries.