September 13, 2013
TO: CLA Members/ Systems/ Network Contacts
FROM: Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE: News From the Capitol
LEGISLATURE CONCLUDES 2013 SESSION ONE DAY EARLY
Last night the California State Legislature officially wrapped up the 2013 legislative session a day early due to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. But the last 24 hours of session certainly did not lack the usual flurry of last-minute hearings held off the Floor, and the drama surrounding the resurrection of several previously dead or stalled measures through so called “gut and amend” process where a bill related to one subject is changed to a completely different subject. When the legislature began the week, they had the daunting challenge of working through 500 pieces of legislation between the two houses. By Thursday, the Senate President pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg noted that there were approximately 70 measures remaining, prompting the Senate and Assembly to work expeditiously to dispense with the measures around midnight, when they finally shut down for the year.
The media widely reported earlier this week that the Governor and the two Democrat and two Republican leaders were able to reach an accord on legislation that would seek to address issues raised by the courts with regard to California prison crowding. That bill was quickly passed by both houses, in a strong bi-partisan fashion and was sent to the Governor. A much talked about bill by the Senate President pro Tem to significantly revise the California Environmental Quality Act was tabled on Wednesday night and the negotiations will continue into 2014. At a surprisingly high rate this year, several legislators opted to send their bills to the “Inactive File” on the Senate or Assembly Floors, a process by which the bill will be dead for the session but may be resurrected during the second year of the two-year session.
The Senate has sent to the Governor, Senate Resolution 16 by Senator Ted Lieu (D) and Senator Joel Anderson (R) which encourages the President and Congress to pass legislation to curtail the National Security Agency’s widespread collection of the public’s personal records, particularly for those individuals not subject to an investigation. CLA President Derek Wolfgram has sent a letter to the resolution’s two authors in support of their efforts to encourage the President and Congress to find a proper and fair balance of the need to ensure national security, coupled with the goal of not making the records sweep so all-encompassing that it infringes upon the rights of those individuals not subject to an investigation.
Two measures, AB 1299-Bradford and SB 740-Padilla seek to help bridge the digital divide by providing funding for broadband services for the unserved members of the population who reside in low income housing. In August, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, former Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance told CLA that she had asked the author to consider adding libraries to SB 740 as eligible entities. However, the bill is really focused on the cable providers, who, due to expense issues, may be reluctant to pull cable or provide connections to low income housing projects. Under these measures, providers, such as telecommunication companies, would apply for grants under an account established several years ago under the purview of the Public Utilities Commission. Both bills are linked to each other and have been sent to the Governor for his consideration. The Governor will have 30 days to sign or veto the bills sent to him during the final days of session. While libraries won’t directly benefit from these two bills, CLA remains encouraged that the digital divide discussions at the Capitol are more active than ever and these talks dovetail nicely into CLA’s efforts to obtain funding for a broadband network for public libraries. (see next article)
State Library Broadband Needs Assessment – Update and Thanks!
The State Library reports that they have received strong responses from library jurisdictions and library branches as part of the Broadband Needs Assessment that is called for in the Budget bill, AB 110-Blumenfield (2013). We want to thank everyone for their active participation in helping to make the case for the need to provide better broadband capacity for public libraries. A special thanks to State Librarian, Gerry Maginnity and Chief Information Officer, Jarrid Keller and their hard working team at the State Library for their excellent work to date, as well as CLA leaders Rosario Garza and Linda Crowe who have invested a significant amount of expertise and time with the project.
CLA, the State Library, and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) will be meeting with the Director of Finance and his lead staff, as well as key legislative staff in October. The purpose of the meetings will be for the State Library to present their findings from the Needs Assessment and for CLA and CENIC to convince Finance and the legislature of the need to include funding in the 2014-15 Budget to begin implementation of a high speed, broadband backbone for public libraries. The Department of Finance will begin drafting the 2014-15 Budget in October and the Governor will unveil it on or around January 10, 2014.