|Governor Brown Takes Final Action On Remaining Legislation|
October 1, 2014
TO: CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS
FROM: Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE: News From the Capitol
GOVERNOR BROWN TAKES FINAL ACTION ON REMAINING LEGISLATION
Yesterday, September 30, 2014, was the last day for the Governor to act on bills sent to him during the 2014 Legislative Session. In total, the Governor was sent 1,074 bills in 2014 – he signed 930, vetoed 143 (13.3%), and allowed one to become law without his signature. Of interest to the library community are several measures CLA has been actively involved in this year, including the following:
AB 609-Nestande: “California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act.
The Governor signed this bill (Chapter 789, Statutes of 2014).
· This bill requires research that is funded with taxpayer funds, in this case, research by the Department of Public Health, to be made available on an “appropriate publicly accessible database approved by the department, including but not limited to the University of California’s eScholarship Repository at the California Digital Library, PubMed Central, or the California Digital Open Source Library.
CLA supported the bill on the grounds that it allows patrons to have the most current and reliable research data on health related findings.
Also, in many cases, the public library is the first place that an individual may go to find critical health-related information, particularly in communities that are researching environmental toxins issues that may be impacting residents, etc.
AB 2292-Bonta: Infrastructure financing districts for broadband
The Governor signed this bill (Chapter 783, Statutes of 2014).
· This measure is sponsored by the City of San Leandro as they have a partially completed, major high-speed fiber loop and want to use an (Infrastructure Financing District) IFD for the purpose of completing the project to give more entities access to broadband. Currently, a local government can use an infrastructure financing district for things like bridges, transit facilities, collection and treatment of water for urban uses, libraries, etc. This bill would add “broadband” to the list of eligible projects that may use an IFD. CLA supported this measure because it is a compliment to the Governor’s 2014 proposal to connect libraries to a high-speed broadband backbone operated by CENIC, as an IFD may assist some libraries attempting to connect to the network with “last mile” issues.
AB 2444-Hall: Confederate flag: sales: government property
The Governor signed this bill (Chapter 538, Statutes of 2014).
· AB 2444 would prohibit the State of California from selling or displaying the Confederate Flag. The bill provides for an exemption if the “image [of the flag] appears in a book, digital medium, or a state museum that serves an educational or historical purpose.”
When the bill was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the author was asked if he would accept an amendment to exempt state museums and libraries. The author agreed to the museum exemption but said he opposed the idea of allowing the libraries to have the exemption because he felt they were adequately covered by the book or digital medium exemption. The measure passed out of committee with sufficient votes.
CLA worked extensively with The Senate Judiciary Committee Chief Consultant to ensure there were no outstanding issues with the measure, and also consulted with First Amendment expert and attorney, Mary Minow to determine if she felt there were any impacts on the public libraries. In short, while we believe there is no direct impact on the public libraries, there may be some impact on CSU and UC libraries, as well as the State Library itself, as all would be considered “state” entities. The bill passed both the Senate and Assembly and was sent to the Governor for action.
Ultimately the Governor felt that the bill was sufficiently drafted to provide adequate constitutional protections.
SB 1221-Hancock: After school programs
The Governor signed this bill (Chapter 370, Statutes of 2014).
· SB 1221 improves and updates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program and the After School Education and Safety Program, which both focus on before and after school programs, summer learning, and intersession programs.
A broad coalition of supporters for this measure included the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson (sponsor), several local Boys and Girls Clubs, the California School-Age Consortium, After School Coalition, and CLA, among many others. The bill is an excellent example of CLA’s mission of providing quality summer reading programs and working with community-based groups to develop those programs and to help guard against the so-called “summer slide.” SPI Torlakson indicates there are about 450,000 students who participate in 4,500 of these programs across the state.
SB 1455-DeSaulnier: Library Construction Bond Needs Assessment
The Governor vetoed this measure.
SB 1455 was originally introduced by Senator DeSaulnier as a library construction and renovation bond measure, intended to be placed on the November 2014 or 2016 ballot. CLA was the official sponsor of the measure. While we lacked a current State Library bond Needs Assessment, we roughly estimated that the construction needs both short and long term were still in the realm of at least $6 billion statewide.
While there was support for the intent of the bill in the early policy committees, the Senate Appropriations Committee had indicated to Senator DeSaulnier and CLA that if the dollar amount of $1 billion proposed by Senator DeSaulnier was amended into the bill, it would certainly be held in committee due to the fiscal implications to the State’s General Fund. Based on this information, along with general concerns raised over several competing interests on the ballot this year, the bond bill was instead ultimately amended down to a “Needs Assessment,” and sent to the Governor. The Governor vetoed the bill on September 18th, stating in his veto message: “I am returning Senate Bill 1455 without my signature… Local librarians communicate with the State Librarian on a regular basis regarding their operations. I urge them to continue to do so without the formalized report required by this bill.”
The veto came as no surprise to CLA as soon after passing the measure, Senator DeSaulnier’s office was informed by the Administration that the Governor felt that a Needs Assessment would then likely lead to a bond measure, which would not be encouraged at this time. The veto, however, does not preclude the State Library from going forward with a Needs Assessment should they choose to do so.