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May 3, 2017



FROM:           Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists

RE:                 News From The Capitol



Yesterday afternoon Senator Bill Dodd’s SCA 3, which would lower the local vote threshold for new library construction or renovation, from the current two-thirds vote to 55%, passed its second policy committee.

SCA 3, which is sponsored by the California Library Association, was heard in the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee where it passed on a vote of 4 to 1.  Senator Dodd presented the measure and highlighted the 160 million library visits that were reported in 2014-15 (CA State Research Bureau data) and he called the libraries an “extension of our public school system.”  Similar to the hearing in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on March 29, CLA and Senator Dodd were grateful to have the assistance of former Senator Lois Wolk, who offered lead testimony for the “support” side.  Senator Wolk called SCA 3 a “reasonable ask” and noted how communities benefit from a library’s safe environment and their “extraordinary services.”  Napa County Supervisor Ryan Gregory also provided lead testimony, noting that the Napa Board of Supervisors had voted to unanimously support SCA 3.    As a civil engineer, he said he valued the important programs available at the library, such as online tutoring, which helps countless individuals reach their educational goals.

Mike Dillon then indicated support for CLA, noted the increased usage numbers at libraries throughout the state, and he offered to answer any specific questions as the bill’s sponsor.  Senator Henry Stern, Chair of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee asked Mike about the usage numbers, which then allowed Mike to address some of the additional programs that are being offered, such as “Lunch at the Library.”  We would like to thank the following individuals and cities and counties for also lending their support on the record at the hearing:  the City of Ontario, Contra Costa County Library Commissioner Alan Smith, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Napa County Board of Supervisors and the Solano County Board of Supervisors. 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association testified in opposition to the bill, calling it the “erosion of the third rail of politics – Proposition 13” and added that such measures only impact property owners.

Chairman Stern said that while the concerns of the HJTA may be valid, he said that he felt comfortable moving SCA 3-Dodd forward because “we aren’t pre-deciding the outcome.  The locals get to decide.”   The Chair further added that because there are similar measures circulating in the legislature, pertaining to transportation, general local government construction, etc., there will have to be a larger discussion of the “evolving question of what question will ultimately go to the voters.”

Senators Henry Stern, Ben Allen, Bob Hertzberg and Connie Leyva all voted in “support,” and Senator Anderson voted “no.” 

We will update you in the coming days regarding next steps for SCA 3.