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Library “Outsourcing” Bill: Late-Breaking Developments
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June 2, 2011
FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                        Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE:                 News From the Capitol
The California Library Association has been actively monitoring developments regarding AB 438 by Assemblyman Das Williams, which, as introduced, sought to require voter approval for the withdrawal of a library district from the county free library system, if that withdrawing entity will be operated by a private contractor.  Over the last 48 hours, there have been significant developments with this measure, including a flurry of new amendments and a last-minute re-referral of the bill to the Assembly Local Government Committee when the Assembly adjourns this afternoon.
You may recall from our previous report (April 14) that AB 438 is sponsored by the Ventura Readers’ Book Group and is supported by the SEIU, the California Labor Federal, the AFL-CIO and others. The bill is opposed by the League of California Cities, LSSI, and the California Contract Cities Association. During the April hearing in the Assembly Local Government Committee, several legislators raised concerns with the bill, including the issue of the significant cost that would be incurred by cities to hold an election in order to comply with the bill.   One Assemblymember on the Committee, Ben Hueso, had prepared language for Assemblyman Williams’ consideration, but due to time constraints, Assemblyman Williams responded, “I have seen some language but I haven’t been able to analyze it fully. I am happy to look at that but I need to move forward today.”    The bill then traveled to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it was temporarily held on “suspense” due to the cost implications for local governments.   On May 27th, when the Appropriations Committee considered its “suspense file” items (bills with fiscal implications in excess of $150,000), they moved AB 438 out, with amendments. Those amendments are reflected in the version of the bill dated May 27. 
However, these amendments were apparently not acceptable to the author and the bill’s sponsors, and Assemblyman Williams quickly prepared his own set of amendments. Yesterday, during Assembly Floor session, Assemblyman Williams submitted substantial amendments that were adopted on a procedural basis. The bill was then sent “out to print and back on file,” meaning that the amendments appear in print today (June 2). Please see the attached bill.   These amendments are substantive and require significant disclosure provisions by the outsourcing contractors, such as cost savings, complaints, civil actions, a requirement to delineate performance standards, etc.   Yesterday, the League of Cities sent out a legislative bulletin indicating that they will be opposing the bill with these amendments.
It was expected that the bill would be taken up for a vote on the Assembly Floor today for a lively debate. However, in a late-breaking development, the Assembly Speaker pro Tem announced this morning that there would be a special hearing of the Assembly Local Government Committee to consider AB 438-Williams and its new amendments at the close of session today. It should be noted that the reason the business of the Floor is being expedited with such speed is because Friday is the deadline for all Assembly bills to pass out of their house of origin. 
We will be updating the CLA membership tomorrow regarding the outcome of the Assembly Local Government Committee hearing.