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State Budget Agreement Has Been Reached
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June 28, 2011
FROM:           Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist
                        Christina DiCaro, CLALobbyist
                        Jessica Gauger,Legislative Assistant
RE:                 NEWS FROM THE CAPITOL
So-Called “Trigger”Plan Would Cut Libraries in Worst Case Scenario
Yesterday, members of the media and the lobbying community were surprised to learn that Governor Brown, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez, had called an unexpected press conference to discuss that apotential deal had been reached relative to the State Budget.
Duringthe press conference, The Governor and Democratic leaders sat at a large conference table with members of the media for what the Governor called a “Budget Update.”  Governor Brown explained that negotiations with Republicans had broken down and after receiving a text the prior evening from an unnamed person close to the negotiations, that the Republicans were unwilling to compromise, and that a majority vote Budget would be necessary.  Accordingly, the Governor explained that based on new revenue projections an additional $4 billion not previously assumed revenue, allowed the Democrats to craft a deep cuts, 18-month Budget plan called the “Plan C Budget.”
Under “Plan C,” there will be $12.6 billion in cuts previously approved by the legislature earlier this year, and an additional $2 billion in triggered cuts should the new revenue estimates fail to come to fruition.  The plan also relies on the revenue extension measures presented in the Governor’s January Budget (sales tax, income tax, etc. extension) plan to be placed on the November 2012 ballot via an initiative, as the Budget negotiations with Republicans have broken down, and accordingly, they do not have sufficient votes to reach the 2/3 threshold to put the tax extension measures on a special election ballot this year.  The triggered cuts will happen in three different tiers based on how much of the $4 billion in estimated revenues is actually received.  Should the state collect $3-$4 billion of the new revenues, no cuts with be imposed.  If the estimates only generate $2-$3 billion,“Tier 1” cuts will be triggered and will result in $500 million in cuts to UC, CSU, Corrections, and Health and Human Services, and roll over the remainder into the 2012-13 Budget.  Of note, there is an item in a document released tonight that we have obtained, indicating that $17 million in “Library grants” would be reduced as part of the “Tier 1” triggered cuts.  As of this writing there was littleinformation or substantive language available regarding the “trigger proposal,”and we are not sure what programs the $17 million reflects. Should the new revenues fail to generate $2 billion or less, “Tier 2” cuts of $2 billion would be triggered and would include K-12 cuts, including the assumption of seven fewer instruction days in 2011-12 and elimination of school bus transportation, among other cuts. 
This afternoon, the Assembly and Senate were scheduled to meet on their respective Floors at 4 p.m., which has since been delayed by a few hours.  The process to debate and dispense with 8 Budget related measures could take several hours.  Due to yesterday’s collective announcement by the Governor and the Democratic leaders, it is anticipated that Governor Brown will quickly sign the Budget bill.
Recently SB 445 by Senator Joe Simitian passed the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee on a strong bi-partisan vote of 17 “ayes” to 0 “noes.”  The measure seeks to upgrade a 1980 law and a subsequent 1986 law, both sponsored by CLA, to protect the privacy of patron circulation records at public libraries. The laws have served library patrons well for over three decades, but are in need of update in order to reflect the changes in technology and the way in which electronic records are kept at the public library.  To that end, a constituent of Senator Simitian’s, Mary Minow, J.D., A.M.L.S., and a respected library consultant, brought this issue to the Senator’s attention as part of his annual “ThereOught To Be A Law” contest. 
CLA has played a large role in its support for SB 445 in the policy committees and on the Senate Floor. We have been pleased, that with Senator Simitian’s leadership and the respect of his colleagues, he has enjoyed strong bi-partisan support of his measure throughout the process and the bill has not faced any opposition from interest groups.  During the recent hearing in the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, a Republican member of the Committee expressed his support for the bill, suggesting that with governmental entities, vendors, and others keeping more and more information on individuals and their habits, it is important to provide as much protection of that information as possible.  Assemblyman Jeffries stated in committee, “It seems that nothing is private anymore. Anything we can do to push back is important.  I really appreciate you authoring the bill.”  
SB445-Simitian is now headed to the Assembly Floor for vote, likely next week.  Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla(D-Martinez), a strong library supporter, will be carrying the measure on the Floor for Senator Simitian.  If SB 445 issuccessful on the Floor, it will then head to Governor Brown for hisconsideration.  We will keep you posted.
CLA and our members have been actively following the progress of AB 438 by Assemblyman Das Williams which would require specific contract requirements and disclosure provisions for cities seeking to outsource its library services to a contractor.    As we reported recently, the bill, which is supported by the SEIU and other union groups, and opposed by groups such as the League of Cities, LSSI and numerous individual cities, will be heard in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee (the former Senate Local Government Committee) on July 6th.  The bill was amended again yesterday (6/27)and an updated copy can be obtained by clicking this link.  AB438 (Williams)