2012 California Legislation

California TRUST Act Awaits Governor's Signature

By Michele Waslin

The California TRUST Act (AB 1081) has now passed both houses of the state’s legislature and is awaiting Governor Jerry Brown's signature. Passage of the California TRUST Act would be an important step toward mitigating the harmful impact of the Secure Communities Program (S-Comm). Immigrant advocates from across the country are calling on Gov. Brown to sign the bill into law.

Graduate Them, Don't Incarcerate Them!

By Diane Lefer

The problem isn’t a secret: California schools suspend more students than they graduate, tracking them to jail instead of to success. But Ramiro Rubalcaba was surprised when he found himself being part of the solution.

Rubalcaba told his story at a forum on school discipline held in Los Angeles on September 10, sponsored by the California Endowment, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torkalson, and the Office of Attorney General Kamala Harris.

AB 2508: Calling Jobs Home

By Jessica Bartholow

The 2012 State Legislature adjourned on August 29th and now hundreds of bills sit, awaiting the Governor’s signature.  One of those bills, Assembly Bill 2508 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D – Concord), will call back hundreds of jobs into California’s economy.

Current state law allows state public benefit contracts, including call-center contracts, to be awarded to contractors that perform the work outside of California, and even the United States. AB 2508 would prohibit state agencies that manage public benefit programs from contracting for call center services outside the state.

Sustainable Communities Bills Sent to Governor Brown

By Madeline Janis

On August 29, 2012, one of the most important job creation and environmental bills in recent memory was adopted by the legislature and sent to the governor. Senate Bill 1156 was developed and introduced by Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg and supported by a strong majority in both houses. Steinberg built quiet momentum behind the bill starting last February, in partnership with a broad-based coalition of community, environmental, labor, smart-growth and good-government activists, with support from the counties, infill developers, non-profit housing developers and business.

Peripheral Tunnel Plan Details Released at Public Meeting

By Dan Bacher

The California Natural Resources Agency on August 29 held the first public meeting of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan in Sacramento since the Governor announced his controversial plan to build the peripheral tunnels on July 25.

Jerry Meral, the Deputy Resources Secretary, began the meeting by emphasizing that although the state and federal governments had chosen a preferred project, "there are still a lot of steps that the project must go through."

Meral updated the joint agreement announced by Governor Jerry Brown and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, reiterating and expanding upon many of the points announced in the July press conference.

Republicans Use 2/3 Rule to Favor Big Corporations Over Middle Class Students

By Robert Cruickshank

Fifteen years ago this week, I began my first semester of classes as a UC Berkeley undergraduate. At the time, student fees were about $2200 a semester, or $4400 a year. Here in 2012 that would not even  cover a single academic term at a UC school. My four years of UC education cost just under $18,000. A four year education would cost nearly four times that today.

As a product of Southern California's lower middle class, I'm not sure I could have afforded to attend UC Berkeley if I had to start today. I could take out loans that would total nearly $60,000, which would leave me struggling even if I were to graduate in 2016 and find a good job right out of college.

Women and Children First (Over The Cliff): The Final June Budget

By Sheila Kuehl

This is the eighth in a series of nine essays exploring California's 2012-13 budget. On June 15th, the Legislature sent a majority-vote budget to the Governor. Over the next two weeks, the Governor and the Democratic leaders negotiated a final budget. This essay presents the major revisions adopted in that final budget.

California Must Resist Anti-Teacher Special Interests

By Duane Campbell
Choosing Democracy

Following assaults on teachers in Tennessee, New Jersey, New York and Florida – among others – the California legislature this week is using the “gut and amend” procedure to change the current teacher evaluation system in the state. The brutal assault in Florida led to the defeat of the moderate governor Christie by Tea Party advocates in 2010.

In California legislators claiming to be responding to a Los Angeles judge’s ruling that Los Angeles was improperly implementing the current law, legislators are trying change the law before Friday using Assembly Bill 5. An active advocate of the yet undefined plan is Michelle Rhee’s organization, so-called “Students First.”

Don’t Let Big Insurance Pull The Wool Over Your Eyes!

By Sam Gold
Injured Workers Television Network

The insurance industry and specifically large self-insured companies are ramping up support in Sacramento for another, as they call it, Workers Compensation Reform – a very bad choice of words as the definition of the word reform means “the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt or unsatisfactory!” And corrupt and unsatisfactory it most certainly is, but not caused by employees, but the employers and their insurers. They have the vast financial resources to lobby our legislators who will gladly take their political contributions to make changes in existing law.

Health Care Reform in California

By Diane Lefer

“The way the health care delivery system developed in this country has been a global scandal,” said Michael Hiltzik, author and Los Angeles Times columnist, as he concluded the community program he moderated August 22 on the effects of the Affordable Care Act.

Speaking at the National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles, expert panelists acknowledged the obvious limitations of the act, which was found constitutional (for the most part) by the Supreme Court at the end of June. They also cited new benefits flowing from the legislation. But what became very clear was that there are steps we in California can take to make reform more meaningful even without action on the federal level.