LOS ANGELES – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) discussed the importance of implementing federal health care reforms in California at today’s signing ceremony for AB 1602, legislation the Speaker authored to create the nation’s first state health benefit exchange as called for under federal health care reforms.
“Close to two million of our family members, friends and neighbors lost their job-based health coverage in the last two years because of the recession,” Pérez said at the bill’s signing ceremony. “As we continue working to save and create jobs in California, we must also work to fix the state’s health care crisis. AB 1602 helps make the possibilities created by health care reform into realities for California families by creating a marketplace where insurers compete for their business based on quality, price and service and where they can claim federal premium subsidies and tax credits to buy affordable coverage.”
Applauding Governor Schwarzenegger for signing the bill, Speaker Pérez added, “In a state with the most uninsured and underinsured in the nation, AB 1602 has been a long time in coming. We will begin working immediately to secure quality, affordable coverage for the hard working people of this state.”
In establishing the California Health Benefits Exchange, California positions itself to help working people and small businesses draw down several billion dollars in available federal tax credits and for the first time, giving them the purchasing power of very large employer groups.
For more information, click here to view the attached fact sheet.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) has directed the Assembly Rules Committee to post online the salaries of the Assemblymembers, officers and employees of the California State Assembly. Speaker Pérez’s action comes in response to a request from Assemblymember Alyson Huber (D-El Dorado Hills), the author of legislation to require all branches of government, including the Assembly and Senate, to disclose salary information online.
“The scandals in the City of Bell have made it clear more public disclosure of public salaries is in order,” Pérez said. “Assemblymember Alyson Huber is leading the effort to make sure this disclosure is required by law. We believe it is important that this disclosure be made while those efforts are continuing, so I have directed that this information be posted immediately on the Assembly website.”
In a letter to the Speaker, Huber states, “I introduced AB 2064 to require all levels of government – including cities and counties, as well as the Legislature and Constitutional Officers – to make the salaries of elected and appointed officials publicly available on their websites,” and notes, “Unfortunately my bill died in the Senate after amendments were made to the bill that I felt compromised what was trying to be achieved, but I look forward to continuing to work with you to bring more transparency and openness to state government. As I continue to work to ensure that this disclosure is required by law, I believe we also need to lead by example and post legislative salaries on our Assembly website.”
SACRAMENTO – As Californians prepare to honor the state’s working men and women on Labor Day, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today released a compilation of key bills passed during the 2010 Legislative Session to help keep Californians working.
“As I have said consistently, our absolute number one priority at every level of government must be getting Californians working again,” Pérez said. “I am proud the Assembly has been responsible for passing a significant number of jobs bills this session, and I am committed to ensuring jobs remain the priority as we work to finalize a budget agreement.”
Speaker Pérez noted that the legislature’s jobs efforts covered a variety of sectors, from emerging green technologies, to health care, to small business, to education.
“Our approach to jobs has been multifaceted,” Pérez said. “In some cases, we looked where we could maximize federal draw down funds for the state’s benefit, in other instances, we looked to which sectors were suffering the most, and actively identified solutions that could revive these industries—like the tax credits for new home buyers that helped boost housing construction.”
Highlights of jobs-related bills passed in the 2010 legislative session are attached.
Key Job Legislation of 2010
AB 177 (Ruskin) increases the penalties for those who fraudulently claim to qualify as a disabled veteran-owned enterprise or small business, when applying for state contracts. At a time when veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and jobs are scarce, we must protect the rights of our servicemen and women. The bill also ensures that small businesses, in general, can compete for state contracts on a level playing field with larger enterprises.
AB 183 (Caballero) provides a $10,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, anyone buying a new home—whether or not they are first time buyers, or existing homeowners looking to purchase in a new development, to be paid out over three years. This legislation especially reinvigorates the stalled building industry that had stagnated due to the drop in home buying over the last several years.
AB 231 (Huber) creates jobs by expediting construction projects by eliminating duplication and reducing time in the CEQA process. AB 231 streamlines CEQA by eliminating duplication and reducing time in the CEQA process without undermining any of its environmental protections. The bill is an ongoing demonstration of the Legislature’s interest in making CEQA as workable and as protective as possible.
SB 847 (Steinberg, J. Pérez) ensures teachers and school employees can star on the job by appropriating $1.2 billion to the state Department of Education as soon as California receives the funds from the federal government pursuant to the federal Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act. The federal legislation provides that these funds can only be used “for compensation and benefits.... necessary to retain existing employees, to recall or rehire former employees, and to hire new employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational and related services, and may not be used for general administrative expenses.”
AB 1830 (Jones) boosts California manufacturing jobs by requiring the California High Speed Rail Authority to make every effort to purchase high speed rail trains and related equipment that are built in California. With more than $11.25 billion in state and federal funding being invested in high speed rail, this bill aims to keep these funds within the state, fostering growth in the manufacturing sector and producing thousands of secure, good paying jobs for Californians. As high-speed rail expands nationally, California could become the national leader in train manufacturing.
AB 1846 (V.M. Pérez) is a regulatory reform bill that benefits business and job creation while assuring environmental integrity. The bill expedites the environmental review process for projects that involve upgrades or retrofits to bring businesses into compliance with the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). Specifically, it empowers state water and air agencies with the discretion to use a focused environmental impact report for projects that install pollution control equipment or change to a more sustainable product.
AB 1873 (Huffman) boosts green jobs by making Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs more attractive to local governments by reducing the cost of the loans made through contractual assessments to property owners to finance energy and water efficiency improvements.
AB 1954 (Skinner/Pérez) helps California achieve its long-term renewable energy goals and supports jobs and infrastructure investment. It addresses technical issues that present impediments to renewable energy transmission financing and which could limit the efficient production of renewable energy. Specifically, it authorizes the California Public Utilities Commission to provide administrative pre-approval of utility costs for transmission lines that facilitate achieving the Renewables Portfolio Standard.
AB 2058 (Block) brings more Californians back into the workforce by allowing unemployed workers receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to continue their coverage while enrolled in job training or education courses to develop the skills necessary for our state’s changing workforce. As it stands, some recipients of UI lose their coverage when they seek training, causing an unfair hardship for many Californians in need and discouraging the expansion of job training.
AB 2293 (Torres) boosts home construction jobs by directing the Department of Housing and Community Development to begin to move over $50 million available to fund affordable housing that is held up due to the reluctance of banks to issue construction loans.
AB 2385 (John A. Pérez) creates a pilot program at five community college campuses throughout the state aimed at accelerating the training of healthcare workers from two years or more to 18 months or less. California’s community colleges train 70 percent of nurses statewide but cannot keep up with the growing demand for nurses and allied health professionals.
AB 2398 (John A. Pérez) would boost California’s carpet recycling industry by implementing a carpet stewardship program that will ensure more carpets in California are recycled rather than being a major contributor to filling up landfills in the state.
AB 2437 (V.M. Pérez) implements the California Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, which establishes a loan and loan guarantee program that will enable the state to draw down federal dollars to support the retooling and expansion of manufacturing in California. The bill establishes the structure and process for the operation of the loan fund, intended to attract, retain, and grow the state’s manufacturing sector.
AB 2446 (Furutani) promotes career technical education (CTE) in the state’s high schools. Many students will benefit from CTE courses that will prepare them for college and careers that offer a strong living wage. This legislation is a solid step forward in providing a highly trained workforce that can keep the state competitive in many industry sectors.
AB 2581 (Bradford) seeks to bring vital financial services to underdeveloped and low income communities by creating a Banking Development District Program to encourage banks to establish branches in specific locations where there is a demonstrated need for banking services.
AB 2696 (Bass) empowers the state’s Green Collar Jobs Council to take full advantage of federal stimulus funding to promote jobs and boost green technologies in our state. This bill is the second part of an effort started in the previous session with AB 3018 (Bass and Núñez), a bill to create an agency that would exclusively serve as a catalyst for the creation of green jobs. AB 2696 makes it the responsibility of the GCJC to work with a number of organizations to align workforce development services with green economy efforts.
AB 2734 (John A. Pérez) creates the Office of Economic Development within the Governor’s office that will establish long-term economic goals and strategies as well as specific and effective services to assist California’s businesses both large and small. California’s businesses—especially small, family owned businesses—are the workhorses of our economy. This bill makes sure there is an advocate at the state level that will keep the job creating capacity of these businesses at the forefront of the discussion on the state’s economy.
(Sacramento) – The budget crisis is bad news for college students and the state’s economic future. While the budget stalemate persists, students cannot receive the funds distributed through the Cal Grants program, universities and colleges are caught in a financial limbo and California’s workforce training efforts fall further behind. During a recent capitol news conference Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, Assemblymember Tom Torlakson (D-Contra Costa) and students from California colleges urged immediate passage of the state budget. Learn more in this Assembly Web Report.
SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, reports that California college students are caught between a rock and a hard place; instead voting for a responsible budget, Republican leaders are saying they would rather delay crucial Cal Grants because they want to hold out for a discredited budget proposal that decimates education funding.
Click onto the following link for the English language MP3 file. The running time is 2:32. mp3
Click onto the following link for the Spanish language MP3 file. The running time is 2:54. mp3
Hello, I’m Assemblymember Julia Brownley, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education.
This month, California college students are providing an important civics lesson.
Students from up and down the state are making it clear: it is absolutely unacceptable that the Cal Grants they need to further their education are being held up because Republican leaders won’t support a responsible budget.
That puts California students between a rock and a hard place.
Republican leaders are saying they’d rather delay crucial Cal Grants, because they want to hold out for a discredited budget proposal that decimates education funding.
This obstruction has led some schools to look for ways to temporarily advance the money in place of state funding for Cal Grants.
But for many of the lowest-income students at community and independent colleges, there is no back up funding.
What’s left for these students, over 40,000 at community colleges alone, is an educational dead end.
The Cal Grant program, which for decades has helped Californians gain the skills they need to earn a living through a higher education, is in jeopardy of becoming a broken promise.
For California to remain competitive, we have to invest in our future, and Cal Grants is exactly the kind of investment we need.
These students have done everything we’ve asked of them.
They’ve studied hard and achieved.
We need to keep our part of the bargain – both to help them and to secure our own future.
We need Republican leaders to get on board with the responsible proposals legislative Democrats have put forward.
The all-cuts budget Republicans prefer will not work – no matter how long they try and hold students and their families hostage.
Our college students, and all Californians, understand our budget deficit requires a balance of revenues and some cuts, but those cuts shouldn’t decimate the investment we need to make in our future.
Californians deserve this balanced approach, and they deserve to have it implemented quickly and without partisan obstruction.
I’m Assemblymember Julia Brownley and thank you for listening.
Asambleístas Demócratas: Líderes Republicanos Obstruyen Presupuesto y Becas de Cal Grants que Necesitan los Estudiantes
SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje semanal, el bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal informa que los estudiantes universitarios se encuentran entre la espada y la pared en estos momentos; en vez de votar por un presupuesto responsable, los lideres republicanos prefieren retrasar las becas de Cal Grants, porque desean un presupuesto fiscal que perjudique los fondos designados a la educación.
El discurso radial en archivo de MP3 puede ser localizado en el sitio de Internet. mp3
Que tal, a continuación el mensaje radial del bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal de California.
Este mes los estudiantes universitarios recibieron una importante lección de educación cívica.
Los estudiantes de todo el estado han dejado en claro que: es absolutamente inaceptable que las becas de Cal Grants que tanto necesitan para continuar su educación estén retenidas porque los líderes republicanos han decidido no apoyar un presupuesto responsable.
Esa decisión pone a los estudiantes de California entre la espada y la pared.
Los líderes republicanos proclaman que prefieren retrasar las becas de Cal Grants, porque añoran un presupuesto fiscal que perjudique los fondos designados a la educación.
Este retraso ha llevado a muchas universidades a buscar diferentes maneras de proporcionar los fondos de forma temporaria a los estudiantes hasta que los fondos estatales para las becas de Cal Grants sean aprobados.
Pero para muchos estudiantes de bajos recursos en los colegios comunitarios y universidades independientes, esta posibilidad es remota o no existe.
Lo que les queda a estos estudiantes, más de 40,000 en los colegios comunitarios, es un callejón sin salida.
El programa de becas de Cal Grant, el cual por décadas ha ayudado a los californianos a obtener las aptitudes que necesitan para ganarse la vida a través de una educación superior, se encuentra en peligro de convertirse en una promesa incumplida.
Para que California siga siendo competitiva, nosotros necesitamos invertir en nuestro futuro, y Cal Grants es exactamente el tipo de inversión que necesitamos.
Estos estudiantes han hecho todo lo que le hemos pedido.
Ellos han estudiado intensamente para lograrlo.
Nosotros debemos mantener nuestra parte del acuerdo – Ayudándoles y a la misma vez asegurar nuestro propio futuro como estado.
Necesitamos que los líderes republicanos se acerquen y adopten la propuesta responsable que los demócratas hemos puesto en la mesa.
El presupuesto de puros recortes que los republicanos desean no tendrá un buen resultado – no importa cuanto tiempo traten de mantener a los estudiantes y sus familias de rehén.
Nuestros estudiantes universitarios, y todos los californianos, entienden que nuestro déficit fiscal requiere un balance de recursos y algunos recortes, pero esos recortes no deben perjudicar la inversión que necesitamos hacer en nuestro futuro.
Los californianos merecen este enfoque balanceado, y también merecen que sea implementado inmediatamente sin obstrucciones partidarias.
Gracias por su atención. Aquí concluye el mensaje radial del bloque demócrata de la Asamblea estatal de California.
SACRAMENTO - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement today after the Assembly passed AB 2324, legislation he authored to protect California’s public transit system:
“I am pleased AB 2324 received final approval by the Legislature today. This bill gives law enforcement the tools they need to protect our public transit systems so that Californians know they are safe and secure as they go about their daily routines. The attacks on public transit stations in Europe, as well as the recent attempted attack in New York, clearly underscore the need to ensure that our stations are as secure as possible, and AB 2324 will ensure public safety officials have the tools they need to keep our people safe.”
AB 2324 now goes to the governor’s desk. Click here to view the attached document for more details on the bill.
Assemblymembers Block, Brownley and Torlakson, California Students Highlight Need for Budget Passage to Resume Cal Grants
(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, Assemblymember Tom Torlakson (D-Contra Costa) and students from California colleges held a press conference today to urge immediate passage of the state budget. While the budget is on hold, students cannot receive the funds distributed through the Cal Grants program.
Assemblymember Block remarked that “50 years ago the California Master Plan for Higher Education promised access for all students to affordable higher education. The delay of Cal Grants illustrates how the budget impasse has begun to have real world consequences for people across the state breaking the promise of the Master Plan. Thousands of students who depend on Cal Grants to finance their fall semester are now stopped dead in their tracks – whether they were working towards a degree, or gaining new skills to rejoin the workforce. Cal Grants provide the greatest bang for the taxpayer buck because they are a proven and effective means of expanding college access and producing more graduates and retrained workers.”
"More than 41,000 students who have qualified for Cal Grants this fall are in financial limbo because Republican lawmakers have rejected the Democrats' Jobs Budget and failed to propose a solution to the $19 billion budget deficit," said Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica. "These students need the education necessary to meet industries' demand for a skilled workforce."
Assemblymember Torlakson noted that, “If California is going to remain competitive, we have to invest in our future, and Cal Grants is exactly the kind of investment we need. These students have done everything we’ve asked of them. They’ve studied hard and achieved. We need to keep our part of the bargain – both to help them and to secure our own future.”
Cal Grants are responsible for ensuring that many of the state’s best and brightest college students are given the opportunity to succeed. The failure to pass a budget is making it impossible for qualified students to afford college.
Below are links to audio from today’s news conference:
Assemblymember Block says California's college students are being hurt by the lack of a state budget. (:11) mp3
Assemblymember Block says education is the best investment California can make in its future. (:21) mp3
Assemblymember Tom Torlakson's opening remarks at today's news conference. (2:26) mp3
Assembly Education Committee Chair Julia Brownley's opening remarks at today's news conference. (2:32) mp3
Assemblymember Brownley says legislative Republicans are hurting students by blocking passage of a state budget. (:20) mp3
Alex Pader, President of Student Senate of the California Community Colleges and student at American River College, says students are struggling without their financial aid. (:10) mp3
Christopher Chavez, President of California State Student Association and student at California State University, Long Beach, says parents need to know their college age children are being hurt by the lack of a state budget. (:14) mp3
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced that four bills he has authored to protect public safety, health and the environment have cleared the State Senate and are now on their way back to the Assembly for a largely procedural vote of concurrence before being sent to the governor’s desk.
Assembly Bill 2324 – Improves Safety for Public Transit
“In light of the attempted terrorist attack in New York City, and other terrorist attacks on public transit systems around the world, it is imperative that California’s law enforcement authorities have every tool they need to protect our transit systems,” Pérez said. “AB 2324 will be another valuable tool that law enforcement professionals can use to help the rest of us go about our daily routines safely and securely.”
AB 2324, which is in response to security concerns raised by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, will help protect commuters and travelers by making it a crime to bring most weapons aboard public transit vehicles and into vulnerable areas of bus depots and train stations. The bill will also make it a crime to knowingly avoid security screenings and strengthen penalties for repeat offenders engaging in certain dangerous crimes.
Assembly Bill 2503 – Establishes Rigs-to-Reefs Program
“The rigs-to-reef program will boost marine life and helps us bring in the funds we need to protect and enhance our valuable coastal and ocean resources,” Pérez said. “The protection we provide California’s coast and our ocean will be part of the legacy we leave for generations to come.”
AB 2503 would allow the underwater portion of decommissioned oil rigs to remain in place to continue serving as valuable fish habitat. The bill would continue the removal of oil platforms from the seascape and protect ocean biodiversity, including threatened rock fish populations and millions of other sea creatures that live on these reefs. The bill would allow a rig to be converted to a reef only if the Ocean Protection Council finds that the conversion will result in a net environmental benefit.
The bill would also create the California Endowment for Marine Preservation, which would receive up to 80 percent of the cost savings from rig conversion instead of complete removal. These funds, which could amount to up to one billion dollars, could be spent by the Endowment only for ocean and marine protection projects and activities.
Air and water pollution threats associated with the full removal of these rigs, some in waters as deep as 1,200 feet, would be addressed by reducing the need for the involvement of significant industrial removal equipment that must travel from around the world.
Assembly Bill 2352 – Provides Organ Transplant Patients with Anti-Rejection Medication
“Most transplant patients require more than a year to fully recover their strength and go back to work, yet under current law, anti-rejection meds are only covered for one year,” Pérez said. “There is absolutely nothing that makes less sense than giving someone a new chance at life, then setting them up for failure by ensuring the organ is rejected.”
AB 2352 provides that Medi-Cal beneficiaries shall remain eligible to receive Medi-Cal coverage for anti-rejection medication for up to two years following an organ transplant, unless during that period the beneficiary becomes eligible for Medicare or private health insurance that would cover the medication.
Assembly Bill 2720 – Promotes Healthy Food Access
“The lack of access to healthy food is a serious health injustice that cuts across societal and geographic lines,” said Pérez. “This bill addresses this issue by proactively seeking opportunities to increase the number of grocery stores, urban and rural farm stands and farmers’ markets in communities that have no or distant access to affordable, quality and nutritious foods – communities known as food deserts.”
AB 2720, which establishes the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative, positions California to receive federal dollars under the President’s 2010 Healthy Food Financing Initiative – which was included in his 2011 budget proposal. The President’s proposal would provide up to $340 million nationwide in incentives, grants and loans to eliminate food deserts by 2017.
AB 2720 also requires the California Department of Food and Agriculture to provide recommendations to the Legislature regarding possible actions to promote access to healthy food in these underserved areas by July 1, 2011.
SACRAMENTO – AB 1602 by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), which establishes the California Health Benefits Exchange where individuals and small businesses will be able to claim the federal tax credits provided under federal health reforms, was approved today by the California State Senate. The bill is expected to pass a concurrence vote in the Assembly and be sent to the Governor this week.
“In addition to a reformed individual market where no one can be denied coverage, the health reforms enacted by the President and Congress provide significant premium subsidies and tax credits to help Californians buy quality, affordable health coverage. I wrote AB 1602 to make sure California are able to benefit from this federal funding as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Pérez said. “As we have been on so many issues, I am proud California will be one of the nation’s leaders in implementing health care reform.”
Federal health reform tasks the states with establishing new, organized marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can more readily identify and compare coverage choices, purchase value-based coverage, and access premium credits and cost sharing subsidies. AB 1602 enacts these key changes, and sets in motion the necessary duties of the California Health Benefits Exchange to ensure California can quickly use the federal planning dollars and commence operations by January 1, 2014.
Sets out the responsibilities of the Exchange, both for the individual market and the small group market, and the ground rules for participating in it, including the ability of the Exchange to selectively contract with plans to get the best combination of choice, quality, value, and customer service.
Establishes several of the requirements for the Exchange that are provided for in the federal law, including an Internet based website for presenting health plan options in a standardized, easy to understand format where an individual’s cost sharing, including premiums and any co-pays or deductibles are available, as well as an online calculator to determine federal tax credits, subsidies and the actual cost of coverage.
Sets out the responsibility to administer exemptions to the individual mandate, and creates the Small Business Health Options Program where small businesses can claim their federal tax credits.
Makes implementation of the bill contingent upon the board of the Exchange making a detailed finding that it must share with the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee that sufficient resources exist or will exist to operate the Exchange.
Establishes the California Health Trust Fund, which will consist of the federal start-up grants that commence next month and plan assessments beginning in 2014. There is no General Fund funding. The Exchange can only have one year’s operating expense in its reserve, similar to the regulatory boards under the Dept. of Consumer Affairs or must reduce the level of the assessment it charges.
Requires the Exchange to annually report to the Legislature on its activities, expenses; is subject to an annual audit; must post its budget and the salaries of its executive staff on the Exchange website.
Click here to view the attached fact sheet for more information.
SACRAMENTO – Joined by members of the Assembly and Senate today, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) unveiled a package of bipartisan legislative reforms to create greater transparency and accountability in response to the financial scandals in the City of Bell.
“The outrageous salaries paid to Bell city officials, including the city manager and city council members is insulting to the hardworking people of Bell, and all Californians,” Pérez said. “The reform package we are advancing today will prevent future Bells, and help ensure the tax dollars paid by the people of California are spent properly.”
Joining Pérez and Steinberg were Assemblymembers Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate), Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), Alyson Huber (D-El Dorado Hills), Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) and Alberto Torrico (D-Fremont).
“Transparency and accountability are important principles at all levels of government, not just here at the state level,” Smyth said. “The situation in Bell illustrates the need for legislative action to eliminate opportunities for fraud, conflicts of interest, and other potential wrongdoing. I appreciate my colleagues moving quickly to address this significant issue, and I look forward to continuing to work with them in my capacity as Chair of the Assembly Local Government Committee.”
Authoring the bills in the package are Assemblymember De La Torre, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review, Assemblymember Huber, Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Assemblymember Mike Gatto, Assemblymember Alberto Torrico as well as Senator Lou Correa, Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Employees and Retirement
“The City of Bell has brought to light the problem of local governments adopting salary and compensation agreements without adequate public disclosure,” De La Torre said. “Regardless of where people live, our local cities have a responsibility to be transparent about their contracts and expenditures. Local taxpayers have a right to know about it before they are forced to pay for it.”
“Government shouldn’t be done in the dark, plain and simple,” Huber said. “We have the ability to make more information available online than ever before yet our current system serves insiders more than it does every day Californians. AB 2064 requires all levels of government to make the salaries of elected and appointed officials publicly available on their websites.”
“We have all seen the escalating costs of public pensions put increased pressure on the budgets and well-being of state and local government,” said Torrico. “The malfeasance and abuse uncovered in the City of Bell only serves to further highlight the potential abuse of public pensions. The time to act is now. This is real and meaningful reform, which will have bi-partisan support and we hope will be signed by the Governor.”
“I was livid when I learned that the taxpayers of the City of Glendale would be on the hook for the irresponsible decisions made by the Bell City Council,” Gatto said. “This legislation would prevent that from occurring.”
“This measure provides a “one stop shopping” for the public and the press to know first hand what the compensation and employer costs are for those in the public trust, and those entrusted with the finances of their governmental agency,” State Senator Lou Correa said.
“The transparency and accountability in this package is something every Californian can get behind,” Lowenthal said. “I'm proud to join my bipartisan colleagues in advancing these critical reforms.”
Highlights of the reform package include:
AB 1955 (De La Torre) Requires the Attorney General to determine whether a charter city is an excess compensation city (any one over the existing law compensation levels for general law cities). If after a hearing the AG determines that the city is an excess compensation city then the city would be prohibited from amending an old or approving a new redevelopment plan or issuing any new debt until the issue is resolved. The bill also requires that a city council person pay 50% personal income tax on any compensation received in excess of the existing law thresholds for general law city, if the charter city is found to be an excess compensation city. These provisions only apply to charter cities and exclude any full-time city council or independently elected mayor position. The bill also amends the Brown Act to require all contracts of employees who report directly to the legislative body to be approved in open session and requires that the contents of the compensation contract be posted on the local agency’s website 7 days prior to it being ratified in an open session.
AB 827 (De La Torre) Would prevent “evergreening” clauses (no automatic renewal) in the contracts of unrepresented individuals who report directly to a legislative body of a local agency, prohibit automatic salary increases in these contracts, unless it is a cost-of-living adjustment, without the vote of a legislative body, and prohibit severance payments of greater than 12 months' salary for these non-represented employees. The measure would also require a performance review to occur prior to increasing the salary, beyond a COLA, of an unrepresented individual who reports directly to the legislative body of a local agency.
AB 2064 (Huber) Requires each house of the Legislature to annually post on its official Internet Web site the annual salary for all Legislators and all Legislative employees. Requires all constitutional officers to annually post on their official Internet Web site the annual salary for the constitutional officer, any appointed or exempt deputies, and any appointed or exempt employees. Requires each general law or charter city, county, city and county, special district, school district, and JPA to annually post on its official Internet Web site the annual salary received from the local governmental entity by each elected or appointed official, and designated employees.
AB 192 (Gatto) Would require a city, which seeks to lure a municipal employee from another city by offering an exorbitant raise, to pay for the higher pension payments that come with the raise. Under current law, the city where that employee worked for the majority of his or her career has to pay the pension at the level set by whatever city hires the employee. AB 192 would require that any city offering an employee greater than a 15% raise to pay for the associated difference in pension benefits.
SB 501 (Correa) Requires each officer or designated employee of a county, city, city and county, school district, special district, or joint powers agency (JPA), to annually file a compensation disclosure form that provides compensation information for the proceeding year. Defines "designated employee" and "officer" as a designated employee or an elected or appointed officer of a county, city, city and county, school district, special district, or JPA who is required to file a statement of economic interest pursuant to existing law.
AB 194 (Torrico) Not withstanding any other law, for the purposes of determining a retirement benefit paid to a person who first becomes a member of a public retirement system on or after January 1, 2011, the maximum salary or payrate upon which retirement benefits shall be based shall not exceed 125 percent of the salary recommended to by paid to the Governor of the State of California by the California Citizens Compensation Commission effective December 7, 2009. This amount shall be adjusted annually based on changes in the All Urban California Consumer Price Index.
“This bill brings California’s election recount process into the 21st century. Elections are a fundamental democratic principle and we must make every effort to ensure their integrity. I believe AB 44, will do just that.”
As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I know the importance of college affordability and safety. We must ensure students are provided with safe learning environments. In addition, students need transparency in higher education costs in order to make informed financial decisions for college."
"We know that students in foster care are more likely to achieve their full potential when they are provided services designed to meet their particular needs. It's imperative that foster youth get the support and resources they need to succeed academically."