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State Relations

The State Update

Is a document created by the Governmental Division and presented to both the Board of Governors and Consultation Council as an informational document that outlines legislation that is significant to the Chancellor’s Office and to the California Community College system.

State Update 2016


The Legislature was on recess from September 11, 2015, to January 4, 2016. The Governor introduced his budget January 7, 2016. The next key date is January 15, 2016, when legislation introduced last year that has a fiscal effect (cost) will have to pass the policy committee in the house that introduced the measure. This means that bills on the matrix that were listed as two-year bills and were not heard last year must pass in the Assembly Higher Education Committee, the Senate Education Committee or other appropriate committee or move no further.   

Because the Legislature operates in a two-year session, many of last year’s bills are still viable. Until key dates pass in 2016, bills from 2015 still have a chance. Bills that were almost at the Governor’s desk, but were pulled back before being sent to him, can move forward late in the legislative session.  The bill deadlines apply to the bill number not the substance of the bill, so we have to be on alert for possible “gut-and-amends” (bills that are amended with entirely new content) right up to the end of session. While many of the two-year bills are still viable as “vehicles” for other subjects, we expect to see a number of new bills introduced by the February 19, 2016, deadline.  Persistence pays off in the Capitol, and many of the same bill concepts have been reintroduced every year for the past several years. One of these reintroduced bills may successfully pass because of a new committee chair, new staff, a new author, a change in the economy, etc.

January 2016 Update (PDF)


With the February 19, 2016, deadline to introduce legislation fast approaching, we are tracking more bills on our legislative matrix each day. While new bills are introduced, some of the measures that were introduced in 2015 are dropped when they fail to meet deadlines. However, we still have a number of these bills, referred to as “two-year” bills that will be viable late into the session. Some bills, including AB 13 (Chavez) and AB 27 (Chavez), had their issues addressed through other measures and so these bills may be used as “vehicles” for other issues late in the session.

February 2016 Update (PDF)


The February 19, 2016, deadline to introduce legislation arrived with the usual deluge of new bills.  A number of these bills are placeholders for more substantive language than what is in print.  These are called “spot bills,” and in some cases only change a word or two of current law.  Because the bill language is essentially current law, it easily passes the Legislative Counsel’s review and meets the deadline. Following the bill introduction deadline, we find nearly one-third of the bills we are tracking in the top two priority levels on our matrix are spot bills. Because the Legislature’s Joint Rules do not allow a bill to be heard or amended for thirty days after introduction, most of the bills recently introduced will not be heard until after the Legislature’s Spring Recess that begins on March 17, and ends March 28. The Legislature will have until April 22 to hear all bills that have a fiscal effect in the policy committee in the first house. For most of our bills, the policy committee will be the Assembly Committee on Higher Education for bills introduced in the Assembly, and the Senate Education Committee for bills introduced in the Senate.

March 2016 Update (PDF)


At this point in the legislative calendar, policy committees are holding bill hearings for measures to meet the April 22 deadline to pass their committees in the first house. The policy committees that hear bills that affect our system are usually the Assembly Committee on Higher Education and the Senate Education Committee.  Following the policy committee’s approval, measures that use funds from the budget or present an additional cost pressure to add funds to the budget are sent to the fiscal committees, also known as the Appropriations Committee. The deadline for a bill to pass the fiscal committee in the first house is May 27, 2016. When bills are sent to the Committee, the staff will analyze the measure and often make recommendations for amending the measure.  Bills may pass as amended but the specific changes to the measure may not be readily available.  

April 2016 Update (PDF)


The deadline for bills to pass their policy committee in the first house is now behind us and while the policy committees may still hear non-fiscal bills through May 6, 2016, the next key date to note is May 27, 2016.  This is the deadline for a bill to pass the fiscal committee, also known as the “Appropriations Committee,” in the first house.  Both houses’ Appropriations Committees are analyzing and hearing measures, and during these hearings they include witnesses from the Department of Finance (DOF). The DOF staff testifies on each measure they have analyzed noting the effect of the bill on the state budget.  Some measures clearly have costs, while others may have “cost pressure,” which means the bill may create statute that could require the state to add funds to implement the new law in the future. Nearly all bills with cost concerns will be sent to the “Suspense File,” which is where bills are held while the committee determines if there’s sufficient state funding for implementation. On or near the deadline of May 27, both houses’ fiscal committees will hold hearings to announce which bills have passed, passed with amendments, or were “held” by the committee. Measures that remain on the Suspense File are held by the committee and will not move forward any further in the legislative process. 

May 2016 Update (PDF)





State Update 2015


The Legislature was sworn in on December 1, 2014, and promptly recessed until January 5, 2015. A relatively small number of bills were introduced, but many more are expected by the February 27, 2015, deadline. Of the bills introduced in December 2014 for the 2015-2016 legislative session, approximately 16 measures affect community colleges. History tells us that by the bill introduction deadline we should see between 150 and 200 bills addressing community college issues.

January 2015 Update (PDF)


The February 27, 2015, deadline to introduce legislation is fast approaching, and we have about 40 bills affecting community colleges currently listed on our legislative matrix. Recent history has shown that we should see four or five times the number of bills currently on our matrix by the time all of the bills have been introduced.


To meet the bill deadline, many members will introduce bills that have minor changes to current statute or are nearly void of language that would change state law. These measures are called “spot” bills and may be used to address issues very different than what is currently in the bill.  For example, a bill by Senator Walters was introduced with minor changes to statute affecting the Board of Governors. The changes are not substantive, and Senator Walters’ seat is now vacant with her election to Congress last November.  The measure was likely introduced for use by the minority caucus and/or her replacement.  Because the bill uses current law, and would make only minor changes, it passes the Legislative Counsel’s Office review without delay, ensuring it meets the bill introduction deadline.


February 27, 2015, was the deadline to introduce legislation in the first year of the 2015-16 legislative session. However, the State Legislative Update was written prior to this date and we expect many more bills to be added to our "bills of interest" that are not represented in this document. Please see the information at the end of this document to join our list serve to receive more information on legislation. A number of the bills recently introduced are placeholders and will have substantive revisions in the near future.

March 2015 Update (PDF)


After returning from the Spring Recess, the Legislature’s focus has turned to budget and bill hearings with a deadline of May 1 for policy committees to hear bills with a fiscal effect. At this point, many of the spot bills will either be amended to be more substantive measures or will fail to meet bill hearing deadlines for the appropriate policy committee. The policy committees for most of the bills we monitor are usually the Assembly Committee on Higher Education and the Senate Education Committee. Often committee staff will suggest amendments in the bill’s analysis and the bill will be voted on “as amended” during the hearing, but the changes in the bill language will be revealed in an amended version of the bill after the committee hearing. Therefore, it is helpful to review the bill analysis and monitor changes in the measures after it passes in the committees.

April 2015 Update (PDF)


With the deadline of May 1 for policy committees to hear bills with a fiscal effect, the fate of a number of bills is currently being determined. Because this is the first year of the two-year session, bills that do not meet the deadline are still "alive" because they can be heard next year. The measures that are not moving forward this year, but are still viable are called "two-year bills" and are often held back to resolve concerns raised by opposition parties or because more information is needed. As bills move forward they are often amended to comply with amendments recommended by policy committee staff and may be amended further if they move on to the Appropriations Committees to reduce the costs of the bill. Interested parties should continue to review the bill analyses and monitor changes in the measures after they pass in the committees. The next major deadline for bills will be on May 29, 2015, when measures must pass the Appropriations Committees in order to continue to move forward this year.

May 2015 Update (PDF)



The California Constitution requires the State Budget to be passed by midnight on June 15.  Although the Legislature’s focus has now turned to the State Budget, a couple of key deadlines for legislation have recently passed, including the deadline for all measures to move out of their house of origin.  Bills that were held in the Senate or Assembly Appropriations Committees or failed passage on the Senate or Assembly floor in this first year of the two-year session will not advance now but are still “alive” for next year.  These measures are now listed separately on our legislative matrix following our lowest priory bills in tier 3.  Some of the bills that were held in the Appropriations Committees or failed passage on the floor were significant bills of interest.  Bills that supported services to veterans but did not have a funding source were held, and all of the bills that would have placed a statewide bond on the 2016 ballot were held or failed. We may see these measures move forward next year, or the language in the measure could be introduced in a new bill in 2016.

June 2015 Update (PDF)


Now that the 2015-16 State Budget Act and the budget trailer bills have been signed into law, the Legislature will focus on legislation in the regular and special sessions until they recess this first year of the two-year legislative session. The next key deadline is July 17, 2015, when policy committees must conclude their work on bills with a fiscal effect. The Legislature then takes a month long recess until August 17, 2015. Less than two weeks after the recess ends, the deadline for bills passing out of the fiscal (appropriations) committees is August 28, 2015.  These deadlines are only for the regular session, but are still helpful in determining when the Legislature will work on the special sessions’ measures. All that said, we anticipate a very busy summer as we enter the remaining two months prior to recess.

July 2015 Update (PDF)

Since the Board of Governors and Consultation Council did not meet in August there is no State Update.


The Legislature is nearing the end of its 2015 calendar with the Interim Study Recess beginning upon adjournment on September 11, 2015; the Legislature will then reconvene on January 4, 2016.  The most recent deadline was for bills to pass out of the fiscal (Appropriations) committees by August 28, 2015.  The final Appropriations Committee hearing for 2015 was held on August 27, one day before the deadline.  A number of our bills of interest passed with amendments in the Appropriations Committees. The chairs of the committees made brief statements describing the amendments; however, specific language for the proposed amendments may not be available for a few days following the committee’s actions. Bills making it out of the Appropriations Committees have just a few more steps before being sent to the Governor. After action taken on the house floor, a bill may be sent through the enrolling and engrossing process, the final, administrative step that the Legislature takes before sending a bill to the Governor.  All bills must be passed by the Legislature by September 11, 2015, in order to be sent to the Governor during the regular session. The Governor will have until October 11, 2015, to sign or veto all bills in his possession. If the Governor does not act on a measure, it automatically becomes law.

September 2015 Update (PDF)



The Legislature adjourned on September 11, 2015, and will reconvene on January 4, 2016. The Governor has until October 11, 2015, to sign or veto all bills in his possession. If the Governor does not act on a measure, it automatically becomes law.  

In the final days of the legislative session a few measures that were nearly through the legislative process were, for various reasons, held back by the authors of the bills and placed on the “inactive file.” Although these bills will not move any further this year, they are now “two-year” bills and are still eligible to be passed in 2016.

October 2015 Update (PDF)


Governor Brown finished signing and vetoing enrolled bills by the October 11, 2015, deadline.  The vast majority of measures signed by the Governor will become law on January 1, 2016. The exceptions, which became law upon the Governor’s signature, include measures with an urgency clause, which require a two-thirds vote to pass, the budget bill, and the trailer bills that support the budget.

Of the fifteen bills on which we had a position of “support,” the Governor signed eleven and vetoed four. The bills signed into law included our sponsored bill on concurrent enrollment, Assembly Bill 288 by Assembly Member Chris Holden. One of the four supported measures vetoed by Governor Brown was Assembly Bill 82 by Assembly Member Cristina Garcia. AB 82 (Garcia) would have set up a system to register for selective service through the Department of Motor Vehicles, but was amended by the Senate Appropriations Committee in a way that prompted the sponsor to request that the bill not be signed into law. The Governor also vetoed two measures we supported that would have expanded participation in Cal Grants, explaining in his veto messages that he did not want to increase General Fund costs outside of the budget process. One of these measures, Assembly Bill 573 (Medina), would have provided relief to students who were affected by the Corinthian Colleges closure, and the other, Assembly Bill 1361 (Burke), would have eliminated the age cap of 28 years old for veterans for the Community College Cal Grant Transfer Entitlement grant.  

The Legislature adjourned on September 11, 2015, and will reconvene on January 4, 2016.

November 2015 Update (PDF)

Since the Board of Governors and Consultation Council did not meet in December there is no State Update.