California Faculty Association to support legislation at two California State Assembly committee hearings

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The California State Assembly Judiciary Committee and Higher Education Committee will hold hearings on four bills Tuesday regarding higher education, including tuition freeze bill AB-393. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The California Faculty Association will attend two California Assembly hearings Tuesday on bills of particular interest to the California State University system.

Each bill will have about three or four representatives speaking to the committee on its behalf, said CFA Communications Director Alice Sunshine.

The committees can choose to either vote on the spot or push them back to a different date for further consideration. Bills usually have to pass through several committees. Once the bill passes this process, it moves onto the Senate. The final step is approval from governor Jerry Brown.

The hearings by the two committees will begin at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

Assembly Judiciary Committee

AB-21: Access to Higher Education for Every Student
Introduced by Assembly member Ash Kalra, the bill ensures that “institutions of higher education are safe spaces free of immigration enforcement activities.” The bill extends these policies to include community college districts. It establishes a notification policy for the presence of federal immigration enforcement agents on campus and puts in place points of contact for members of the campus community whom may be affected by immigration enforcement. It also provides that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students will not lose financial aid if DACA policy changes from what it was on Jan. 19.

Assembly Higher Education Committee

AB-393: Student Protection Act
Introduced by Assembly member Sharon Quirk-Silva, AB-393 asserts that state funding for the CSU is “near a 30-year low” and that “about 70 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with debt.” The bill calls for CSU tuition and mandatory system-wide fees to be frozen at the amount it was on Dec. 31, 2016 until the end of the 2019-20 academic year. The CSU Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase of 5 percent on March 22.

Introduced by Assembly member Shirley Weber, the bill attempts to increase tenure-track faculty 75 percent by 2026, seeking to hire 774 new positions in the 2018-19 academic year. Requires the CSU to issue a report on the progress of the plan.
“We feel that’s an important bill that affects students very much, as well as faculty,” Sunshine said. “Obviously, it affects the faculty because if you’re always working on temporary jobs, you don’t have much job security and you’re always wondering what you’re going to do for your job in a few months.”

The bill would create a “Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Postsecondary Education” with the aim of making “recommendations on improving access to and affordability” for Californian students. The commission would review “relevant reports” by institutions including the University of California, CSU and California Community Colleges. It also places a focus on the “needs” and “input” from “underserved or underrepresented groups in postsecondary education.” It was introduced by Assembly member Rob Bonta

Live broadcast

The hearings will be live broadcasted at
“These bills will affect all students on all CSU campuses and some of these bills will affect students on some other systems as well,” Sunshine said.

Micah Augimeri-Lee contributed to this report.

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