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In This Moment (7/30): Legislature Returns from Extended Recess

July 30, 2020 | Iish Ryaru

This week, the California State Legislature returned from an extended recess triggered by a spike in COVID-19 cases statewide. The Senate Education Committee also met to discuss a small number of bills, including Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s bill on Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) dollars, AB 1835.

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State Legislature Returns After COVID-19 Forces Extended Recess

The Senate Education Committee met Wednesday for its only scheduled policy hearing for the remainder of the 2020-21 legislative session. Assembly members with bills in Senate policy committees were asked to significantly limit their number of bills to only those that address the most urgent needs of students, schools and universities, and which did not add additional responsibilities or costs. In total, the Committee heard 12 bills, a fraction of the bills heard in a typical year, half of which were voted on as part of the consent calendar.

AB 1835, authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber, was likely the most anticipated bill to be voted on during this session. AB 1835 was introduced in response to a recent state audit report on the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) that found local educational agencies (LEAs) were rolling unspent supplemental and concentration funding into their general fund at the end of the year. AB 1835 would require those unspent dollars to continue to be used to increase or improve services of unduplicated students in future years. The bill passed out of the committee unanimously and will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Due to longer than expected closures related to COVID-19, the Legislature has only four more weeks to complete their work before the August 31 deadline. This short timeline seems to be creating tension between the two houses and it’s rumored that some members of the Legislature are asking the Governor to call a special legislative session to allow for more time to pass bills. While there’s been speculation of a special session for months given the uncertainty of the state needing to respond to COVID-19, there is no indication that the Governor has made a decision either way.