Budget Reserve Cap

The first piece below was picked up by California Political Review, but originates in the Cabinet Report. It provides a perspective on the Senate Education Committee meeting last week, where I introduced SB 590 (also see PACE and HERO).

Since 2014, there have been several attempts to repeal a cap that prohibits school districts from saving for a rainy day. This is a classic battle between elected school boards and the public teachers unions on control of tax dollars to operate school districts. Consequently, SB 590 is a righteous bill. But, it is not the only bill addressing this fiscally unconscionable issue. SB 751 by Senator Jerry Hill is also focused on this matter, is convoluted, but passed out of Committee. I still believe that SB 590 is a better bill than SB 751.

Addressing this arbitrary threshold is a bipartisan issue. Sacramento Democrats and Republicans have agreed that capping reserves limits options for schools, with 26 Sacramento Democrats — including the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Ben Allen — signing a letter to legislative leaders to get rid of the ban. Even Democrat State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson weighed in on this issue in a budget hearing earlier this year. So expect to see more on this subject matter in the near future.

This week I presented SB 59 in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, on which I serve. After making the suggested modifications from the consultant, the bill passed without opposition and also garnered key support from the Committee Chair, Senator Mark McGuire, and the head of the Senate Mental Health Caucus, Senator Jim Beall. Both requested to be co-authors of the bill (also see Senate Bill 59 and Fairview Developmental Center). It now goes before the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.

The Daily Pilot provides the conclusion of its trilogy on the pension concerns impacting the Huntington Beach City Council in the second piece below (also see Cronyism).

The discussion at the Huntington Beach City Council meeting provides a glimpse of things to come. CalPERS artificially kept employer contribution rates low for years, and now it is time to pay the proverbial piper. Taking a representative of CalPERS to task is an appropriate thing to do. Regretfully, it is not the staff of CalPERS that need a verbal lashing, its the majority of the CalPERS Board that does. The pension liability numbers are now at the staggering stage, in the near future budget officers will be facing a formidable task.

Last week’s schedule did not provide for many breaks to type out a media request about my immigrant experience. But, it is nice to know that there are at least eight of us Californians who have enjoyed this country to the point of attaining a position in the State Legislature. And I certainly proved that anyone can get elected to office. As the comedian Yakov Smirnoff was famous for saying, “America, what a country!”

KQED News provides the results of their requests for essays in the third piece below.

Legislation Moving Quickly to Allow NON QUALIFIED People Given Teaching Credentials in California

If SB 533 passes, the Democrats will be allowed to declare a State of emergency and hire unqualified people as teachers — and your child will be held hostage in a dangerous school with “teachers” that are admittedly unqualified. Any wonder the Democrats have a bill SB 808 that would limit the issuance of charter school permits.

Panel greenlights non-credentialed teacher hiring

Of the major bills before the committee, only SB 590 by Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, was outright rejected. That bill would have repealed a highly-contentious cap on how much money districts can keep in reserve — a mandate worked out behind closed doors two years ago between Gov. Jerry Brown and the CTA.
Although the CTA was strongly opposed to the bill and Moorlach is a Republican — SB 590 is one of three bills pending before the Legislature on the reserve cap issue and two of them sponsored by Democrats.

CalPERS’ pension fund ‘shortfall’ will cost Huntington Beach $23 million more

Also at the meeting, the council voted to support pension-reform legislation proposed by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).
Moorlach has proposed three bills and three amendments to the state Constitution. One amendment would “prohibit public employers from increasing retirement benefits for their employees without two-thirds voter approval.”
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