California Educator

October/November 2020

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T H I S W A S A legislative session like no other with the COVID- 19 pandemic. A fraction of the usual number of bills were taken up and mostly focused on the many crises that hit our state almost all at once — coronavirus, racial inequality protests, fires and rolling blackouts. It was very clear that a constant was the lack of resources and funding. CTA's calls for the Legislature and the governor to adopt a revenue stream that would help with reopening schools safely and prevent looming cuts were heard loudly in the Capitol. Lawmakers and Gov. Newsom adopted a budget that prevented deep cuts for the present, but unless the HEROES Act or a differ- ent federal stimulus and recovery package is enacted, the cuts could come later this year. During the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 154 billionaires who live in California got more than $175 billion richer, and 11 new billionaires joined the club. CTA appreciates the courage and leadership of Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and others who introduced AB 1253, which would have imposed additional i n c o m e t a xe s o n h i g h w a g e e a r n e r s (s e e p a g e 3 7 ) . An d A s s e m b ly Me m b e r R o b B o n t a ( D - O a k l a n d ) i n t r o d u c e d A B 2 0 8 8 — a f i r st - i n - t h e - n a t i o n t a x o n n e t w o r t h . T h i s proposed wealth tax w ould have gen erat ed an estimat ed $7.5 billion per year. Working in partnership with labor partners and a broad coa- lition, CTA fought hard for this revenue stream. Unfortunately, despite all the engagement and support as well as the response from officials, both of these bills failed to pass before the end of the session and therefore died. Now the state faces a $20 billion shortfall to start the next fiscal year. Gov. Newsom has not ruled out calling a special session, but it's unlikely it would happen before Election Day. On the f lip side, a lot of great work went into passing leg- islation that will help students, educators and families in our communities as we continue to live through this pandemic. Here are bills that CTA fought for successfully. Stay updated o n th e s e bi l l s a n d o th e r i m p o r t a n t l e g i sl a t i o n a t During an unprecedented legislative session, Assembly members practiced social distancing (left) and wore masks, like Assembly Member Marc Berman (D-Los Altos), to safely complete necessary business. Elected Officials Focus on Justice During Crisis Unique legislative session for unprecedented times By Claudia Briggs 39 O C T O B E R / N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 A

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