California Educator

November 2015

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Page 39 of 59

THE STATE BUDGET By Jan. 10 every year, the governor has to unveil his proposed spending plan for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. His plan is based on then-current estimates of state revenues. His preliminary spending plan (including edu- cation appropriations) is incorporated in two bills, one in the Senate and one in the Assembly. Each house's budget committee begins examining the proposals, primarily in subcommittees of its budget committee. By mid-May, the governor submits an updated plan, based on newer estimates. The "May Revision" becomes the basis of legislative actions that move each bill to its house floor. By June 15, the two houses must cra a sin- gle spending proposal that they send to the governor for his review. He has until June 30 to sign the final measure into law. He also has the power to make line-item spending reductions prior to signing the budget. EDUCATION LEGISLATION To become law, bills must gain the approval of both the Senate and Assembly and then secure the governor's signature. Oen prompted by constituents, including CTA representatives, legislators introduce bills in January. All bills go through at least one policy committee. Generally, bills affecting public schools move through the Assembly Education and the Senate Education committees. In some instances, a bill may also head to a second policy committee, such as Judiciary or Public Employees, if other issues are involved. If the Education Committee approves a measure, the bill will usually head to the Senate or Assembly Appropriations Committee if its implementa- tion would include some significant costs. From these committees, bills that gain approval move to the floor of their house of origin. If passed there, the bills go through a similar process in the other house. The version passing the second house, if different from the original, must go back to the first house for "concur- rence." From there, it heads to the governor. His signing "enacts" the bill. His veto "kills" it. The Legislature can overturn a governor's veto, but it takes a two-thirds vote in both houses. It has been known to happen — but only rarely. E V E R W A N T T O K N O W how legislation becomes the laws that help or hinder our efforts to educate our students? With the Legislature in recess until Janu- ary, now is a great time to look at how things work in the state Legislature. So here's a two-minute briefing. During an Education Committee hearing, CTA members who work at charter schools testify from their personal experience about the need for increased accountability and transparency at the state's charter schools. LEGISLATIVE PRIMER How and when do things happen in the State Capitol? During budget deliberations in May, CTA members receive briefings from CTA budget experts and advocates. Using this information and training, the educators later meet with their lawmakers in support of higher appropriations for schools. By LEN FELDMAN 38

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