TO: CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS
FROM: Mike Dillon, CLA Lobbyist and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyist
RE: News From The Capitol
GOVERNOR SIGNS BUDGET BILL – LEAVES $4.7 MILLION IN PLACE FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES
The State Capitol has been quite busy this week, as the Legislature works feverishly to pass more than 20 Budget-related “trailer bills” to compliment the larger Budget bill that was passed and sent to the Governor on June 15. The Budget has been sitting on Governor Brown’s desk since that date, and he had until midnight Wednesday to sign the Budget bill, AB 1464 by Assemblyman Blumenfield (Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee). The Governor also has the ability to use his “blue pencil” authority to make reductions to the Budget bill. Fortunately, when Governor Brown signed the Budget, at 9:30 last night, he left in place $4.7 million that we and CLA members and supporters fought so hard for, which is intended to save the public library literacy programs and the California Library Services Act from elimination. Additionally, the $4.7 million augmentation also ensures that the State Library will be able to secure approximately $15 million in corresponding federal dollars, which will protect valuable public library grants, projects, and the Braille and Talking Books program. (The Governor did not release details of his “blue pencil” reductions until 9 a.m. today).
When the Budget was sent to the Governor on June 15, Governor Brown indicated that there were not enough programmatic changes and reductions made to some of the so-called “safety net” programs, and he publicly opposed certain policy decisions made by the Democrats, such as a redevelopment agency “pass through” proposal. Thus, the two Democrat leaders and the Governor were forced to head back to the table to negotiate through these final stumbling blocks. Tuesday night, the Senate Budget Committee met to pass a series of trailer bills that acknowledge the final changes and agreements made with the Governor, including a trailer bill playfully called “Budget bill, Junior.”
The debate yesterday on the two Floors on the 20 plus trailer bills was spirited, as always, with Republicans remarking that they were left out of the Budget and trailer bill drafting process. In fact, under the terms of Proposition 25, which allows passage of a State Budget with a majority vote, the Democrats were able to successfully move forward their Budget package, without having to obtain Republican votes. Democrats on both Floors countered that because most Republicans had signed “no tax pledges,” and thus were likely not supporting the Governor’s November tax initiative, they had put themselves in a position of not being able to compromise. When several Senate Republicans stood on the Senate Floor to object to the harsh cuts in the Budget to the Healthy Families program and K-12 education, the Senate President pro Tem rose and tersely stated to his colleagues on the other side of the aisle, “You can’t fool people with selective outrage.” And so it went. By late afternoon, much of the debate had subsided and the trailer bills were on their way to the Governor. The Governor will likely take a few days to act on the package of trailer bills.