BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Carol Liu, Chair
                           2013-2014 Regular Session
                                        

          BILL NO:       AB 2736
          AUTHOR:        Assembly Higher Education Committee
          AMENDED:       June 9, 2014
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  June 18, 2014
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:Kathleen Chavira

           SUBJECT  :  Postsecondary Education.
          
           SUMMARY  

          This bill authorizes the California State University  
          Trustees to fix a voluntary fee, as defined, for voluntary  
          membership in the statewide student organization, and makes  
          several corrections and changes to various provisions of  
          the Education Code affecting the California State  
          University.

           BACKGROUND  

          Current law authorizes a student body organization to be  
          established at any state university under the supervision  
          of the university officials and outlines the activities  
          which may be undertaken by the organization.  Current law  
          also authorizes the CSU trustees to fix fees for voluntary  
          membership in the student organization.  

          Current law requires the trustees to fix a membership fee  
          to be required of all students attending the university, if  
          a student body organization is established upon the  
          favorable vote of two-thirds of the students voting. Once  
          approved, the trustees may approve an increase or decrease  
          in the fee only if such has been approved by a majority of  
          students voting and provides that these fees be a  
          prerequisite to enrollment at the university, as specified.  
           Current law prohibits this fee from being charged to  
          students registering solely in extension classes.   

          Current law authorizes the expenditure of these fees to  
          provide for the support of governmental affairs  








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          representatives who may be attending upon the State  
          Legislature or the offices and agencies of the executive  
          branch of state government.  (Education Code  89300)

          Current law establishes the CSU Board of Trustees and  
          specifies its composition.  Current law provides for two  
          student representatives on the Board and requires that the  
          Governor appoint the students from a list of names provided  
          by the governing board of any statewide student  
          organization that represents the students of the CSU and  
          the student body organizations of the campuses of the CSU.   
          (Education Code  66602)
           
          ANALYSIS
           
           This bill  :

          1)   Authorizes the CSU trustees to fix fees for voluntary  
               membership in the statewide student organization. 

          2)   Defines that the fee for membership in a student  
               organization is voluntary if a student has the ability  
               to affirmatively elect to pay the fee, or to decline  
               the payment of the fee each time the fee is assessed.   


          3)   Makes several non-controversial changes and  
               corrections to existing Education Code provisions.   
               It:

                    a)             Changes the date by which an  
                    ongoing Legislative Analyst's Office report on  
                    the California State University (CSU) Early Start  
                    Program must be delivered from January 1 to July  
                    1, beginning in 2016, and extends the sunset date  
                    of these provisions from January 1, 2018 to July  
                    1, 2018.

                    b)             Deletes irrelevant reporting  
                    requirements relative to the CSU authority to  
                    offer the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) and  
                    sunsets the reporting requirement in January 1,  









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                    2021.

                    c)             Changes the due date of a  
                    statutorily required report disclosing the  
                    acceptance of any gift of personal property by  
                    the CSU Trustees from January 5 to January 31,  
                    annually.

           STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Technical changes  .  This bill makes several technical  
               changes to provisions of the Education Code affecting  
               the CSU.  The bill makes the following three changes:

                Section 1  .  To address concerns regarding the large  
               number of incoming freshmen at the CSU requiring  
               remediation, Executive Order 1048 was issued in 2010,  
               creating the Early Start Program.  Entering freshmen  
               not proficient in math or "at risk" in English are  
               required to start the remediation process before their  
               first term at CSU.  Students are given a menu of  
               options to determine the best approach to start their  
               remedial instruction, including senior year high  
               school courses, courses offered in the summer at any  
               one of their local California Community College (CCC)  
               or CSU campuses and online courses.  Legislation  
               enacted in 2012      (AB 2497, Solorio), required the  
               CSU to work with the LAO on an ongoing series of  
               reports showing the impact of CSU's Early Start  
               Program on students needing remediation. Currently,  
               the law requires a report be submitted on January 1,  
               2014, and then subsequently every two years after  
               that.  According to the CSU, requiring the report in  
               January does not allow sufficient time to ensure that  
               data for the current year is reviewed and prepared for  
               transmission to the LAO.  This bill moves the  
               reporting deadline, to July 1, beginning in 2016, to  
               ensure LAO can base its report on the most recent  
               program data.  The bill also makes conforming changes  
               to related sunset provisions.  
                
               Section 2  .  CSU was granted the authority to establish  









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               a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree pilot  
               program at three campuses in 2010 (AB 867, Nava,  
               Chapter 416).  The CSU is also required, in  
               collaboration with LAO and the Department Of Finance,  
               to conduct a statewide evaluation of these pilot  
               programs by January 1, 2017.  Compromise on the bill  
               came together in the final hours of session and the  
               evaluation requirements were taken from prior  
               legislation authorizing and requiring the evaluation  
               of the newly granted CSU authority to offer an EdD  
               degree.  As a result, some of the language in the DNP  
               report is unrelated to the pilot program.  This bill  
               deletes language that requires reporting on public  
               school and community college program partners, and  
               sunsets the reporting requirement provisions on  
               January 1, 2021.

                Section 3  .  Current law authorizes the CSU Trustees to  
               accept, on behalf of the state, gifts or donations of  
               real or personal property, as specified.  These  
               "gifts" are required to be annually reported to the  
               California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC),  
               the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and the  
               Department of Finance by January 5.  The CSU has been  
               consistently late in reporting this information  
               because the Trustees must review and approve the  
               report at their annual January meeting prior to  
               releasing the report to the specified entities.  The  
               Trustees meeting schedule does not permit the report  
               to be released by the January 5 deadline.  In  
               addition, the Governor's veto of funding for CPEC  
               resulted in the closure of the CPEC office in November  
               2011.  This bill moves the due date for this annual  
               report from January 5 to January 31, and provides that  
               the report may continue to go to CPEC or to a  
               successor agency to the CPEC.  

           2)   Why the change in fee authority  ? In March 2014, the  
               California State Student Association (CSSA), the  
               recognized statewide student organization for  
               California State University students, requested the  
               establishment of a systemwide voluntary fee to fund  









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               their programs and activities.  Currently, CSSA is  
               dependent on a voluntary portion of membership fees  
               collected by the 23 local student associations, which  
               has been augmented in recent years by an annual  
               allocation of the Chancellor's Office. 
                
                According to the Board of Trustees agenda item,  
               authorization of a voluntary student fee would create  
               a long-term, stable revenue stream to fully implement  
               student participation, enable the CSSA to establish a  
               higher degree of financial independence from the CSU  
               system and allow students the individual choice to  
               contribute financially to statewide student  
               representation. 

               According to the CSU, current law clearly grants the  
               Trustees the authority to establish a voluntary  
               membership at a state university, but there is a need  
               to clarify the Trustees' authority to establish a  
               voluntary fee at the systemwide level, before they can  
               act on the California State Student Association (CSSA)  
               request.  This bill proposes that clarification by  
               specifically authorizing the Trustees to establish a  
               "voluntary" fee for the purposes of funding the  
               statewide student organization.

           3)   How does the current voluntary fee work  ?  Current law  
               authorizes the CSU trustees to fix a fee for voluntary  
               membership in a student organization at a campus  
               subject to the following:
                
                   a)        The fee is voluntary to the extent that  
                    it may only be fixed if two-thirds of the  
                    students voting in an election for this purpose  
                    elect the fee.

                  b)        Once voted, the trustees are required to  
                    fix a membership fee which is required of all  
                    students, other than those enrolled solely in  
                    extension classes.

                  c)        Increases or decreases so the fee may  









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                    only be approved by the trustees if approved by a  
                    majority of voting students. 

                  d)        Payment of these fees is required to be a  
                    prerequisite to enrollment, with exceptions for  
                    students who work off the fee, as specified. 

           1)   How is the new fee supposed to work  ?  According to the  
               sponsor, the new fee authorized by the bill is  
               expected to operate differently from the current fee  
               for campus level student organizations. 
                
                For the statewide student organization:
                
                a)        The Trustees are authorized to fix a  
                    voluntary membership fee for the statewide  
                    student organization.

               b)        A student has the ability to affirmatively  
                    elect to pay the fee, or a clear and unambiguous  
                    means to decline payment of the fee, each time  
                    the fee is assessed. 

               As currently drafted, the bill does not clearly  
               distinguish between existing fee authority to fund  
               campus student organizations, and the requirements to  
               be met to fund the newly authorized voluntary fee to  
               fund the statewide student organization.  In addition,  
               though not the intent, it appears to establish a new  
               mandatory fee.  According to the sponsor, the  
               modifications to current law are intended to clarify  
               and distinguish between 
               the voluntary fee established by the bill and the  
               existing authority to establish a campus based fee. 

               Staff recommends the bill be amended to create a new  
               subdivision which authorizes the voluntary fee for the  
               statewide student organization, and clarifies that for  
               this purpose, a student shall have the ability to  
               elect to pay the fee or opt out of paying the fee,  
               each time it is assessed. 










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           2)   Need for clearer cross reference  .  This bill  
               identifies the statewide student organization at the  
               CSU by cross referencing statute that establishes the  
               organization's role in appointing a student  
               representative to the CSU Board of Trustees.  Staff  
               recommends the bill be amended to replace the cross  
               reference with "the statewide student organization  
               that represents the students of the California State  
               University and the student body organizations of the  
               campuses of the California State University."

           3)   CSU fees  .  Below is a summary of the types of fees  
               which the CSU system and or a CSU campus may levy.


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           SUPPORT  

          California State Student Association
          California State University

           OPPOSITION

           None received.