BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1653


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          Date of Hearing:  April 6, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                               Lorena Gonzalez, Chair


          AB  
          1653 (Weber) - As Introduced January 13, 2016


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          No


          SUMMARY:


          The bill requires the governing boards of the California  
          Community Colleges (CCC), the California State University (CSU),  
          and every private postsecondary institution, and encourages the  
          University of California (UC) Regents, to report on the campus  
          climate at their respective systems and post these report on  
          their respective websites. Specifically, this bill:









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          1)Defines campus climate as a measure of an individual's  
            experience within the learning environment, specifically  
            focusing on the current attitudes, practices, policies, and  
            behaviors of campus life that impact the success and retention  
            of all members of a campus community.


          2)Requires the reports to include: administrative efforts to  
            effect campus climate and to reduce student food insecurity  
            and student homelessness; recent campus program developments  
            impacting campus climate with respect to gender, race,  
            ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation,  
            disability, and gender identity; student demographic data; and  
            crime data, as specified.


          3)Stipulates that the Board of Governors of the CCC shall  
            request, but not require, community colleges to provide the  
            information specified in (2), and that the board's report  
            shall be based on the data made available by the districts.


          4)Requires the reports to be submitted once every biennium  
            session of the Legislature, beginning in 2017-18, to the  
            Governor, the Attorney General (AG), and the Legislature, and  
            to be posted on the segments' websites.


          5)Requires the AG to provide guidance to the respective  
            governing boards regarding compliance with the federal Jeanne  
            Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime  
            Statistics Act (Clery Act) and the federal Violence Against  
            Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA Reauthorization).


          6)Requires the CSU Trustees and community college district  
            governing boards, if spending funds for activities related to  
            campus climate, to adopt and publish policies on harassment ,  








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            intimidation, and bullying for inclusion in rules governing  
            student behavior, and requests the UC Regents to follow this  
            requirement.


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)The AG could incur GF costs up to almost $1 million annually  
            for up to three attorney positions and two support positions,  
            and related travel costs, for evaluating legal  
            responsibilities and advising higher education institutions on  
            compliance with the federal laws. 


          2)UC and CSU indicate that they can absorb any cost associated  
            with this bill, as it is generally consistent with their  
            existing efforts in this regard.


          3)Costs to the CCC Chancellor's Office would also be minor and  
            absorbable. Costs to community college districts on campus  
            climate activities to adopt and publish the appropriate  
            policies would average about $2,000 per district. These costs  
            would not be state reimbursable.


          COMMENTS:


          1)Background and Purpose. Out of concern regarding recent campus  
            climate issues at various campuses of higher education, the  
            Assembly Higher Education Committee has convened several  
            oversight hearings to look at campus climate issues.  In 2014,  
            the Assembly Select Committee on Campus Climate convened  
            several hearings examining how to strengthen overall campus  
            climate at the state's postsecondary educational institutions  
            of higher learning. 









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            In addition to the above, in a July 2015 report, the State  
            Auditor recommended that the Legislature should require the  
            DOJ to provide guidance regarding compliance with the  
            requirements of the Clery Act and the VAWA Reauthorization.  
            The auditor contemplated that the AG could conduct periodic  
            reviews of a selection of institutions' crime statistics and  
            annual security reports for federal compliance and provide  
            necessary feedback, establish a help desk for institutions to  
            call when they have compliance questions, compile a  
            comprehensive list converting crimes defined in California's  
            law to Clery Act reportable crimes, and develop and  
            disseminate training materials and conduct trainings at the  
            institutions' request.





            The author states, "By requiring a report on recent  
            developments on campus climate, the three segments of higher  
            education would keep key policymakers informed about new and  
            ongoing endeavors and developments in regards to campus  
            climate.  This bill would also allow the general public  
            (students, community organizations, staff, and faculty) to  
            have additional information to help navigate and find  
            information as well as resources to succeed in higher  
            education."


          2)Related Legislation. AB 1654 (Santiago), also on today's  
            committee agenda, requires the DOJ to provide guidance to and  
            develop model protocols for the state's public and private  
            higher education institutions and the systemwide offices of  
            UC, CSU, and the CCC regarding the state's student safety  
            laws.










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          3)Prior Legislation. AB 340 (Weber) of 2015, which was  
            substantially similar to this bill, was vetoed by the  
            Governor, who argued that the biennial reporting mandate on  
            the higher education segments was unnecessary.


          Analysis Prepared by:Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081