In February, Managing Partner Rick R. Olivarez attended a NALEO Educational Fund event in Washington D.C. to witness the presentation of the Edward R. Roybal Award for Outstanding Public Service.
Mr. Olivarez was recently elected to serve on the Board of the NALEO Educational Fund. NALEO is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization facilitating the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, and promoting the governance and policymaking success of Latino elected and appointed officials across the country. The award was given to eight members of the U.S. Senate (Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio and Charles Schumer) recognizing their efforts to reform immigration by developing and securing passage of bipartisan legislation.
Olivarez Madruga is pleased to announce that Tom Madruga has been elected for the 2014 Super Lawyers list, marking the 7th year of this achievement for Tom. We’re proud to have this exceptional attorney helping to lead our litigation practice, and think it is great that Super Lawyers recognizes that Tom is among the best of the best. Congratulations, Tom.
Assembly Bill 354 requires the impartial analysis for a local ballot measure to specify whether the ballot measure was placed on the ballot either by a petition signed by the requisite number of voters or by the legislative body. Legislative body attorneys are already required to prepare such an impartial analysis for each ballot measure in order to provide voters with objective information concerning the proposed measure’s effects. Such analyses will now be required to contain the additional specification as to how the particular ballot measure was placed on the ballot, within the existing 500 word limit applicable to impartial analyses.
Conflict of Interest
Moreover, Assembly Bill 409 authorized the FPPC to establish a statewide online system that will allow public officials to electronically file their economic interest statements. These statements, or Form 700s, are mandatory periodic statements of economic interest that disclose financial information such as income and investments. This bill was passed as emergency legislation and became effective on October 8, 2013.
- The name and contact information of the Agency;
- A list of the types of personal information compromised;
- The time and date of the breach;
- The length of any delays between the breach and notice;
- A general description of the incident; and
- Contact information for credit reporting agencies.
Public Bidding and Contracts
With regard to community college districts only, Assembly Bill 173 modifies the Small Business and Procurement Contract Act to allow such districts to award a contract for goods, services, or information technology with a value between $5,000 and $250,000 to a certified small business, including a microbusiness and a disabled veteran business enterprise, without complying with certain competitive bidding requirements. A community college district utilizing this bidding exception must obtain price quotations of two or more certified small businesses. A community college district must also consider any responsible offer from a responsible certified small business including a microbusiness or disabled veteran business enterprise.
Senate Bill 681 adds language to Public Contract Code section 20652 permitting community college districts, where there is an existing contract between a vendor and another public agency, to lease or purchase materials, supplies and equipment directly from the vendor under the same terms and conditions that are available to the other public agency under its contract with the vendor. Community college districts may deal directly with vendors on “piggyback” contracts (lawful contracts held by other public agencies) under the same terms and conditions as provided in the other agency’s contract.
Assembly Bill 56 requires the State Fire Marshal to propose appropriate standards for the installation of carbon monoxide devices in school buildings, by January 1, 2015. With this guidance, the California Building Standards Commission will then include the standards in the 2016 California Building Standards Code, and any public or private school buildings built after these codes have been adopted in 2016 will be required to install carbon monoxide detectors. A public school that uses a school building for K-12 educational purposes that was built before the adoption of title 24 of the California Code of Regulations and has a fossil fuel burning furnace located inside the school building is encouraged to have a carbon monoxide device installed in such building.
Retirement and Pensions
AB 1381 harmonizes the Teachers’ Retirement Law (“TRL”) with PEPRA. Some of the salient modifications to the TRL are:
- Defines “public employer” in the TRL for both the Defined Benefit Program and the Cash Balance Benefit Program by referencing the definition of “public employer” in the PEPRA;
- Makes changes to provisions governing age factors and normal retirement age;
- Makes various changes to provisions governing the limits on amount and types of compensation;
- Prohibits 2% at 62 members from receiving any benefits from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) in excess of the federal limit by excluding them from the Replacement Benefits Program; and
- Restricts the purchase of non-qualified service in the TRL.
Assembly Bill 556 amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) by adding “military and veteran status” to the list of categories protected from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Members or veterans of the United States Armed Forces, United States Armed Forces Reserve, the United States National Guard, and the California National Guard possess such “military and veteran status.” Notwithstanding this protection, employers may make inquiries regarding military or veteran status in the consideration of awarding a lawful veteran preference. Local agencies should ensure that their employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation policies are amended to include this new protected category of “military and veteran status.”
Senate Bill 292 amends FEHA’s definition of “sexual harassment” to state that “[s]exually harassing conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire.” This amendment is a direct response to the California Court of Appeal case of Kelley v. Conco Companies, which held that a plaintiff in a same-sex harassment case must prove that the harasser harbored a sexual desire for the plaintiff in order to prevail on the sexual harassment cause of action. Under the new law, harassment based on sex can include harassment between people of the same sex even if sexual desire is not present or cannot be proven.
Economic Development Subsidies
- Name and address of any business entity benefiting from the subsidy;
- Subsidy beginning and end dates;
- A description of the subsidy and estimated total amount of the expenditure of public funds, or revenue lost, as a result of the subsidy;
- A statement of the public purpose of the subsidy;
- Projected tax revenue to the city or county as a result of the subsidy; and
- Estimated number of jobs created by the subsidy, broken down by full-time, part-time and temporary positions.
A district will not need to return any money to the SAB if the surplus property is sold more than ten years after the funds were used for the property or if it is sold to a charter school, school district, county office of education, or any agency that will use the property exclusively for child care and development services. Additionally, the refunding requirements would not apply if the district leases the property or if it uses the proceeds of the sale for capital outlay.
Assembly Bill 1030 provides guidance as to what the governing board of a community college district may do if a student member’s seat becomes vacant during his or her term. Specifically, AB 1030 provides that if the seat of a student member becomes vacant during his or her term, the governing board may authorize the officers of the student body association to appoint a student to serve the remainder of the term in accordance with procedures established by the governing board.
Senate Bill 150 will authorize community college districts to exempt a student, attending a community college as a special part-time student, from paying nonresident tuition at the community college. Currently, the Governing Board of a school district allows students, that the school district has determined would benefit from advanced scholastic or vocational work, to attend a community college as special part-time or full-time students. In addition, community college districts are currently authorized to admit nonresident students but are required to charge the students a nonresident tuition fee. Through June 30, 2013, the per-unit nonresident fee was two times the amount of the resident fee. Beginning July 1, 2013, the per-unit nonresident fee was changed to three times the amount of the resident fee. Currently, community colleges are only authorized to exempt special part-time students from paying the $46 per unit per semester enrollment fee.
In addition, AB 449 specifies that failing to report misconduct to the CTC may result in serious penalties for a superintendent. Specifically, failing to report employee misconduct will constitute unprofessional conduct and could subject the superintendent to adverse actions by the CTC. In addition, refusing or willfully neglecting to make the report will now be a misdemeanor, punishable by not less than $500 or more than $1,000. If such a fine is imposed, it will be the personal responsibility of the superintendent.
This legislation codifies, in the Education Code, the reporting obligation on superintendents that currently appears as a part of the state’s administrative regulations in the California Code of Regulations, title 5, section 80303.
Currently, state law prohibits schools from allowing access to pupil records to any person without parental consent or judicial order, unless under special circumstances. Assembly Bill 1068 loosens this prohibition by allowing pupil records to be released to a pupil who is at least 14 years of age, a homeless child or youth, and an unaccompanied youth. This legislation also bars the release of directory information of a pupil who is a homeless youth or child, unless a parent or eligible pupil has given written consent that such information may be released. This amendment to Education Code sections 49073 and 49076 will enable many homeless children to access necessary information needed when seeking community agency assistance. School districts should revise all relevant record policies and procedures to reflect this legislative amendment.
Continuation School Placement