California Community College Legislation Roundup: New Laws for 2020
Since the October 13, 2019 deadline, Governor Gavin Newsom completed final action on more than 1,000 bills for the 2019 legislative year. Below are some of the newer ones that affect Community Colleges in California.
All of the new laws listed below will take effect on January 1, 2020.
AB 51: Employment Discrimination
AB 51 adds section 12953 to the Government Code and section 432.6 to the Labor Code, which prohibit an employer from requiring any applicant for employment or any employee to waive any right to file for a violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or other specific statutes governing employment, as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit. The bill also prohibits an employer from threatening, retaliating or discriminating against, or terminating any applicant for employment or any employee because of the refusal to consent to a waiver of their rights. Government Code section 12953 specifically makes those violations of Labor Code section 432.6 unlawful employment practices under FEHA.
AB 703: Fee Waivers for Exonerated Persons
AB 703 adds section 69000 to the Education Code, which prohibits community college districts from collecting mandatory systemwide tuition and fees from persons who are exonerated of crimes by writ of habeas corpus or pardon, as specified, and who meet certain requirements.
AB 809: Child Development Programs, Priority Enrollment, and Title IX protection for Pregnancy and Parental Status
AB 809 adds sections 66061 and 66281.7 to the Education Code, which require community colleges to post on their internet website, and to provide to an expectant parent through on-campus health clinics, notification of protections under Title IX for pregnant students and parenting students. It also encourages child development programs established by community colleges to give specified priority to children of students who are single parents and who meet specified income requirements.
AB 1278: Website Notification of Public Services and Programs
AB 1278 adds section 66027.6 to the Education Code, which requires each community college campus to include on the internet website-based account for an enrolled student notification of, and a link to information on, specified public services and programs, including the CalFresh program, county or local housing resources, and county or local mental health services.
AB 1504 amends section 76060.5 to the Education Code, which requires officials at a community college, if a student body association has been established at the college, to collect a student representation fee of $2 at the time of registration, and eliminates the authorization for a student election to terminate the fee. It also eliminates the requirement that the student provide a reason for refusing to pay the fee.
SB 142: Lactation Accommodation
SB 142 amends sections 1030, 1031, 1033 and 1034 of the Labor Code to require an employer to provide a lactation room or location that includes prescribed features, and access to a sink and refrigerator in close proximity to the employee’s workspace. SB 142 also makes the denial of reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk a failure to provide a rest period in accordance with state law. It also prohibits an employer from discharging, discriminating or retaliating against, an employee for exercising or attempting to exercise rights under these provisions and would establish remedies that include filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner. Employers with fewer than 50 employees can seek an exemption from these requirements if the employer demonstrates that the requirement posed an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense. SB 142 also requires an employer to develop and implement a policy regarding lactation accommodation and make it available to employees.
SB 150: Chafee Grant Awards
SB 150 amends section 69519 of the Education Code, which requires that, commencing with the 2021–22 award year, this bill authorizes the Student Aid Commission to make initial award offers of up to 200% of total state and federal program funding available for all awards. The Commission is required to make award offers contingent upon available funding, and the Commission may adjust or withdraw offers to ensure that awards do not exceed available program funding. SB 150 also imposes certain requirements on a student who fails to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress to maintain Chafee grant eligibility, and takes away Chafee grant eligibility from a student who fails to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress. SB 150 also requires community colleges to provide an appeal process in writing and reinstate the student’s Chafee grant when certain conditions are met. Community colleges are also required to provide all Chafee grant recipients, upon release of the first payment, with information regarding available support services on campus and the process for completing an educational plan and to strongly encourage Chafee grant recipients to avail themselves of those services if they have not already done so. SB 150 also limits the duration of receipt of a Chafee award to 5 years, non-consecutive.
SB 173: Workstudy and CalFresh
SB 173 amends section 18901.11 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, which requires that on or before January 1, 2021, the State Department of Social Services create a standardized form to be used by community colleges to verify that a student is approved and anticipating participation in state or federal workstudy for the purpose of assisting county human services agencies in determining the student’s potential eligibility for CalFresh. Community colleges are required to distribute the form to all students approved for state or federal workstudy and to provide information required to complete that form.
SB 383: Omnibus Bill
SB 383 amends sections 68075, 78300 and 78401 of the Education Code to revise the definition of “Armed Forces of the United States” to include the California National Guard instead of the California Army National Guard. To the extent that SB 383 requires community college districts to exempt more students from nonresident tuition by expanding the definition of Armed Forces of the United States to expressly include all members of the California National Guard, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.