Sponsored bills advance as Legislature takes up suspense file

CSBA-sponsored legislation sailed through one of the final legislative hurdles left in 2023 as the Senate and Assembly Appropriations committees took up their suspense files on Sept. 1.

The suspense file compiles bills with a price tag of over $150,000 to be considered in bulk in order to determine their fiscal impact upon the state as a whole. Suspense hearings provide a singular opportunity to address bills with significant financial price tags and even some politically difficult measures. Ultimately, less fortunate legislation may be “held on suspense,” meaning the bill will die in the Appropriations committee, or be made into a two-year bill that will not be heard again until 2024.

Three CSBA-sponsored bills were among the legislation that will now move on to floor votes of the full Senate and Assembly before the session ends at midnight on Sept. 14:

  • Senate Bill 765 (Portantino, D-Glendale): Would provide immediate relief to schools during the teacher shortage by streamlining the 180-day mandatory waiting period and the salary earning cap local educational agencies must observe before hiring a recently retired teacher.
  • SB 551 (Portantino): Would enhance collaboration between county mental health agencies and school districts by requiring county mental health boards to include LEA employees who have experience providing mental health services to students and members aged 25 years or younger, with scaled requirements based on the size of the board.
  • Assembly Bill 483 (Muratsuchi, D-Torrance): Would increase funding for and access to school-based health services by improving and streamlining the Local Education Agency Medi-Cal Billing Option Program (LEA BOP).

A number of other notable education bills were also on the committees’ dockets. Below is a report of some of the key results from last week’s hearings:

School facilities

Two bills that would have placed bond measures on the 2024 General Election Ballot to fund education facilities were made into two-year bills, along with other bond proposals, to allow Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mental health bond to take precedence on the March 2024 ballot:

  • AB 247 (Muratsuchi): Would place the Kindergarten Through Community Colleges Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2024 on the ballot to provide $14 billion funding to construct and modernize education facilities.

CSBA Position: Support. Made a two-year bill.

  • SB 28 (Glazer, D-Orinda): Would place a $15 billion bond for the construction and modernization of public preschool, K-12, community college, UC and CSU facilities on the March 2024 statewide ballot. $9 billion would go to preK-12 facilities.

CSBA Position: Support. Made a two-year bill.

Instructional materials

  • AB 1078(Jackson, D-Riverside): Would provide the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) immediate authority to intervene in an LEA when sufficient textbooks and instructional materials are not made available to students. By modifying the complaint procedures related to insufficient textbooks before the district itself has an opportunity to investigate, it authorizes the SSPI to assess financial penalties and requires LEAs to personally name individual school district board members in online public notices for a noncompliant district.

CSBA Position: Oppose. Passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee with amendments to remove the requirement for county superintendents to post notices of school districts that have failed to provide students with sufficient textbooks or instructional materials and the 2/3 vote provision for school governing boards to remove an existing textbook, instructional material, or curriculum, among other changes.

Labor and human resources

  • AB 1699 (McCarty, D-Sacramento): Would require LEAs to offer open classified staff positions to existing staff before making them available to the general public; offer such a position to a non-probationary classified staff who either meets the minimum job requirements or could meet the minimum job requirements after being provided 10 hours of LEA-funded training; give priority based upon seniority of the applicant within 1) the existing classification or 2) if the position would result in the applicant receiving more hours or wages; and provide “reasonable modifications” to allow the classified staff to fulfill their existing job requirements and the new job assignment and permit an employee who accepts a new assignment to elect to either add the hours for the new assignment to their current assignment, if feasible, or, if the new assignment is more hours than their current assignment, to replace their current assignment with the new assignment.

CSBA Position: Oppose. Passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee with amendments to provide that the bill’s provisions do not apply to employees on performance improvement plans or employees facing suspension, among other clarifying changes.

  • SB 433 (Cortese, D-San Jose): Removes the authority of an elected school board to make the ultimate decision on whether to take significant disciplinary action — such as the demotion, suspension or dismissal against a classified staff person — and place it into the hands of a third-party hearing officer. Would also require LEAs to fund the costs associated with obtaining a disciplinary ruling for cause from a third-party hearing officer, who would also be required to be jointly selected by the LEA and the union.

CSBA Position: Oppose. Passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


  • SB 88(Skinner, D-Berkeley): Imposes new requirements for drivers who are either employed by or contracted with by LEAs to provide student transportation services for compensation. In response to advocacy by CSBA and partners, the author agreed to amendments in late August that addressed CSBA’s previous major concerns.

CSBA Position: Neutral. Passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee with amendments to provide exemptions for long distance field trips, among other changes.

Student mental health

  • SB 326 (Eggman, D-Stockton): If passed and approved by the voters, would recast the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) by, among other things, renaming it the Behavioral Health Services Act, expanding it to include treatment of substance use disorders, changing the county planning process, expanding services for which counties and the state can use funds, and revising the distribution of MHSA funds. The proposed changes to MHSA could result in counties cutting or eliminating school-based and youth-focused programs.

CSBA Position: Oppose Unless Amended. Passed by the Assembly Appropriations Committee with amendments to create a revenue stability workgroup and innovation partnership fund, change auditor requirements, change timelines and other technical and clarifying amendments.

Career technical education

  • AB 377 (Muratsuchi): Would consolidate funding for K-12 career technical education — currently split between two programs administered by the California Department of Education and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office — into one program: the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program, administered by CDE.

CSBA Position: Support. Held on Suspense by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

What’s next?

The Legislature is will soon recess for the remainder of the year on Sept. 14. Until then, both the Assembly and Senate will meet everyday in Floor Session to consider all bills on their respective floors. Any bill that does not pass the Legislature will become a two-year bill and thus be considered next year when the Legislature reconvenes for the second year of the two-year 2023–24 legislative session.

All bills passed by the Legislature this year will head to the Governor for his consideration. The Governor will have until Oct. 14 to sign or veto bills that reach his desk, 30 days from the last day of this year’s legislative session.