On September 30, Governor Newsom signed the final budget trailer bills sent to him by the Legislature after passing the bills and a “budget junior” on August 31. Budget trailer bills are created by the Committee on Budget to provide technical language for the implementation of fiscal allocations. The budget junior bill includes additional allocations as well as additional items necessary for implementation of some July budget expenditures.
The budget-related bills go into effect immediately. CFT priorities in the budget trailer bills are listed below.
COVID-19 paid sick leave extended
AB 152 re-establishes COVID-19 paid sick leave for employers who have more than 25 employees. It entitles employees up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave due to quarantine or isolation related to COVID-19, for attending an appointment or experiencing symptoms related to the vaccine, or for caring for a family member who is subject to quarantine or whose school has closed due to COVID-19.
Health insurance for part-time faculty in community colleges
AB 190, the higher education trailer bill, includes programmatic changes to further incentivize districts to provide quality, affordable and accessible coverage to all eligible part-time faculty. The Budget Act of 2022 included $200 million ongoing Proposition 98 funds to augment funding for the Part-Time Faculty Health Insurance Program.
The trailer bill expands the program to include any part-time faculty member whose total teaching assignments at two or more community college districts equals or exceeds 40% of the equivalent of a minimum full-time teaching assignment.
Districts that meet a new set of criteria regarding part-time faculty health insurance benefits, will now be eligible for reimbursements up to 100% of the district’s associated costs. The criteria are, if the district:
- offers health insurance coverage to all part-time faculty working at least 40%;
- offers part-time faculty the same health insurance benefits provided to full-time faculty;
- limits individual premiums paid by part-time faculty to no more than the actual individual premium paid by full-time faculty in that district; and
- offers health insurance coverage to all multi-district part-time faculty who qualify.
Classified School Employee Summer Assistance Program expands to community colleges
The Budget Act of 2022 provided $10 million to launch the program for community college classified staff and $90 million to continue it for TK-12 classified staff. AB 185, the education trailer bill, amends the definition of a “month,” to include four-day weeks and holidays to ensure staff have full coverage.
Union dues refundable tax credit
Under AB 158, beginning January 1, 2024, every worker is eligible for a tax credit for dues paid to a labor organization not to exceed $100 for an individual. The state is not to expend more than $400 million in tax credits for this purpose.
Fair repayment plans for overpayment of wages
AB 185, the education trailer bill, affords educational employees an opportunity to respond to a wage overpayment claim before the employer commences actions to recoup it and would require reimbursement to be made through one of three specified methods mutually agreed upon by the employee and the employer. The bill would require installment amounts deducted from payment of salary or wages pursuant to these provisions to not exceed 25% of the employee’s net disposable earnings.
Green schooling priorities
Additionally, the following state investments support CFT policies and may be of interest to CFT members. The Legislature appropriated $150 million for the “Extreme Heat Package” including:
- $25 million for the Community Resilience and Heat Program at the Office of Planning and Research;
- $85 million for Community Resilience Centers at the Strategic Growth Council;
- $17 million for Green Schoolyards at CalFIRE as part of Urban Forestry; and
- $100 million for Climate Innovation Grants at the Energy Commission.