Upcoming Community College Legislation

Discussing politics in polite company is always a risky business because there are as many diverse ideals and political philosophies as there are people, and you do not want to offend anyone.  Talking about babies, especially newborns offends almost no one and usually brings a smile to everyone’s disposition.  Here is some news from the State Legislature that mixes both babies and politics but may have a huge impact and benefit to classified professionals who are planning or about to have a child.

The State legislature is considering Assembly Bill 500 “Paid Maternity Leave.”  It is just what the title implies.  If passed, this bill would provide all classified professionals with up-to six weeks of paid maternity leave to care for a newborn or newly adopted child.  Existing law requires the community college district to provide for a leave of absence from duty for a female employee in the classified service of the district who is required to be absent from duty because of pregnancy or convalescence following childbirth.  Currently, the law provides for leave, but the leave is unpaid.  If you want to be paid, you must use sick leave, vacation leave, or compensatory time if accrued.  This bill will require the District to pay you and preserve your other leaves for your use (like those inevitable doctor visits you will make with a newborn and toddler).

If passed by the State lawmakers, this will be a huge benefit to classified professionals.  However, it will also be another encumbrance that the District will have to budget for each year.  However, this bill has been sailing through the Legislature with only a very small margin of resistance.  A similar bill was vetoed in 2017 by then Governor Brown, but it will likely have better luck with Governor Newsom, who also included funding in the 2019-20 State Budget to extend paid family leave benefits from six weeks to eight weeks beginning July 1, 2020.

 Another bill under consideration is AB 302 (Berman, D-Palo Alto)—Parking: Homeless Students. This bill will require Mt. SAC and other community college to allow access to parking facilities for homeless students enrolled in at least six units to sleep in their cars overnight. The bill was amended due to liability and safety concerns from community colleges.  These recent amendments would require colleges to:

  • Provide a form to the participating students that clearly and conspicuously indicates that the CCD cannot ensure the safety of a student who participates in overnight parking

  • Establish overnight parking rules that participating students must follow, including a zero-tolerance policy for use of drugs or alcohol

  • Establish a procedure for registering and verifying the identity of eligible students and their vehicles

  • Establish a procedure for identifying participating students who have engaged in behaviors that pose a substantial threat to the physical safety of other participating students and, as necessary, warning such students to correct their behavior or revoking their eligibility to participate in overnight parking

  • Develop a document that clearly and concisely describes the rules and procedures established and provide this document to the participating students

This bill is meant to be a short-term solution until more sustainable solutions to help homeless students can be found.  However, many community colleges and liability organizations oppose the bill.