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Legislative Updates

Federal Government Reopens

Following a 16-day government shutdown, on October 16 Congress voted to approve a spending plan and raise the debt ceiling. The spending plan funds government through January 15, 2014 at sequestration levels and the debt ceiling was raised until February 7, 2014. The Senate approved the measure by a very wide margin, 81 votes to 18 votes, while the House approved the measure by a narrower margin, 285 votes to 144 votes. Income verification for recipients of subsidies through the Affordable Care Act was included as part of the package. A budget conference committee has been established to develop a long-term spending plan by December 13, 2013. While we are relieved that the government has reopened and we were able to avert any disruption in services to our customers, we continue to be concerned about the sequestration funding levels and hope these cuts can be mitigated in future negotiations.

Wrap-up of State Legislative Session

Through its lobbyist Rose & Kindel, the California Workforce Association (CWA), a membership organization representing the local workforce investment boards, has been tracking nearly 90 bills over the past year, which may impact the local workforce investment community and its partners.  At the end of the legislative session, the results of the top priority bills are as follows:

SB 118 (Lieu): Unemployment Insurance: Education and Workforce: establishes workforce education and training principles with a sector strategy focus; requires that the statewide plan focus on the adoption of sector strategies using the statewide analysis of skills gaps (conducted by the California Workforce Investment Board-CWIB) as the basis for formulating the plan. 
Status: Chaptered

SJR 10 (Lieu): Workforce Investment Act of 1998: Reauthorization by U.S. Congress: resolution that urges Congress to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act and include CWA’s key principles of a highly competitive Workforce Investment System with local WIBs governed by local leaders and responsive to the local needs of businesses and job seekers.
Status: Chaptered

AB 285 (Brown): Microenterprises: economic development: requires the CWIB to recommend policies and to provide technical assistance on entrepreneurial and self-employment training opportunities that could be made available through local WIBs.
Status: Vetoed

AB 1268 (J. Perez): Unemployment insurance: veteran’s unemployment: Veterans Workforce Development and Employment Office: establishes the Veterans Workforce Development and Employment Office within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency for the purpose of coordinating and administering state and federal veterans workforce development and employment programs and services.
Status: two-year bill

AB 39 (Skinner) & SB 39 (DeLeon): Proposition 39 Implementation: funds generated from Proposition 39, passed by voters in November 2012, that closes a tax loophole for multistate corporations is expected to be used for clean energy efficient upgrade programs through local schools.
Status: details of Proposition 39 implementation were passed in the state budget

AB 114 (Salas): Proposition 39 Implementation: workforce development: establishes a $3 million competitive grant program, administered by the CWIB, for eligible community-based and other workforce development training organizations to prepare disadvantaged youth or veterans for green jobs.
Status: two-year bill

SB 594 (Steinberg): Career Pathways Investment: authorizes a business entity that provides career technical education a credit against the Personal Income Tax and the Corporation Tax Law in an amount equal to that allocated by the Career Pathways Investment Committee. Requires each school district and community district to create a fund to be used for the purposes of financing program and administrative costs relating to the operation of career pathways programs.
Status: two-year bill

AB 86 (Assembly Budget Committee): Career Pathways Grant Program: education finance committee budget trailer bill that appropriated $250 million for onetime California Career Pathways Trust Grants to expand work-based learning opportunities. Administered by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, eligible recipients for grants include school districts, county superintendents of schools, charter schools and community colleges.
Status: signed by the Governor

SB 413 (Knight): Personal Income Taxes: Credit: STEM Teachers: allows a $1,000 Personal Income Tax credit for an eligible science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) teacher that teaches in any kindergarten or any grades 1 to 12 during an academic year ending in a taxable year or $1,500 for eligible STEM teachers who teach in a high-needs school.
Status: two-year bill

AB 684 (Medina): Workforce Training: General Educational Development Test Preparation: Grants: provides funding to institutions that offer instruction to persons who are preparing for the General Educational Development (GED)  test. Grants would be administered by the CWIB.
Status: two-year bill

AB 152 (Yamada): Unemployment: Self-Employment Assistance Program: re-establishes a Self-Employment Assistance program in California, and imposes eligibility requirements upon program applicants and waives job search requirements to permit a participant to collect his or her Unemployment Insurance benefits while working full-time to start a business and create a job.
Status: two-year bill

Governor’s Economic Development Initiatives (GEDI): after a multi-year effort, California’s redevelopment program was eliminated (SB 90), effective January 1, 2014. The Governor’s Economic Development Initiatives (GEDI) was signed into law on July 11, 2013 and replaces California’s Enterprise Zone program. GEDI has three initiatives: New Employment Credit, Sales & Use Tax Credit on manufacturing and R&D equipment, and the California Competes Credit.