The Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) staff have analyzed the Governor’s budget bill for FY 2017-18, as well as the related trailer bills to enact policy changes in the budget. Below is an update on a number of key school facility policy issues that are addressed in budget trailer bills.
SB 96: Department of Industrial Relations
Makes changes to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) prevailing wage monitoring program, including:
- Raises the threshold for the program’s applicability from $1,000 to $25,000 for construction projects and $15,000 for maintenance projects.
- Increases penalties for contractors and subcontractors who fail to register correctly.
- Creates new penalties for awarding bodies, including school districts, who would be subject to a fine of $100 per day, up to $10,000.
- An awarding body determined to be a “willful violator” with two program violations within 12 months could lose state facility funding for one year.
- Increases the annual contractor registration fee from $300 to $400 and permits a contractor to register for multiple years at a time.
The budget also includes $805,000 in 2017-18 and $759,000 in 2018-19 for positions to educate awarding bodies about their requirements under the law.
AB 111: DSA Filing Fee
Increases Division of the State Architect (DSA) project filing fees for construction or alteration of school buildings. The fee will increase from 0.7% to 1.25% for the first $1 million in construction costs, and from 0.6% to 1.0% for costs in excess of $1 million. If the balance in the Public School Planning, Design, and Construction Review Revolving Fund exceeds six months of expenditures, the fee will automatically decrease.
AB 99: School Facility Program Audits
Includes the School Facility Program (SFP) audit changes, adding state-funded school facility project scope to the local annual K-12 audit. CASH successfully lobbied for amendments to the bill to provide school districts with the flexibility to use capital funds or operational dollars to repay any expenditure deemed ineligible. The original proposal from the Administration would have required automatic payback of audit exceptions using a withholding from the next Proposition 98 apportionment. The new audit provisions apply to SFP projects funded on and after April 1, 2017.
AB 99 & AB 125: Proposition 39 – Encumbrance Date and Program Extension
Includes provisions related to the Proposition 39 energy efficiency program. The bill extends the encumbrance date for projects by 12 months to June 30, 2019. The Legislature is now considering an additional trailer bill that includes the provisions of SB 518 (De Leon) to extend the Proposition 39 program indefinitely. Identical language is reflected in both AB 125 and SB 110, and either bill could move forward. These bills extend the sunset on the Proposition 39 program indefinitely, though future funding is subject to an appropriation in the annual budget process. The bills would establish a new competitive grant framework for allocation of the dollars. The bills would also sweep remaining unallocated funds from the first five years of the program for projects that have not submitted an Energy Expenditure Plan (EEP) by March 1, 2018. These funds would be dispersed as follows:
- $75 million for a school bus retrofit and replacement program to be administered by the California Energy Commission.
- $100 million for low- and no-interest Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA) loans.
- The remainder would be used for competitive grants for K-12 schools in designated tiers.
Passage of AB 125 or SB 110 would make SB 518 obsolete. Budget trailer bills are urgency statutes that are effective immediately upon signature and require only a majority vote to pass, in contrast to a typical urgency bill, which requires a two-thirds vote. Trailer bills are not subject to the June 15 budget bill deadline. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, the author of SB 518, appears very interested in moving this issue through the legislative process via trailer bill.