CAM LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
The California Association of Museums (CAM) has an active advocacy program that monitors legislation and fosters strategic initiatives to support funding sources for museums. The following is a monthly update to keep our members and constituents informed and involved in State affairs.
Happy California Museums Month!
ONE MEETING CHALLENGE – HELP MARK CALIFORNIA MUSEUMS MONTH
For over ten years, CAM has celebrated May as California Museums Month. This is a perfect opportunity to invite your Assembly member or Senator to your museum to observe a school group, tour an exhibition, participate in a public program, or get a behind-the-scenes tour of the collections.
The need is tremendous: a large percentage of State legislators are newly elected, the Legislature is considering statewide reforms to balance the budget, and many in state office may be future Members of Congress. CAM has communicated with all legislators and meets with Capitol leadership to convey how museums benefit California’s citizens and contribute to a healthy, thriving state. But only museums can reinforce these messages with real experiences and demonstrate first-hand the impact on a legislator’s district.
To schedule your meeting, please send a letter or email to your chosen legislator ASAP. (And, remember, Fridays are usually best for in-district meetings.) A checklist, template, and talking points are available online. Be sure to take photographs and submit one, along with a brief description of the visit, to CAM’s Executive Director, Celeste DeWald at email@example.com. We will be posting all photographs and stories on CAM’s Facebook page, Twitter a
EDUCATION INITIATIVES INCHING TOWARDS VOTERS IN NOVEMBER
The jury is still out on the number of initiatives that will be on the November ballot to raise addition revenue to support California’s schools.
Governor Brown‘s Schools and Local Public Safety Act ballot initiative proposal would temporarily raise income taxes on the highest earners by 3%, with smaller increases on lower incomes, as well as increase the sales tax by ¼ of 1%. A recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California reveals that Californians support Governor Brown’s proposed ballot initiative to raise the sales tax and the tax on high-end income (54% to 39%). The deadline for gathering signatures on this measure is June 18, 2012.
Wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger and the California PTA are spearheading Our Children, Our Future, which would raise $10 to $11 billion annually in new revenue through a sliding scale income tax for 12 years. The California PTA announced yesterday that they submitted 848,000 signatures, which is likely enough to qualify for November. Ms. Munger has said that the money raised by the governor’s proposed initiative will not end up going to education.
GOVERNOR BROWN DELIVERS REORGANIZATION PLAN TO THE LITTLE HOOVER COMMISSION
Governor Jerry Brown submitted his reorganization plan for State Government to the Little Hoover Commission on March 30, 2012. Included in the plan is a reduction in the number of state agencies from 12 to 10, the elimination of duplicative and unnecessary entities and the consolidation of those with similar roles and functions. The State and Consumer Services and the Business, Transportation, and Housing agencies and other scattered government entities are restructured into three agencies with coordinated functions. The plan would transfer Exposition Park, the California Science Center, and the California African American Museum, to the Natural Resources Agency. The Little Hoover Commission is slated to have a conference call on May 11thto discuss the vote on the Governor’s plan, tentatively scheduled for May 22. The plan will then go into effect and be implemented unless a majority vote of either house rejects it within sixty days after the date it was submitted.
JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE ARTS EXPLORES THE ROLE OF CREATIVITY IN SCHOOLS
The Joint Committee on the Arts, chaired by Senator Curren Price (D-Los Angeles), held an informational hearing on April 18, 2012 at the Capitol. The subject was “The Arts, Creativity, and Innovation in the 21stCentury Classroom: How to Paint a Canvas for Success.” The hearing addressed the funding challenges facing schools which have caused a decrease in arts programs and could harm the creative and critical thinking skills of California students. Speakers included Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Chair of the California Arts Council, Craig Cheslog, Principal Advisor to California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and others.
CAM has written a letter of support for SB 789 Public School Performance Accountability Program: Creative and Innovative Education Index which was introduced by Senator Price. The Joint Committee on the Arts hearing was partially about the subject matter contained in his bill, which would allow schools to identify ways to develop creativity and innovation in their curriculum and provide students with skills to help them compete in the modern workforce. The bill includes the fields of science, technology, mathematics, engineering, and arts education – in addition to workforce and cultural development. The bill is modeled after a 2009 Massachusetts law; California is the second state to propose such legislation. The bill has passed the Senate and is currently in the Assembly Education Committee.
2009 WATER BOND FACING DROUGHT
An $11.1-billion water bond initiative written in 2009 and intended for the 2010 initiative ballot (and pulled by Governor Schwarzenegger) will most likely not make the ballot this fall because it is not attractive with high state deficits and a less than robust economy. The consensus is forming that this water bond needs to be removed from consideration and rewritten with stricter guidelines to be more responsive to current water needs and the economy.
STATE PARKS UPDATE
As it stands now, approximately 56 out of over 200 state parks are scheduled for closure in July due to budget cuts. According to their website, the Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) criteria for park closures is trying to protect the state’s most important cultural resources while impacting the fewest number of visitors. Of the original 70 parks slated to be closed in July, 14 have been saved from closure by separate operating agreements with other entities and an additional 20-25 parks are in negotiations with private entities to remain open. The original park closure list can be found on the State Parks website. Of recent concern is the expense of packing up and storing artifacts from some of the parks slated for closure. Legislative staff, the Legislative Analyst Office, and the Department of Finance will finalize the budget bill language for submittal in June. In addition to budget activities surrounding State Parks, there are several bills in the Legislature providing various approaches and plans to save parks. Please take a look at the bills concerning state parks in the section that follows.
STATE PARKS AND THE LITTLE HOOVER COMMISSION
The Little Hoover Commission plans to work on a study of State Parks after it completes work on the Governor’s reorganization plan. There will be a hearing sometime in June concerning state parks, particularly conservation and historic preservation. The exact date of the hearing will be posted on the Hoover Commission “Meetings” website late this month and the agenda will be posted closer to the meeting date. Virginia Ellis, Little Hoover Commissioner, is chairing the State Parks study.
UPDATE ON KEY CAM BILLS
Below is a list of key bills that CAM is monitoring. There will be a flurry of activity in the coming weeks since May 25th is the last day for fiscal committees to hear and report bills introduced in their house to the floor. June 1st is the last day to pass bills out of house of origin.
State Park Bills:
AB 1589 State parks: sustainability and protection. This bill is intended to help the state protect its state parks and their resources, and to keep the parks open by promoting new ways to increase revenue, including enhanced fee collection and other revenue generating opportunities at state parks, a new state park environmental license plate, and tax incentives for purchase of state park annual access passes. Location:This bill was amended on April 9, 2012 and has been set for hearing by the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation on May 7, 2012.
SB 974 State parks proposed closures. This bill would require the State Parks Department to review the list of park closures and develop a transparent park closure review process to be implemented. A revised list of park closures must be presented to the State Parks Commission and the Legislature by July 1, 2013.Location: This bill was amended on April 11, 2012. It passed in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on April 24, 2012 and has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SB 1073 State parks: development of new facilities. This bill would require that the Department of Parks and Recreation revise any relevant current plan for new facilities in any unit of the state park system. Location: This bill is currently in the Senate Rules Committee.
SB 1078 State lands: delinquent rent program: state park revenue generation program. This bill would require the State Lands Commission in the Natural Resources Agency to develop and implement a plan to collect delinquent rents and renegotiate expired and undervalued leases for state land and properties under the commission's control and would provide for the loan of $1,000,000 from the General Fund to accomplish this.Location: This bill passed in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on April 24, 2012 and has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee and will be heard on May 7, 2012.
Priority Watch Bills
AB 1784 Mountain lions. This bill would provide for the Department of Fish and Game to authorize qualified individuals or organizations to conduct research projects on mountain lions to meet specific goals of Proposition 117 (1990) that proclaimed the mountain lion to be a specially protected mammal. Location: This was heard on April 10, 2012 in the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife. The bill passed out of committee and also passed in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on April 25, 2012. It is currently pending on the Assembly Floor.
Note: Last year CAM obtained amendments to another bill it supported concerning mountain lions.SB 769 (Chapter No. 388, Statutes of 2011) Mountain lions: display, exhibition, or storage which was signed into law on September 30, 2011. CAM sent a letter of support to the Legislature after these amendments were adopted.
AB 2415 Boards of museum trustees: record of proceedings.This bill would require boards of museum trustees to keep proper record of their proceedings, and to immediately file a certificate including the date of the museum’s establishment, the names of trustees and the board’s officers for the current year with the California Department of Education. The author’s office has indicated that this is a placeholder bill and that no work has been done on it to date. It is unclear whether the author intends to retain museums as a subject of this bill as it goes forward. CAM will continue to monitor the bill closely. Location: This bill is a spot bill. No further action is expected at this time. CAM will continue to monitor this bill.
SB 1087 Organized camps, would require the State Department of Public Health to obtain input and advice from organizations in the field while establishing rules and regulations for minimum standards for the health and safety of campers. This bill defines an “organized day camp” as a program serving children between 4 and 17 years of age which operates seasonally during times when schools are not regularly in session and focuses on group-based recreation and expanded learning opportunities. CAM is watching this bill because museums often conduct many summer camps and programs, and the definition of “organized day camp” matters. This bill is sponsored by the California State Alliance of YMCAs and the California Collaboration for Youth. Location: This bill was amended on April 10, 2012 and passed out of the Senate Committee on Health on April 25, 2012. The bill has now been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Nonprofit Governance Bills
A higher than normal volume of bills concerning the governance of nonprofit organizations appears to have been introduced this year. These bills could impact nonprofit organizations concerning their governance. We are reporting on them here, and we will provide more details in upcoming reports as the specifics of the bills unfold.
AB 1564 Child abuse reporting: mandated reporters: tax-exempt organizations.This bill would expand reporting requirements to volunteers of public/private organizations and would revoke a non-profit’s tax exempt status if a mandated reporter fails to report an instance of child abuse. Location:The hearing in the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, originally scheduled for March 27, 2012, was postponed at the Committee’s request.
AB 1677 Corporate income taxes: filing requirements: tax exempt organizations. This bill, sponsored by the Navy League of the United States, would amend California tax law for non-profits and allow the Franchise Tax Board Exempt Organizations automatically to conform to the federal limits regarding the amount of gross receipts required for filing either the short or long tax forms. Location: This bill was heard in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on April 9, 2012 and in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 18, 2012. The bill passed out of both committees and on the Assembly Floor. The bill has been referred to the Senate for assignment to committee.
AB 1788 Property taxation: welfare exemption: course of construction.This bill would help non-profit and charitable organizations by exempting them from taxation when they express intent to build on property through a completed and filed permit. Location: This bill, originally set for hearing in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on April 9, 2012, will now be heard on May 14, 2012.
AB 2327 Charitable organizations: enforcement. This bill would revise enforcement provisions of the Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act to permit the Attorney General to take more immediate and direct action when a violation of the Nonprofit Integrity Act takes place. The bill would authorize the Attorney General to impose a specified penalty for each act or omission that constitutes a violation of the act and would also authorize the Attorney General to suspend the registration of a person/entity in accordance with certain procedures. Location: This bill was amended on April 16, 2012 and passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on April 24, 2012. It is now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 2295 Income taxes: deduction: charitable contributions. This bill would make changes to provisions in the Personal Income Tax Law and the Corporation Tax Law concerning deduction for charitable contributions made during the taxable year. Although this is a spot bill, CAM is monitoring it closely as the bill could impact charitable contributions. Location: This bill remains at the Assembly Desk.
AB 2641 Nonprofit corporations: Internet Web site. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would simplify reporting on non-profit organizations to the Attorney General and Secretary of state and to make that form available for the electronic filing. This bill would potentially decrease paper work for charities and consolidate reporting requirements. Location: This bill was amended on March 29, 2012 to become Nonprofit corporations: Internet Web site. It passed out of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization on April 19, 2012 and is currently set for hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 2, 2012.
SB 1341 Corporation Tax Law: charitable corporations: exemptions: revocation. This bill would remove the requirement that a charitable corporation whose exemption is disallowed because of failure to meet filing requirements must pay the minimum tax for any year or years its exemption was disallowed. It would also allow a charitable corporation whose exemption has been revoked to reestablish its exemption by filing and paying specified applications, fees, returns, statements, and payments. Location: This bill was amended on March 27, 2012 and was heard and passed out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on April 11, 2012. It was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 30, 2012 and passed. It will be referred to the Senate Floor
SB 1526 Corporate income taxes: filing requirements; tax exempt organization. This bill would, for taxable years beginning January 1, 2012, increase the gross receipts threshold for the application of the exemption from the annual filing requirement to $50,000. Location: This bill passed out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on April 25, 2012 and is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will be heard on May 7, 2012.
LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN HELP
Has your museum taken a position on a bill in the State Legislature that will impact the museum field? Are you concerned about the impact of a bill on your museum? Would you like CAM’s Government Relations Committee to consider taking a position and supporting your effort? Our committee encourages all members to engage CAM in your advocacy efforts, specifically if it will have implications on the museum field. Please forward all requests, comments, and/or feedback to Celeste DeWald, CAM’s Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-471-9970 x102.
COMING IN FUTURE LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
Report on May Budget Revise
Update on Park Closure List
-- Submitted by Kathryn Lynch and Celeste DeWald
For additional information, see CAM Advocacy or contact CAM's Executive Director, Celeste DeWald, at email@example.com.