Immigration reform that the Bay Area Council has been pressing for several years took a promising step forward this week when a bipartisan bill cleared a key Senate committee. With the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill now moves to the full Senate for deliberation. The action comes after timely meetings the Bay Area Council held last week with legislators during our annual D.C. advocacy trip. We are particularly focused on reforms related to increasing visas for high-skilled workers to help tech and other employers in the Bay Area that rely on such talent to fuel their growth. The Bay Area Council has also been partnering with some of the country’s top tech industry associations to pressure Congress to approve long-awaited and necessary reforms this year. To engage in our immigration reform work, contact Policy Vice President Michael Cunningham.
Government Relations Archive
California this week took a big leap forward in advancing healthcare reform and creating a high-value health system, among the Bay Area Council’s lead priorities. Covered California announced the health care plans that will be participating in the state’s new insurance exchange. Bay Area Council Senior Policy Advisor Micah Weinberg was busy throughout the day, testifying before various committees and meeting with individual lawmakers. The news was generally very good, with premium rates for Californians across the state coming in lower than predicted. Weinberg noted in a Wall Street Journal article that a very small number of consumers will see substantial increases.
Three bills the Bay Area Council supports that will allow healthcare professionals such as optometrists and pharmacists to provide some primary care services for patients were advanced unanimously to the Senate Floor. A coalition led by the Bay Area Council and member company Safeway also garnered a big win for the business community as we successfully defeated a bill that would have banned the use by employers of wellness incentive programs. Though we are headed in a positive direction, there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. To engage in our healthcare policy work or to attend an upcoming information session on post-ACA insurance options for employers, contact Senior Policy Advisor Micah Weinberg
The Bay Area Council on May 22 announced that it is supporting the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) proposed by Governor Jerry Brown in his May budget revise. The proposed new formula, directing supplemental funds to programming for disadvantaged students and to closing the achievement gap, infuses fairness and equity into the funding system. It also provides for community involvement in local strategic and accountability planning.
“California’s economy cannot afford to leave some children behind,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Under the Governor’s leadership, the devastating education budget cuts have stopped. Looking forward, Governor Brown has a vision for school funding that corrects inequities, reduces complex regulations, and engages local communities. We applaud the Governor’s vision and commitment to providing all children a good education.”
As the Governor has proposed it, the Local Control Funding Formula sets a per pupil funding “base” target that begins to restore the cuts made in recent years. Supplemental funding is added for students who are English learners, low income or in foster care. An additional grant is provided to districts with 50 percent or more students in these categories.
The proposal provides for a gradual transition over seven years to the new formula as funding grows. All districts will gain spending flexibility and must engage the community in developing an accountability plan.