Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Tuition hikes on agenda for UC regents

Janet Napolitano speaks at a University of California Board of Regents meeting after being elected president of the UC system in July 2013. Regents will consider a tuition-increase proposal this week. (AP Photo/ Eric Risberg)
Janet Napolitano speaks at a University of California Board of Regents meeting after being elected president of the UC system in July 2013. Regents will consider a tuition-increase proposal this week. (AP Photo/ Eric Risberg) AP

In our first concrete preview of a 2015 budget battle, University of California regents will consider a controversial tuition-hike proposal at their meeting in San Francisco today.

UC President Janet Napolitano framed her plan to raise tuition as a matter of necessity: because the Legislature has not restored funding cuts to higher education during the recession, she told The Bee, raising tuition is UC’s only recourse. Gov. Jerry Brown and some lawmakers contend that UC officials are reneging on a 2013 deal that traded gradual budget increases in return a tuition freeze.

The regents’ finance committee today will consider the proposal, potentially setting up a full vote on Thursday and likely another fight over higher education funding, only months after Brown vetoed a bill that tried to award an additional $100 million to UC and the California State University system.. The governor plans to attend today’s regents meeting, as does newly minted regent and former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, has an alternate plan she is laying out in an op-ed in today’s Bee. Worth keeping an eye on as this debate unfolds: the University of California’s multi-billion dollar pension shortfall could be a factor in whatever legislative negotiations occur.

VIDEO: Two longrunning California politicians are clashing on the national stage, Dan Walters says.

FOOD FIGHTS: California’s massive agriculture industry is never far from the minds of policymakers, and today California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross will be talking about leading food and ag issues from 2014. She’ll be speaking at 1130 K Street from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. as part of the UC Center Sacramento speaker series.

CAP-AND-TRADE: When Brown touts California’s role as a leader on climate change, he’s referencing both the state’s cap-and-trade system and its environmental pacts with countries like Mexico and Canada. Today the Canada partnership will bear some fruit as California auctions off another round of greenhouse gas allowances jointly with Québec, allowing companies in one country to buy allowances from a firm in the other.

DRIVEN: We’ve covered some of the ways California is preparing to offer drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, from extended DMV hours to a new Spanish-speaking video guru. Today the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles is launching its “Road to Success” class, a three-hour course intended to help applicants prepare for the license test.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to senator-elect Bob Hertzberg, who is returning to the State Capitol after a long hiatus. He turns 60 today.

Call Jeremy B. White, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5543.

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