Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

Charter schools face Capitol challenge + Necessities for immigrant children + Affordable housing solution

Good morning and happy Thursday!

Both the Senate and Assembly are in session at 9 a.m. for their last floor gathering before a month-long recess.

WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION

A bill to make it easier for school districts to reject proposed charter schools cleared a key legislative hurdle Wednesday.

Assembly Bill 1505 lets school boards reject proposed charter schools based on a school’s projected costs to a district and other factors.

The version passed Wednesday reflects changes made to appease the governor’s office, supporters and opponents, said the bill’s author, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell. He stressed that the bill is still a work in progress.

“Local school boards and administrators know their districts and students best and should have the ability to determine which charters are best for their students,” the Long Beach Democrat said. “This bill gives districts greater flexibility to consider how a new charter school will impact the community of students.”

It passed the Senate Education Committee 7-3 after about two hours of discussion. About half of that time was taken up by public testimony, mostly from parents and children who traveled to the Capitol to oppose the bill.

The California Charter Schools Association still opposes the bill despite the amendments.

“Let’s not sacrifice the needs of our most vulnerable students who are excelling in charter schools,” the association’s president Myrna Castrejón said in a statement. “Instead, let’s focus our collective priority on increasing access to great public schools of all types.”

Via Sophia Bollag

‘DEPLORABLE AND INHUMANE’

California is jumping into the debate over whether conditions in Texas immigrant detention facilities meet federal safety and sanitary regulations.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an amicus brief on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that calls on President Donald Trump’s administration to remedy the “inhumane conditions.”

News reports in recent weeks documented these facilities as denying immigrant children and their mothers “basic necessities like soap, clean water, toothbrushes, showers or a place to sleep,” according to Becerra’s office.

Becerra joins 19 other attorneys general in the argument that the conditions violate the law that grants immigrant children rights to “toilets and sinks, drinking water and food, medical assistance and adequate supervision.”

Trump defended the facilities to reporters at the White House last week, and called the centers “beautifully run.”

“I’ve seen some of those places, and they run beautifully,” Trump said, per USA TODAY. “They’re clean. They’re good. They do a great job.”

But the brief cites children wearing clothes “covered in bodily fluids, including urine,” and claims that facility managers were not adequately feeding the immigrants and were forcing them to sleep on concrete floors.

“All children deserve to be treated with care and compassion, certainly with dignity and respect,” Becerra said in a press statement. “Yet, with each passing day, the Trump administration heartlessly robs children, infants, and even expecting mothers of access to basic human rights. Can you be more un-American?”

The amicus filed refers to detention centers in Texas, but Becerra’s office released a report of California facilities in a February report found here.

ANOTHER OPTION

After Senate Appropriations hit the pause button on Senate Bill 50 earlier this year, few legislative options remained to carve a path for the construction of new, affordable housing in California.

State Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, wrote legislation that would create a partial solution for local governments trying to build affordable housing and finance housing-related construction.

Senate Bill 5 would free up $200 million in general fund dollars in 2021 to 2022, increasing to $250 million by 2030 for a collective $2 billion.

The money would have to go toward affordable housing units, infill development and construction near transit, as well as neighborhood revitalization projects and climate change planning. The legislation would require backfilling Proposition 98 funding for schools, according to the bill analysis.

“SB 5 creates desperately needed housing opportunities for hard-working Californians and will also help alleviate poverty, create jobs, and meet our statewide environmental goals without affecting school funding,” Beall wrote in the analysis. “The state must act with urgency to address the shortage of affordable housing units. SB 5 makes the state a long-term partner and provides much needed money to build affordable housing across the state.”

The bill passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on Wednesday.

TWEET OF THE DAY

In the words of The Bee’s Sophia Bollag, “Differences between (Gov.) Gavin Newsom and Donald Trump on health care, immigration and hairstyle on display in this video from Newsom’s 2022 reelection campaign.”

Best of The Bee:

Hannah Wiley joined The Bee as a legislative reporter in 2019. She produces the morning newsletter for Capitol Alert and previously reported on immigration, education and criminal justice. She’s a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Saint Louis University and Northwestern.
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