The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Assembly Bill 53 suspended

No salary cap for state workers

Ryan Kleine | Staff Writer
[email protected]

The bill that would have frozen salaries for state employees who make more than $150,000 annually was suspended April 29 at the California State Capitol.

Many student leaders representing UC and community college systems were in attendance, some even addressed the committee.

After a unanimous vote by the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security chaired by Ed Hernandez (D-Calif.), Assembly Bill 53, had to pass the Appropriations Committee before it could move on to the general Assembly.

Author of the bill, Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) presented it to the committee chaired by Kevin de León (D-Calif. 45th District), in hopes of the bill moving on. Portantino pointed out that the governor made state workers take mandatory furlough days, cut college programs and still gave unnecessary raises to the highest paid employees. Portantino said he believed a salary freeze on state employees was a more sensible solution.

Similar to the support he had at the first committee, Portantino had several college students give testimony in support of the bill.

Nick Way, a Folsom Lake College student, said he spoke as a representative of the 180,000 community college students of California.

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“We believe that AB 53 reflects the state’s priorities,” Way said.

Student Senate for California Community Colleges Vice President Troy Carter, who was also in attendance, believes that this bill is important to community college students because it deals with funds that could directly affect them.

“It matters to students because it’s about state priorities,” Carter said. “At a time when community colleges are forced to cut course sections because of dwindling state monetary support, if that’s what’s happening, why are people who are already rich getting pay raises?”

Unlike the first hearing of the bill, no one testified in opposition. Despite unimpeded support, the committee decided to move the bill to the suspension file before Portantino was able to make his closing statement.

De León still allowed Portantino to make his case, but did not allow the vote he requested, despite a motion and a second to move the bill by other members of the committee.

Looking at Portantino’s obviously frustrated countenance, de León tried to reassure him, saying that this does not mean that the bill is dead.

“The issue is not done, and will live for another day,” de León said.

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