Posts Tagged: advocacy
The University of California Board of Regents endorsed Senate Bill 28 (SB 28), the Public Preschool, K–12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2024, authored by State Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda).
If approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the bill would place a $15.5 billion general obligation bond on the state ballot in 2024 to provide capital support for public education, from preschool to college.
Under the bill's provisions, the university would be allocated $2 billion, funds that would help it to enroll more California students, renovate teaching and research facilities, make needed seismic upgrades, and transition campuses to clean energy.
“Thirty percent of all UC space is more than 50 years old,” UC President Michael V. Drake said in urging the Board of Regents to endorse the bill. “If approved, the GO [general obligation] bond would represent the biggest capital investment in the University of California in nearly 20 years. It would allow us to modernize classrooms and labs, make urgent seismic upgrades, and serve even more California students. This would be a much-needed investment in the safety and success of our students, our campuses, and the state.”
UC campuses face significant fiscal challenges as they look to expand California student enrollment and renew aging facilities. UC's 2022-28 Capital Financial Plan, presented to the Board of Regents in Nov. 2022, identified $51 billion in unfunded capital needs for UC campuses and medical centers. A general obligation bond could help UC address those critical needs, UC leaders said.
“Capital investments, like those envisioned by SB 28, are core to the university's success as a driver of economic growth and innovation across the state and they are also essential for creating unparalleled educational opportunities for California students,” said UC Regent Janet Reilly, who chairs the Regent's Public Engagement and Development Committee. “Investing in UC's future pays dividends to all Californians.”
To appear on the ballot, general obligation bond bills, such as SB 28, must receive support from two-thirds of the state Legislature, and must then be signed by the governor. Once on the ballot, a simple majority of voters would decide whether to approve the bond.
If SB 28 were to win voter approval, it would be UC's first general obligation bond since 2006. The legislation would offer important funding for campus-by-campus renewal efforts, such as renovation of existing classroom and lab space and construction of urgently needed housing for both graduate and undergraduate students.
The University of California is committed to maintaining and building the necessary facilities for its students, faculty, staff and researchers to study, live and work, and for surrounding campus communities to thrive. The $2 billion provided under SB 28 would be a crucial down payment to addressing its capital needs, while working with local, state and federal governments to secure more community partnerships and funding support to benefit every student, UC leaders said.
General obligation Bonds (“GO Bonds”) are issued by the state to finance large capital projects such as construction, modernization, or renovation of educational facilities.
In 2006, the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act (Proposition 1D) provided approximately $345 million per year for 2006-07 and 2007-08 to the university for the basic state-funded capital program. Prior to 2006, other bond acts were approved for UC in 2002 and 2004, Propositions 47 and 55, which provided the University with approximately $345 million per year for four years.
Learn more about how a general obligation bond could help UC meet its unmet capital needs: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/get-involved/capital-needs.
Representatives of UCANR visited the legislative building in Sacramento for UCANR Advocacy Day on April 18 and engaged with members of the Legislature and staff to advocate for UC's budget priorities. Attendees included Glenda Humiston, vice president; Deanne Meyer, interim associate vice president; Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations;Sheron Violini, associate director of government and community relations; and Lara Schröder, graduate student assistant. They were joined by UC Cooperative Extension advisors, statewide program representatives and two 4-H youth State Ambassadors .
The UC ANR team visited 16 legislative offices and were honored to meet directly with Assemblymember Vince Fong and Senator John Laird.
UC ANR representatives provided insights into how UC ANR delivers applicable research tools and knowledge and adds value to local communities. Zheng Wang, UCCE vegetable crops advisor, shared how farmers in Stanislaus County have been able to increase their profits by growing grafted watermelons using the same amount of water for a greater yield, while Susie Kocher, forestry and natural resources advisor, talked about her workshops for small forest landowners to prevent catastrophic wildfires and to help recover after a wildfire. 4-H State Ambassadors Megna and Sruthi told their stories of how the youth development leadership program has improved their personal skills and also how they engage with low-income schools and introduce STEM and agriculture to elementary school students.
Amira Resnick, statewide director of community nutrition and health, Stephanie Mar, associate organic waste management advisor, and Hanif Houston, associate director of communications and marketing for The VINE, also shared success stories and how UC ANR has made significant progress within the past year.
Resnick and Mar explained how UC ANR's nutrition and organic waste management programs teach Californians about nutrient dense foods, food preservation and composting. Houston highlighted how robots and drones play an important role in agriculture production. The UC ANR representatives also invited the legislators and staff to visit UC ANR's Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center and UC ANR Research and Extension Centers in members' districts.
This valuable work is achieved through supportive state funding. These visits underlined the importance of the 5% base budget increase as currently proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom for the upcoming fiscal year and asked staffers and members to support the proposal.
A special highlight of the day was a short tour of the State Capitol. Thanks to Sheron Violini, the group viewed the governors' portraits, peeked into the Senate Floor and learned the history of the Reagan statue.
Several follow-up opportunities stemmed from these meetings, and Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris is already planning to visit South Coast REC, and Assemblymember Vince Fong doesn't want to wait for the December citrus tasting to visit Lindcove REC. The government and community relations team is looking forward to extending future invitations for members to visit UC facilities, and especially to a forest management and prescribed burning tour at the Blodgett Forest Research Station.
The UC ANR representatives also met with legislative staff for Senators Josh Becker, Nancy Skinner, Dave Min, Marie Alvarado-Gil, Anna Caballero, Melissa Hurtado and Steve Padilla, and Assemblymembers Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Carlos Villapudua, Robert Rivas, Luz Rivas and Juan Alanis.
UC ANR leaders and supporters met with congressional members and staff in Washington, D.C. during the CARET (Council for Agricultural Extension, Research and Teaching) meetings, March 12–15. They discussed the benefits of investing in research and extension for agriculture, natural resources and nutrition.
The CARET meetings centered on global food, agriculture and resource challenges.
UC ANR's CARET delegation included Deanne Meyer, interim associate vice president; Karmjot Randhawa, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Madera Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties; Missy Gable, UC Master Gardener Program director; and Ryan Tompkins, forester and natural resources advisor for Plumas, Sierra and Lassen counties; as well as Ish Herrera and Mike Mellano of the President's Advisory Commission.
Dean DavidAckerly of UC Berkeley, Divisional DeanIsgouhiKaloshian of UC Riverside, Kathy Eiler ofUCR Government Relations, andLoressa Uson of UC Santa Cruz Government Relations, Brandon Minto of UC Davis Government Relations, and Gina Daly of UCB Government Relations joined the delegation, demonstrating UC's unified support for UC ANR's work.
The delegates visited congressional offices to underscore UC's priorities for FY24 agricultural appropriations and the 2023 Farm Bill, which is renewed by Congress every five years. The CARET representatives gave examples of how UC ANR's work is improving people's lives and businesses across California.
CARET also presented a moving tribute to the late Jean-Mari Peltier, who served as a UC ANR CARET representative and on the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) until her death in 2021. At the CARET gathering, Peltier was honored with a lifetime achievement award for her contributions to agriculture. The PAC has created the Jean-Mari Peltier Endowment in support of UC ANR Strategic Priorities to carry on her commitment to UC ANR, science and solving problems.
“We visited 24 offices including the Senate and House Ag Committees,” wrote Meyer in her ANR Adventures blog. “We shared our priorities for this year's appropriations as well as Farm Bill items. The conversations were filled with how valuable ANR is to communities. We discussed impacts from trained citizen scientists to identify spotted lanternfly and the importance of prescribed burn associations.”
Read more about the CARET visits at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=56478.
Despite a steady downpour, legislators and other state government employees expressed their support for agriculture at Ag Day at the Capitol on March 21. UC ANR showcased its people, programs and research.
Vice President Glenda Humiston; Deanne Meyer, interim associate vice president; Sarah Light, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor; and several UC ANR colleagues thanked legislators and officials for their support and told them about current research and outreach activities.
Anne Megaro, government and community relations director, organized activities at the event and greeted legislators.
UC Master Gardener coordinator Judy McClure and volunteers answered gardening questions. Representatives from The Vine demonstrated a robot that performs some farm tasks. 4-H members showed visitors their goats and rabbits. Strategic Communications staff described some of the UC ANR research associated with the display of citrus varieties grown at Lindcove Research and Extension Center and avocado varieties from South Coast REC.
Representatives from UC ANR joined county government officials on Nov. 14-18 for the California State Association of Counties' 128th Annual Meeting held in Orange County. CSAC provides advocacy, educational and financial services to California's 58 counties.
Vice President Glenda Humiston; Anne Megaro, government and community relations director; and Rita Clemons, UC Cooperative Extension director for Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties; Susan Ellsworth, UC Cooperative Extension director for the Capitol Corridor; and Darren Haver, associate director for the Research and Extension Center System and South Coast REC director, discussed opportunities for collaboration with county supervisors and other county officials.
UC Cooperative Extension personnel often work with county leaders to help their communities with the pandemic, wildfires, economic development and other challenges and opportunities.