Today, the California State Assembly introduced SB 118, in response to a recent court ruling regarding student populations at public universities and colleges. The bill gives higher education leaders 18 months to address CEQA-related issues before decisions impacting enrollment growth can be issued. Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) issued the following joint statement:
“An educated workforce is needed to keep the state’s economy growing, motivating the Legislature to bolster the number of college enrollment slots, especially for California residents. At the same time, we care deeply about CEQA. California’s environmental protections are vital to everyone, especially to those who care about environmental justice. That’s something very important to those who live in both of our districts and means we cannot ignore the environmental impacts of growing campuses on surrounding communities.
“Our trailer bill strikes the right balance. It aims to make sure that environmental analysis of campus development plans continues to consider campus population impacts, while also giving higher education leaders a chance to remedy deficiencies before enrollment reduction mandates are issued. We believe this addresses concerns from both sides and allows us to continue educating deserving students. When our legislation passes and allows the law to be applied retroactively, UC Berkeley will be able to resume its enrollment plan, which was disrupted by a misguided court order.”
The Senate also introduced the same bill, AB 168. The full budget committee will hold an information hearing on Monday.