By Sara Guernsey/Staff Writer/@saraguernsey1
During the weekly ASB Cabinet meeting Friday, March 11, Student Trustee Alejandro Lomeli reported on several Assembly Bills that may affect students. The bills are all in the voting process or have passed.
Firstly, Lomeli, 21, an administration of justice major, reported on the progress of AB 1995. The bill aims to give homeless students enrolled in college who have paid enrollment fees access to the shower facilities on campus. It does not require a college to build or improve shower facilities. The bill applies to colleges with existing student-shower facilities. To determine eligibility, a new question would be added to the fee waiver application asking if a student is homeless. The colleges would be responsible for engaging in further outreach to homeless students and keeping a record of how many homeless students attend Community Colleges.
Lomeli said, “We have taken a lot of steps towards improving the lives of our homeless students throughout the year. It has become such an apparent issue that the state is jumping on board. We spoke to legislators across the state and found Assemblymember Das Williams would sponsor it for us. We worked closely with him.”
Lomeli also reported on AB 1721, which would change the current regulations on Cal Grants. It would raise the age limit and increase the maximum amount a student may receive.
AB 1594 would make using tobacco in any form illegal anywhere on campus. An amendment to the bill would continue to allow vaping on campus.
AB 2766 would reform the Student Aid Commission to give equal opportunity to students from California Community Colleges, CSUs, UCs and private institutions. Currently, only two students serve on the Commission, but the number of seats would be increased to four. Lomeli said, no community college student serves on the commission and “only 6% of state financial aid goes to community college students.”
AB 789 was the only bill mentioned in the meeting that has already been passed into law. It is an incentive program for colleges to replace expensive textbooks with “open educational resources,” such as videos and online materials that are legally free for students.
In exchange for participation, colleges are eligible for a grant of up to $50,000 to cover the profit loss from ending bookstore contracts like the contract LBCC has with Barnes & Noble. Many officers in the Cabinet meeting questioned whether the LBCC Academic Senate would pass a plan to participate in the program when looking at long-term profits from the contract. The Academic Senate has until June 30 to submit a plan if it decides to participate.