California School & Community College District Bond Legislation Update - September 2017

by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Good news on the legislative front for 2018 bond elections!  First, the following bills have become two-year bills:

  • Senate Bill 7 (Moorlach), which would require a school or community college district bond measure be supported by a facilities master plan with cost estimates, and that any measure specify each planned project and the named school or college campus of the project. 
  • Assembly Bill 776 (Harper), which, as amended, would require the bond ballot statement for school and community college district bond measures to include text directing voters to the voter information guide for information about the bond's effects on property taxes.
  • Assembly Bill 1196 (Harper), which, as amended, would require that the weighted average maturity of school and community college district general obligation bonds used to finance furniture and equipment not exceed 120% of the average reasonably expected life expectancy of the financed furniture and equipment.
  • Assembly Bill 1253 (Cooley), which, as amended, would, among other things, require a county office of education, at the request of a citizens' oversight committee, review a school district's employment of a professional firm, including, but not limited to, a financial adviser, underwriter, bond counsel, underwriter counsel, or trustee, or of a construction contractor for the facilities to be funded from the proceeds of the bond issue.

Becoming a two-year bill means the bill cannot be acted upon until January 2018 and, as a result, the bills listed above, if enacted into law, unless enacted as an urgency statute, would not become effective until after the 2018 bond measure election cycle. The bills should not be ignored, but 2018 elections should not be affected by them.

Second, Assembly Bill 1194 (Dababneh) looks likely to pass in 2017 and, therefore, would affect 2018 bond measures.  However, the current version of the bill is much more palatable than when introduced.  As amended, the bill would require tax rate statements to include an estimate of the average annual tax rate required to fund the proposed bond measure for the duration of its debt service and identify the final fiscal year in which the tax is anticipated to be collected. It would eliminate the requirement that estimated tax rates for the first fiscal year after the first and last sale of bonds be included.

Unfortunately, Senate Bill 341 (Wilk), which would have increased the number of consecutive terms that a member of a bond citizens' oversight committee may serve, from three two-year terms to six two-year terms, was vetoed by the Governor. 

By clicking on the bill links above, you can provide comments to bill authors and access bill analyses and status updates via the California Legislative Information website.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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