Court Rules that Second Contract with the Same Vendor Did Not Create a Conflict of Interest

January 2020
Number 6

A recent California Appellate Court ruling has determined that a public entity’s award of a second contract to a construction firm did not create a conflict of interest even though it related to an earlier contract between the parties. InCalifornia Taxpayers Action Network v. Taber Construction, Inc. (2019) A145078, the First Appellate District held that the contractor’s second contract with a school district did not create a conflict of interest because both contracts were part of one initial transaction which had been structured as two contracts because applicable law at the time did not permit the transaction to be structured as a single contract. This is the latest chapter in a series of cases about potential conflicts of interest in lease-leaseback construction contracts for school districts, but the ruling has implications for many different types of contracts made by all local public agencies.

Background

Prior to January 2017, when the Education Code’s lease-leaseback statutes were revised, school districts were prohibited from awarding lease-leaseback construction contracts until plans and specifications for the underlying project were approved by the Division of the State Architect (“DSA”). [Link to CNB re LLB changes in Jan. 2017 – CNB No. 63, 2016] Until those changes took effect, school districts wishing to procure preconstruction services from the contractor who would ultimately perform their lease-leaseback projects commonly entered into a separate contract for such preconstruction services. Mount Diablo Unified School District (“District”) selected Taber Construction (“Taber”) to perform a modernization project through a request for proposal process and first awarded a preconstruction contract to Taber. After completion of the preconstruction services and approval of the plans and specifications by DSA, the District awarded a lease-leaseback construction contract to Taber.

A taxpayer organization challenged this dual contract structure by alleging a conflict of interest based on the contractor’s ability to inappropriately influence the District in the creation of the second contract. In May 2017, an appellate court ruled that the plaintiff’s allegations were sufficient to let that issue proceed to trial. [See CNB No. 23, 2017] That decision agreed with appellate decisions in 2015 and 2016 on similar issues, in which other courts agreed that the preconstruction services contract/lease-leaseback contract structure could lead to violation of Government Code section 1090, which prohibits conflicts of interest in public contracts, because of the contractor’s ability to shape the scope of the second contract through their work under the first contract. Based on this reasoning, a conflict of interest could potentially arise whenever a local public agency entered into two successive contracts with the same contractor, if the work performed under the first contract had an impact on the scope of work under the second contract.

The Appellate Court’s Decision

Following trial on these issues, an appeal once again reached the appellate court, which has now held that when Taber performed the preconstruction services, it was not transacting “on behalf of” the District in violation of Government Code section 1090. The court reasoned that Taber was not hired under the first contract to find a firm to complete the project – rather, the District hired Taber to perform preconstruction services for the District “in anticipation of Taber itself completing” the project. The court reasoned that it was standard practice at the time to award two separate contracts due to the existing lease-leaseback law, and that the District purposefully selected Taber with the initial intent that it would award both contracts to Taber.

The court distinguished an appellate court decision, Stigall v. City of Taft (1962) 58 Cal.2d 565, that the plaintiff relied upon which held that a conflict of interest existed under Section 1090. In that case, which arose outside of the lease-leaseback context, there was evidence that a representative of the selected contractor was involved in the selection process. However, the court found no evidence indicating that during performance of the preconstruction services, Taber influenced the District to select Taber for the second contract.

Takeaways

As noted above, due to revisions that went into effect in January 2017, the lease-leaseback statute (Ed. Code § 17406) now expressly permits a school district to award a single contract that includes preconstruction services and lease-leaseback construction. Therefore, the fact pattern of this case is not likely to recur.

However, similar fact patterns could arise in other contexts, such as architectural contracts for master planning services where the architect may wish to also receive award of a subsequent contract for design of an individual project. Another example might be a vendor who enters a consulting contract with an agency to determine the agency’s technology needs, and then is subsequently awarded a contract to supply technology to the agency. In these situations, this case provides guidance as to when a conflict of interest might exist under Section 1090. While initially selecting one firm for both contracts might reduce the chances of a conflict of interest when the second contract is eventually awarded, risk remains if the firm is involved in the shaping the scope of the second contract. If appropriate for the situation, it may be beneficial simply to award a single contract for all of a contractor’s or consultant’s work, rather than two contracts.

For more information about this ruling and conflict of interest issues, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcast, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.

Written by:

Arne B. Sandberg

Partner

Gayle L. Ketchie

Associate

©2020 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

Government Code 1090 Challenges by Third Parties Clarified and Limited by California Supreme Court

January 2020
Number 5

The California Supreme Court has ruled that third parties (private citizens, taxpayers, watchdog groups, etc.) do not have legal standing to sue public agencies to invalidate contracts allegedly made in violation of Government Code section 1090.

Background

Government Code section 1090 is a “good government” law prohibiting public officials and public employees from participating in any way in the “making” or awarding of a contract in which they hold a financial interest. The penalties for violating Section 1090 are potentially severe, ranging from imposition of a fine to imprisonment.

Government Code section 1092 allows any contract made in violation of Section 1090 to be voided “at the instance of any party except the officer interested therein.” Previous case law had left open to interpretation the meaning of “party” in this provision. Thus, it was not clear whether Section 1092 created a private right of action to enforce Section 1090, or if that right was limited only to the actual parties to the contract.

San Diegans for Open Government v. Public Facilities Financing Authority of the City of San Diego et al. (2019) __ Cal.5th __ (“San Diegans for Open Government“)

In 2015, a citizens’ taxpayer organization sued to invalidate bonds issued by the City of San Diego to refinance the baseball stadium at Petco Park, alleging that financing participants had a financial interest in the sale of the bonds in violation of Section 1090. The trial court determined that the taxpayer group lacked standing to sue on Section 1090 grounds, and dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed, finding in favor of the taxpayer group on the issue of standing, reasoning that public policy supports a third party plaintiff having the right to seek relief under Section 1092, and ruling that the phrase “any party” as used in Section 1092 conferred standing upon “any litigant with an interest in the subject contract[.]”

The Supreme Court reversed the appellate decision, holding that Section 1092’s language providing that “any party” may sue to avoid a contract involving a prohibited conflict of interest, only confers standing to sue upon the actual parties to the contract at issue. In this case, the court’s ruling meant that the plaintiff taxpayer organization did not have standing to bring suit or seek relief under Section 1092. In other words, the court determined a private right of action does not exist under Section 1092.

In reversing the lower appellate opinion, the Supreme Court applied basic rules of statutory interpretation in determining that the Legislature had not clearly indicated an intent to create a private right of action under Section 1092. The court found no compelling reason to infer such intent because sufficient enforcement mechanisms already exist to ensure compliance with Section 1090. The court acknowledged cases cited by the taxpayer group suggesting taxpayers have standing to sue to set aside a contract for a Section 1090 violation, but dismissed those authorities as either distinguishable or dicta.

The Supreme Court noted that its decision in San Diegans for Open Government does not reduce the available avenues for enforcement of Section 1090 violations or lessen the severity of the penalties for such violations. While Section 1092 was not deemed an appropriate avenue for taxpayer enforcement of Section 1090, the Supreme Court remanded the case back to the appellate court to determine the plaintiffs’ ability to use alternative statutory provisions as an enforcement mechanism. Specifically, the Court of Appeal will expressly determine what type of relief plaintiffs are seeking, and whether such relief is available under Civil Code section 526a (Section 526a). Section 526a allows taxpayers to challenge government contracts where public funds will be spent illegally. However, Section 526a prohibits injunctive relief where the contract is a debt instrument, such as the bond purchase agreement at issue in this case. At oral argument in front of the Supreme Court, plaintiffs argued they were not seeking injunctive relief, and only sought the conflicted officers to be disgorged of profits from the contract. The Court of Appeal will have to sort out the availability of a remedy for plaintiffs under Section 526a on remand.

Regardless of how the courts ultimately rule on these other causes of action, the Supreme Court’s prohibition on the use of Section 1092 by a taxpayer group remains significant, since Section 1092 calls for the contract to be voided, and allows a challenge to be brought for up to four years. The Civil Code bases for suit that the appellate court will now consider generally have much shorter statutes of limitation and do not provide for voiding the contract as a remedy.

This case highlights the importance of clearly identifying the parties to a public contract, and considering express exclusion of “third party beneficiaries” when drafting public contracts, in order to limit those who may sue.

For more information on issues arising from Government Code Sections 1090 or 1092, please contact one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcast, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.

Written by:

Harold M. Freiman

Partner

William P. Curley III

Partner

Kate S. Holding

Associate

©2020 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

Student Newspaper Sues University After All Print Media Is Defunded Following The Publication Of A Satirical Article

January 2020
Number 4

A University of California San Diego (UCSD) student newspaper, The Koala, brought suit against UCSD officials alleging that they defunded all print media in violation of the First Amendment. In The Koala v. Khosla (9th Cir. 2019) 931 F.3d 887, the Ninth Circuit sided with the student newspaper, reversing in part and vacating in part a district court’s dismissal of the complaint, holding that the Eleventh Amendment did not bar The Koala’s claims, and allowing the case to proceed.

Background

The Koala is a UCSD student organization that publishes a newspaper featuring art and satirical writing. In 2015, The Koala published an article which mocked the concept of “safe spaces” on college campuses. The publication included numerous ethnic and sexist stereotypes, generating various complaints and prompting UCSD to publicly denounce the article. Two days later, the UCSD student government passed the Media Act (the Act), eliminating student organization funding for all print media. Thereafter, The Koala brought suit against UCSD, alleging multiple violations of the First Amendment. Specifically, The Koala argued that in violation of the Free Press Clause, the Act intentionally singled out and financially burdened The Koala, and that it did so in retaliation against the publication of the “safe spaces” article. The Koala also argued that funds for student organizations were a limited public forum and the Act’s exclusion of The Koala from the forum was viewpoint discrimination and violated the Free Speech Clause. UCSD filed a motion to dismiss these claims, and the district court granted the motion, concluding that The Koala’s claims were barred by the Eleventh Amendment. The Koala appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

Ninth Circuit Opinion

The Ninth Circuit reversed in part and vacated in part the district court’s dismissal of the complaint, allowing The Koala could move forward with its claims. First, the Ninth Circuit analyzed whether The Koala’s claims should be barred by the sovereign immunity doctrine under the Eleventh Amendment, which generally prevents a state and state government actors from being sued in federal court without the state’s consent. The Ninth Circuit found that because The Koala was seeking only a return of theireligibility to apply for funding, and not an order directing the state to provide funding, the claims were not barred by the Eleventh Amendment.

The Ninth Circuit then analyzed each of The Koala’s claims individually, starting with the freedom of the press claim. The Koala argued that the Act targeted student press by defunding it and that it was “substantially motivated by discrimination,” while UCSD argued that the Act did not implicate the Free Press Clause because it applied equally to all student organizations. The Ninth Circuit sided with The Koala and found that The Koala stated a viable cause of action, vacating the lower court’s decision.

Next, the Ninth Circuit addressed The Koala’s freedom of speech claim, which argued that UCSD created a limited public forum (funds for student organizations) and then closed off a portion of that forum (print media) with the intent specifically to deny The Koala access to it. While The Koala asserted that the forum consisted of the entire student activity fund, UCSD claimed that the forum was specifically limited to the media funds and that regardless of how the forum was defined, they were free to close it. The Ninth Circuit agreed with The Koala and concluded that the entire student activity fund was the relevant forum for assessing the appropriateness of UCSD’s actions. Because the district court came to a different conclusion, the Ninth Circuit vacated the order granting the motion to dismiss the claim and remanded the decision for consideration under the appropriate forum framework.

Lastly, with regard to their retaliation claim, The Koala argued that the Act was passed in direct response to the “safe spaces” article and intended to silence The Koala’s content. UCSD claimed that the government’s motive is irrelevant when it enacts a rule that is content neutral and intended to apply generally (i.e., applies to all print media). The Ninth Circuit sided with The Koala, holding that the Act did not apply equally to all student organizations, as it banned only print media organizations from obtaining student activity fee funding. The Koala was also found to have alleged an adequate nexus between its speech and the implementation of the Act.

Takeaways

Universities and community colleges should keep this decision in mind when responding to controversial matters. This is especially true in instances where the college’s actions may be viewed as retaliatory or an attempt to silence or regulate student speech, even if the action does not exclusively target the speaker.

If you have any questions about these new laws, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcast, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.

Written by:

Steve Ngo

Partner

Stephanie M. White

Senior Counsel

©2020 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

California Passes New Law To Increase Protection And Safety Of Special Education Students In Nonpublic Schools

January 2020
Number 3

Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1172 this fall, which imposes additional requirements upon nonpublic schools (NPSs), as well as the local educational agencies (LEAs) that place students in NPSs, in order to increase the safety and protection of students in NPS placements. This legislation was passed following the high profile death of a 13-year-old special education student, who passed away after being placed in a prone restraint at an NPS.

AB 1172 places new monitoring requirements on LEAs that enter into contracts with NPSs, and places on NPSs, new documentation requirements related to administrator and staff training, as well as new notification requirements for any student-involved incident involving law enforcement. Most of the new requirements imposed by AB 1172 become effective beginning with the 2020-21 school year.

More specifically, AB 1172 amends Education Code section 51225.2 to include the following:

New requirements placed on LEAs

Beginning with the 2020-21 school year:

  • LEAs that enter into master contracts with NPSs must conduct an onsite visit at the NPS before placing a student there if the LEA does not have any students enrolled at the school at the time of placement.
  • LEAs must conduct at least one onsite monitoring visit each school year at each NPS in which the LEA has a student attending and with which it maintains a master contract. The monitoring visit should include, but is not limited to: a review of services provided to the student through the individual service agreement between the LEA and the NPS; a review of the progress the student is making towards his/her goals as set forth in their individualized education program and behavioral intervention plan, if applicable; an observation of the student during instruction; and a walkthrough of the facility. Additionally, LEAs will need to report the findings resulting from their monitoring visits to the California Department of Education (CDE) within 60 calendar days of each onsite monitoring visit.

New requirements placed on NPS Sites

Beginning with the 2020-21 school year:

  • Each NPS will need to provide documentation that it will train staff who will have contact or interaction with students during the school day in the use of evidence-based practices and interventions specific to the unique behavioral needs of the NPS’s student population. The training will need to be provided within 30 days of employment to new staff, and annually to existing staff.
  • For an NPS to be certified by the CDE, it will need to provide documentation that its administrator holds or is in the process of obtaining one of the special credentials or licenses specified in the law.
  • NPSs serving students with significant behavioral needs or students on behavioral intervention plans, must certify in writing that they have an individual onsite during school hours who is qualified, and responsible for the design, planning, and implementation of behavioral interventions.
  • NPSs must notify the CDE and the LEA of any student-involved incident in which law enforcement was contacted, in writing, no later than one business day after the incident occurred.

AB 1172 also allows the CDE to immediately suspend or revoke the certification of an NPS, if an investigation conducted by CDE results in a finding that student health or safety has been compromised, or is in danger of being compromised, at the NPS.

Takeaways

According to the Legislature, AB 1172 could result in unknown but potentially significant costs to LEAs in conducting the onsite visits of NPSs and the reporting of findings resulting from those visits to the CDE within the specified timeline. School districts should consider identifying or creating a position to conduct the NPS onsite visits, report to the CDE on those visits, and ensure NPS certification when entering into a master contract with an NPS. Training responsible staff on AB 1172 and the requirements identified in Education Code section 51225.2 is also recommended. School districts are also encouraged to consult with counsel regarding these new requirements, if needed.

For additional information regarding AB 1172, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcast, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.

Written by:

Marcy Gutierrez

Partner

Brenda E. Arzate

Associate

©2020 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

Data Breach Notification Law Gets Updates With Important Implications

January 2020
Number 2

Data breaches are all but inevitable and occur in all types of organizations. Public entities are no exception, with cyber criminals increasingly targeting the wide-range of sensitive information they maintain (e.g., student data, resident data, confidential government infrastructure data, etc.). Against the backdrop of and in response to this looming threat of cyber-attacks, Governor Newsom recently signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 1130, which makes small but significant changes to the state’s existing data breach notification laws.

Current Law

Under Civil Code section 1798.29, any agency (including a local government or school district) that owns or licenses computerized data that includes personal information has an obligation to provide notice to any California resident whose unencrypted personal information is or is reasonably believed to have been acquired without authorization. Notification to affected individuals must be made in the format and include the information specified in the law. Importantly, notification obligations are triggered when the acquired information includes personal information as defined under the law, unless the information was encrypted and the security credentials or encryption key that would permit access to the information was not also acquired. As defined under the law, personal information includes an individual’s first name or first initial, and last name, in combination with certain other types of information including social security number, driver’s license number, and medical information. For a more detailed discussion, including the specific information required to be included in a breach notice, see Lozano Smith’s 2017 TIPJar Article.

New Law

Effective January 1, 2020, AB 1130 amends the definition of personal information under Civil Code section 1798.29 with the purpose of addressing perceived gaps in the categories of sensitive information protected under the law. Under these amendments, personal information will now include an individual’s first name or first initial, and last name, in combination with either of the following (in addition to the data elements previously included in the definition):

  • Driver’s license number, California identification card, tax identification number, passport number, military identification number, or other unique identification number issued on a government document commonly used to verify the identity of a specific individual.
  • Unique biographic data generated from measurements or technical analysis of human body characteristics, such as fingerprint, retina, or iris image, used to authenticate a specific individual (not including a physical or digital photograph, unless used or stored for facial recognition purposes).

These changes have the potential to significantly impact public entities in terms of data breach notification obligations. Because biometric data is less commonly found in public entity databases, the largest impact from the new law will likely be the expansion of the types of government identification numbers that, if disclosed, may create a reportable event. By including within this definition “other unique identification numbers issued on a government document,” the law now potentially encompasses many additional types of information used by public entities to identify individuals within their databases and which they would not normally associate with or guard as personal information, one of example of which would be student identification numbers.

Takeaways

The best response to the threat of a cyber-attack is being prepared for it. Public entities should act now to review their data security and breach incident policies and procedures to ensure those documents define a reportable incident in compliance with the changes made by AB 1130. Personnel responsible for the organization’s data security should be placed on notice of these changes and instructed to make updates to all relevant policies, procedures, and data security training, as appropriate. Finally, those organizations without such policies or procedures should strongly consider adopting them to ensure they are prepared to comply with the California’s breach notification requirements, when, not if, an information security incident occurs.

If you have any questions about AB 1130 or data security breach notification obligations of public entities in general, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcast, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.

Written by:

Devon B. Lincoln

Partner

James N. McCann

Associate

©2020 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

New State Laws Aimed At Protecting LGBTQ Students And Students Who Are Pregnant Or Parenting

January 2020
Number 1

Assembly Bills (AB) 493 outlines new requirements for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to train certificated employees, serving in grades 7 to 12, to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth. AB 809 outlines new requirements for public colleges and universities to increase awareness of the Title IX rights provided to pregnant and parenting students. Additionally, AB 34 requires that specific information on bullying and harassment prevention be posted on the websites of school districts. (For more information see CNB 70.)

AB 493: LGBTQ Resources and Trainings for Teachers

AB 493 was signed into law on October 12, 2019, adding Education Code section 218 with the goal of improving the overall school climate for LGBTQ students. Specifically, by no later than July 1, 2021, AB 493 requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop and update resources for in-service training on school site resources (e.g., counseling services, peer support groups, relevant policies, etc.) and community resources for LGBTQ pupils (e.g., healthcare providers experienced in treating LGBTQ youth), as well as strategies to increase support for LGBTQ students. The CDE will design the training resources for schools serving students in grades 7 to 12. Importantly, the new law encourages schools to use the training resources to provide training at least once every two years to teachers and other certificated employees who serve students in grades 7 to 12.

AB 809: Website Posting Requirement for Title IX Protections for Pregnant and Expecting Students

AB 809 was signed into law on September 6, 2019, and requires public postsecondary institutions (the University of California, the California State University, and California community colleges) to prominently post on each institution’s website and provide information regarding, Title IX protections for pregnant and parenting students. Title IX is an existing federal law prohibiting discrimination of any person on the basis of sex, in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Implementing Title IX in California, Education Code section 66281 outlines various accommodations afforded to pregnant and parenting students. AB 809 now adds section 66061 and amends section 66281.7 to:

  • Require all public colleges and universities to inform pregnant and parenting students of the protections provided by Title IX on the institution’s website;
  • Require each public postsecondary educational institution with an on-campus medical center to provide notice of the protections provided by Title IX through the medical center to a student who requests information regarding policies or protections for students with children or pregnant students and when otherwise appropriate; and
  • Encourage child development programs established by the public postsecondary educational institutions to give specified priority to children of students who are unmarried and meeting specified income requirements.

Takeaways

AB 493 and 809 are focused on providing training and resources that will support LGBTQ youth and parenting students in public colleges and universities. LEAs and public colleges and universities should review these requirements to make sure they are in compliance.

If you have any questions about these bills or about student issues in general, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcast, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.

Written by:

Marisa R. Lincoln

Partner

Stephanie M. White

Senior Counsel

Lauren A. Lyman

Associate

©2020 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

Governor Signs A Suite Of Bills Aimed At Supporting Students In Higher Education

December 2019
Number 87

Governor Newsom signed a host of Assembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB) in support of higher education, which expand existing student aid programs and eligibility criteria, among other things.

California College Promise

The existing California College Promise program waives enrollment fees for eligible students. The program generally targets students from low-income families or who are receiving government assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. The Budget Act of 2019 (AB 74) expands the California College Promise by providing funding for community colleges to offer up to two years tuition free enrollment to first-time, full-time California students. Another bill, AB 2 expands access to the California College Promise program by allowing students with disabilities to qualify for the program even without a full-time course load. AB 2 also specifically excludes participation by students who have previously earned a degree or certificate from a postsecondary educational institution.

Student Equity and Achievement Program

The Seymour-Campbell Student Success Act of 2012 established the Student Equity and Achievement Program, aimed at closing achievement gaps for students from traditionally underrepresented groups in higher education. AB 943 amends the Program by authorizing the use of Program funding for emergency student financial assistance to help eligible students overcome unforeseen financial challenges that would directly impact the student’s ability to persist in their course of study. These challenges include, but are not necessarily limited to, the immediate need for shelter or food as well as textbook purchases and transportation assistance.

Internet Website Notification of Public Services and Programs

Existing law seeks to establish “hunger free campuses” within the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU) and California Community Colleges (CCC). AB 1278 adds a requirement that the attendance student web portal for CSU and CCC campuses include notification of, and a link to, information on public services and programs, such as the CalFresh program, housing resources, and mental health services. UC campuses are “requested” to include this information, but not required to do so. This bill is intended to connect students to existing social services resources to address areas of student need.

California DREAM Loan Program

The California DREAM Loan Program provides educational loans for qualifying undergraduate, UC and CSU students. Qualifying students with a full-time course load may borrow up to $4,000 per year or $20,000 total. Effective July 1, 2020, SB 354 expands eligibility for DREAM loans to students enrolled in qualified professional or graduate degree programs, including, but not limited to, a teaching credential program.

Chafee Educational and Training Voucher Program

The Chafee Educational and Training Voucher (ETV) Program is designed to provide financial assistance for current and former foster youth attending college. Effective July 1, 2021, SB 150 implements changes to the ETV disbursement process by (1) relaxing the academic progress requirements for recipients of student aid (in a manner similar the Cal Grant disbursement process) and (2) instituting an appeals system for those not meeting academic standards. The new disbursement process is structured to provide aid at the beginning of the school year when it is needed most.

If you have any questions about recently signed student aid bills, please contact the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcast, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.

Written by:

Trevin E. Sims

Partner

Stephanie M. White

Senior Counsel

Tilman A. Heyer

Associate

©2019 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.