Padilla’s Bill Cleans Up College Transfer Process

August 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Sacramento — Community college students could soon have a smoother transition to 4-year universities, if legislation that seeks to standardize the process students trying to enroll in courses needed to earn their Associates Degree is passed.

Cuts to California’s education system have led many community colleges to cut course offerings, forcing students to take classes at other campuses. Under current law, community colleges in the state are not required to recognize course credits from other California Community College (CCC) campuses, and that has made it difficult for students to meet the requirements to transfer to a California State University, CSU.

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Van Nuys, authored a cleanup bill to SB 1440 passed in 2010, which implements the Student Achievement Reform Act (STAR Program). Together, SB 1440 and the STAR Program require the CSU to guarantee admission to community college students — who have earned their Associates of Art (AA-T) or Associate of Science (AS-T) transfer degree — with junior class standing to one of 23 CSU campuses.

“While, SB 1440 requires California State Universities to accept all community college courses designated for transfer, some community colleges do not want to recognize coursework from fellow community colleges, thereby preventing students from transferring earned credits freely and efficiently from one community college to another,” according to the senator’s website.

“[The cleanup bill would] remove these barriers and make the process smoother, more efficient,” said Padilla’s chief of staff Bill Mabie.

The Student Transfer Bill, SB 292, calls for reciprocity between campuses. All community colleges affiliated with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) would have to recognize course credits earned on their campuses so that students can earn their Associate Degrees and attend a 4-year university sooner rather than later.

Mike Uhlenkamp, Director of Media Relations and New Media at the California State University, said they are currently working with the Chancellor’s office to implement SB 292, which would go into effect this fall semester if passed.

The bill passed 38-0 in the senate, and was last seen July 5 in the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, where it passed 7 to 1. It goes next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for a hearing in mid-August.

According to the Assembly Committee’s analysis of the bill, the cost to the state to make the changes are negligible.

“My legislation, for the first time in California history, promises community college students a clear and guaranteed pathway for admission to a CSU with junior status and an associate degree,” said Padilla in a news release.

Grocery Chains Detail Proposed Healthcare Plan Offer to Workers

August 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

As hundreds of grocery workers and their supporters rallied yesterday to push for a new contract, the three major grocery chains released details of their latest health care proposal, which they claim would hold the line on costs but require employees to pay $9 a week for single coverage.

The cost of family coverage under the proposal would be $23, according to officials for Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons.

According to the grocery chains, the latest health-care proposal would maintain the current prescription drug co-payments and the annual deductible and out-of-pocket maximums in the PPO plan.

Under an HMO option, there would be no change to medication co-payments.

“The employers’ goal throughout these negotiations is to provide their employees with a solid compensation package, including affordable health care, and to also produce an agreement that will enable the companies to compete in Southern California in a difficult economy with aggressive, low-cost competition,” according to a statement from the companies.

The proposal was presented to the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 on Tuesday, and the union was quick to criticize it yesterday. Union officials insisted the revised plan would still force workers to spend almost half of their salaries on health care costs.

The union and grocery companies have already reached an agreement on pension issues, but wages and health care costs still need to be resolved, with health care drawing the most ire from the union.

“There still is no wage proposal. There still is no comprehensive contract offer,” union President Rick Icaza said.

“These corporations made more than $3 billion in profits last year alone, and paid out $500 million to Wall Street and investors. But they want their workers to cut their pay by as much as 50 percent. That’s wrong.”

The union’s membership voted in April to authorize a strike, but the workers were expected to hold another strike-authorization vote as early as next week in response to updated contract proposals.

Sheriff’s Headquarters to Move Back to Downtown LA

August 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Work is scheduled to begin this month on a project that will eventually allow the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department to move its headquarters out of Monterey Park and back to downtown Los Angeles, the department announced on Monday.

Damage from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake forced the Sheriff’s Department to move its headquarters out of the historic Hall of Justice, where it had been located for 69 years.

The building’s repair and restoration have been in the works for the last decade, but it was not until recently that the County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the $231 million needed for the renovation project that will include seismic retrofitting, upgrades to the elevators, the installation of new electrical and mechanical systems and connection of sewage, water and gas. The plans also call for a 1,000-space parking garage to be constructed.

The project should be finished by late 2014, according to the department.

The Hall of Justice is located at 211 West Temple Street, at the corner of Broadway and Temple Streets. It is a 14-story building that has been shuttered for the last 17 years.

Sheriff’s spokesperson Nicole Nishida said the Hall of Justice facility will be shared with the District Attorney’s office.

Offices now located in Whittier will be moved to the Monterey Park location, after the headquarters is relocated, she said.

“Sex crimes, major crimes, detectives, homicides all of them would be moving here and then we’ll be moving to the Hall,” Nishida said.

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