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Now that the bill to limit police use of deadly force is a done deal, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber has another big issue in mind to tackle next.
Laws creating new restrictions on independent contractors and vaccine exemptions sucked up virtually all of the Capitol’s oxygen in the last two months, so it might be easy to forget just how big of a deal it was that the Legislature was able to pass – and the governor signed – a landmark bill changing the standards on police use of deadly force.
The bill took two years to get across the finish line, after Assemblywoman Shirley Weber and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins decided to carry it over into this year in order to ensure its survival.
Now that it’s a done deal, VOSD contributor Kelly Davis recently asked Weber what big thing she plans to tackle next.
Her answer: the Local Control Funding Formula, the complex and controversial system that doles out school funding.
Here’s how VOSD’s Maya Srikrishnan explained the system, back in 2017:
The state gives each school district a sum of cash based on enrollment. That’s called “base” funding, and districts can use it for whatever they need. Then there’s a second tier of funding, the supplemental funds, for schools’ low-income students, English-learners and homeless and foster youth. Finally, there are concentration funds, intended for districts with an abundance of those groups of disadvantaged students. The state gives the district money per student, and the students with higher needs get more funds.
The system has been dogged by two major complaints: that it’s not transparent, and that it’s not accomplishing its purpose – giving the neediest students a boost.
“We still have the lowest-performing kids who are not included in LCFF,” Weber said. “And the report that just came out yesterday or the day before concerning achievement of kids who are poor, kids who are African American, are still stuck at the bottom. That is going to, for this year, take a high priority for me.”
Weber also said that she’s interested in standardizing police departments’ body camera policies. Her 2015 bill that would have created statewide guidelines for police use of body cameras died in the Assembly.
“We’re still getting calls and concerns that there is no policy concerning body cameras. And that is causing still a lot of angst in communities where police who said they would write their own policies and they did not, or they have not written them to the satisfaction of communities, whatever it may be — the release of the tapes and all that, and the fact that the mandate to turn the thing [camera] on,” Weber said. “So we’ve got these body cameras everywhere, but then people say turn them off and people (police) can turn them off. And then you don’t know what happened after they say turn them off. So we still have issues of transparency.”
But she reiterated that the LCFF funds and exploring ways to close the achievement gap will be her No. 1 priority next year.
“But, like I said, the main thing for this year, hopefully, is to look at our funding, LCFF for schools, the low-performing students. What are we doing as a state to change that? And that’s going to be a major piece for me this year.”
The end of the legislative session always involves a crazy avalanche of bill signings and vetoes (a billvalanche, if you will) that can be hard to keep track of.
Here are a few pieces that break up new bills into bite-sized, subject-matter pieces:
Kelly Davis contributed to this report.