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SB-574 University of California: contracts: bidding.(2017-2018)

Bill Status
Lara (S)
Gonzalez Fletcher (A)
University of California: contracts: bidding.
An act to amend, repeal, and add Section 10507.7 of, and to add Section 10507.6 to, the Public Contract Code, relating to public contracts.

Type of Measure
Active Bill - In Floor Process
Majority Vote Required
Fiscal Committee
Non-State-Mandated Local Program
Non-Tax levy
Last 5 History Actions
Date Action
03/03/18 Last day to consider Governor’s veto pursuant to Joint Rule 58.5.
10/15/17 In Senate. Consideration of Governor's veto pending.
10/15/17 Vetoed by the Governor.
09/22/17 Enrolled and presented to the Governor at 3 p.m.
09/15/17 Assembly amendments concurred in. (Ayes 26. Noes 11. Page 2997.) Ordered to engrossing and enrolling.
Governor's Veto Message
To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 574 without my signature.

This bill seeks to equalize, or at least greatly minimize, the wage and benefit disparity between employees of the University of California (UC) and its contracted workers in specific job categories. This is the third time this policy, with some modification, has been passed by the Legislature.

After twice vetoing prior attempts, I am tempted to sign this measure, for no other reason than it is a well-intentioned bill that seeks to improve the financial security of contracted workers, or, alternatively, expand direct employment at the UC for lower wage workers. As the UC prides itself on being an agent of social mobility for students, it might follow that UC could similarly be an agent of social mobility for lower-wage workers at its campuses.

Good intentions, however, aren't always enough. The mechanism to create this social change locks in cumbersome and overly costly contracting rules that provide little flexibility, regardless of circumstance. This will not serve the university or the state well.

In the best of worlds, the UC would make greater efforts to control its cost structure and find the means to better compensate lower wage workers, both employed and contracted-so that fewer would be concerned about housing, hunger and healthcare. Though UC has made some attempts in this regard, much work remains, including holding flat executive compensation and benefits that near many hundreds of thousands of dollars and more, far beyond what the average Californian would think reasonable for an employee of a public university.

What the state requires of the university's contracting policy should be more carefully considered, thoughtfully debated and weighed against other high value programs of expenditure. The State Auditor's recent report made some useful recommendations on contracting practices, which the UC can act on now. Other actions to improve UC's policies can be considered when the UC's total budget is considered by the state.


Edmund G. Brown Jr.