Brown line-item vetoes $50 million in UC funding Saturday

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Gov. Jerry Brown signed five bills and vetoed three others related to higher education Saturday, including a line-item veto removing $50 million in additional funds to the UC system from a budget amendment.

The $50 million in additional funds, aimed at deferred maintenance across the UC system, was supported by UC President Janet Napolitano, student groups such as the University of California Student Association and many university workers unions.

Still, Brown removed the funds, also removing another $50 million slated for the CSU system.

“We should not commit additional General Fund monies of this magnitude when we are facing unanticipated costs such as fighting the state’s extreme wildfires,” Brown said in his message to the California State Assembly.

Students went to Sacramento in August to lobby the legislature to pass the bill, formerly referred to as Senate Bill 872 and Assembly Bill 1476.

“Given the state’s improved financial outlook, we believe that AB 1476 provides a fiscally responsible way to make our campuses safer in the short-term and increase access and opportunity in the long-term,” said a number of campus unions and the UCSA in a letter sent to Brown earlier this month.

Brown also vetoed a bill that would have instituted studies tracking UC and CSU eligibility among high school students and vetoed another that would have reformed the Cal Grant financial aid system to disburse more awards, moving it closer to its goal of 22,500 awards.

He signed Assembly Bill 420, which eliminates schools’ authority to suspend or recommend for expulsion primary school students who willfully defy school personnel.

Brown also signed a number of bills slightly changing current law, including a bill that updates the evaluation of which universities are eligible for Cal Grants. He also signed a bill that makes students who have received California high school credit equivalent to three years of high school eligible for in-state tuition, even if they have not attended the full three years.

Daniel Tutt is the lead higher education reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @danielgtutt.