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California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools

A.B. 2350 - Governance & State Oversight

05/09/2014

Sponsor: Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (D)

Summary: Provides that the Donahoe Higher Education Act, known as the Equity in Higher Education Act, declares that it is the policy of the State of California that all persons, regardless of their sex, should enjoy freedom from discrimination of any kind in the postsecondary educational institutions of the state. Adds to the Equity in Higher Education Act, a provision specifying that this policy of freedom from discrimination includes, but is not limited to, freedom from pregnancy discrimination as described in a specified federal statute.

Prohibits postsecondary educational institutions, including the faculty, staff or other employees of these institutions, from requiring a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from the graduate program or limit his or her graduate studies solely due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues. Requires postsecondary educational institutions, including the faculty, staff or other employees of these institutions, to reasonably accommodate pregnant graduate students so that they may complete their graduate courses of study and research. Requires the maintenance of the student status and status in the graduate program of graduate students who choose to take leaves of absence because they are pregnant or have recently given birth, unless there is a medical reason for a longer absence. Requires postsecondary educational institutions to allow graduate students who choose to take leaves of absence because they are pregnant or have recently given birth up to twelve additional months to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations and an extension of up to twelve months toward normative time to degree while they are in candidacy for a graduate degree.

Allows a graduate student who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth a period consistent with the policies of the postsecondary educational institution, or a period of 12 additional months, whichever period is longer, to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations and an extension of at least 12 months toward normative time to degree while they are in candidacy for a graduate degree, unless a longer extension is medically necessary.

Provides that an enrolled graduate student in good academic standing who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth would return to her program in good academic standing following a leave period of a duration determined by the postsecondary educational institution, or a period of 2-academic-year semester terms or 3-academic-year trimester terms, whichever period is longer, subject to the reasonable administrative requirements of the institution, unless there is a medical reason for a longer absence, in which case her standing in the graduate program would be maintained during that period of absence.

Requires each postsecondary educational institution to have a written policy on pregnancy discrimination and procedures for addressing pregnancy discrimination complaints under Title IX or this bill. Requires a copy of this policy to be made available to faculty, staff, and employees in their required training, and made available to all students attending orientation sessions at a postsecondary educational institution.

Amendment #4 (5/8/2014): http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_2301-2350/ab_2350_bill_20140508_amended_asm_v95.pdf

Amendment #3 (4/24/2014): http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_2301-2350/ab_2350_bill_20140424_amended_asm_v96.pdf

Amendment #2 (4/7/2014): http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_2301-2350/ab_2350_bill_20140407_amended_asm_v97.pdf

Amendment #1 (3/19/2014): http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_2301-2350/ab_2350_bill_20140319_amended_asm_v98.pdf

As introduced: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/13-14/bill/asm/ab_2301-2350/ab_2350_bill_20140221_introduced.pdf

Status: Introduced 2/24/2014. Referred to Assembly Committee on Higher Education 3/10/2014. Amended, re-referred to the Committee on Higher Education 3/19/2014. Amended, re-referred to the Committee on Higher Education 4/7/2014. Hearing held, reported 4/22/2014. Amended; re-referred to Assembly Committee on Appropriations 4/24/2014. Hearing postponed 5/7/2014. Amended 5/8/2014. Hearing scheduled 5/14/2014.

Outlook: This measure was withdrawn by the sponsor for the fourth time, amended and re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriation, which scheduled a hearing on the measure May 14. The author's amendment allows a graduate student who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth a period consistent with the policies of the postsecondary educational institution. At the scheduled hearing, the Committee on Appropriations will accept limited public testimony. A vote on this measure is expected at the hearing. Should the Committee determine this measure has a significant fiscal impact, it may place this measure in its suspense file for consideration at a later time. Per Joint Rule 61(b)(8), the committee has by May 23 to act on this measure.

This measure was withdrawn by the sponsor, amended and re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. The author's amendment is technical in nature.

The Committee on Higher Education recommended this measure for passage by a 13-0 vote. A large number of state wide and federal professional and educational organizations registered in support of the measure. There was no opposition registered with the committee.

This measure was withdrawn by the sponsor, amended and re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. The author's amendment is technical in nature.

This measure was amended by the author to prohibit postsecondary educational institutions from requiring a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from the graduate program or limit his or her graduate studies solely due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues.

The sponsor is a member of the majority party but has not garnered the support of any cosponsors. The Democratic Party controls both legislative chambers as well as the Office of Governor.

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