Assembly Bill 121, considered a “Trigger Bill”, was introduced by Huffman, Chesbro and other members of the Committee on Budget. This bill called for the elimination of $248 Million from the Home-to-School transportation fund. It was voted on by the Assembly and Senate floor on 6/28/11. The Assembly passed this bill 51-28 with both Huffman and Chesbro as “Aye” votes. The Senate passed the bill 23-17 with Noreen Evans voting “Aye”. The bill was enacted with Governor Jerry Brown signature.I would venture that when arguments were coming up about this bill, someone probably pointed out that only 16% of the students in California use the bus, so this affects only a small part of the population. But why did our rural legislative representatives not consider how harshly this would affect our far north counties? Or how can they justify what has happened.
Stephen Rhoads of Strategic Education Services, which represents a coalition of school transportation departments. says that what has been rumored was that the Democrats thought that cutting transportation would hurt the Republicans. In the end, it doesn’t hurt the Republicans at all, because none of them voted for AB 121. Rhoads says that the Democrats were following the direction of their leadership and may not even have known what they were approving.
Both Evans and Chesbro seem to be experiencing regret on voting for this bill. Chesbro has been getting a lot of mail and phone calls and is meeting in caucus with his peers to come up with a way to restore the funding. Evans, too, is scrambling to undo the damage.
I appreciate that our legislators are now trying to do something about the issue, but what do you think those odds are? Not very good in my book.
(Thanks to Mary Anderson of the Redwood Times for some of this information)