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Capitol Roundup: Mixed Results For Higher Education Bills


The California Legislature has blocked an effort to cap nonresident student enrollment at every UC campus. Meanwhile, smoking and vaping would be banned on public college campuses starting in 2018 under a bill that moved ahead.

UC Nonresident Student Cap Stalls In Legislature

A push to limit nonresident enrollment at each University of California campus has failed its first vote at the state Capitol.

Asm. Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) argued his bill is necessary to ensure California students can attend the UC.

“The notion that nonresident students help increase access for California students – the math just doesn’t add up,” McCarty told the Assembly Higher Education Committee on Tuesday.

But Asm. Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) said the UC has no choice but to accept more out-of-state students because they pay higher tuition.

“The Legislature and the governor massively cut UC and CSU funding, and yet we have sort of expected that there wouldn’t be dramatic, bad consequences,” Williams said. 

The measure failed by a few votes. McCarty’s office says he’ll narrow the bill’s focus so it applies only to the Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego campuses and try again in the coming weeks.

Smoking Ban On College Campuses Wins First Vote

A new bill in the California Legislature would ban tobacco use – including e-cigarettes – on public college campuses starting in 2018.

Sacramento City College nurse Wendy Gomez spoke in favor of the bill at the Assembly Higher Education Committee hearing Tuesday. She says smoking is “an unhealthy coping mechanism that leads to addiction.”

“College students are under a lot of stress and they’re looking for a way to cope with that stress,“ she says. “And part of our goal as a college is to teach them healthy coping strategies. That is not one.”

The University of California already prohibits smoking on its campuses. But just one of the 23 CSU campuses and 16 of the 113 community colleges have similar bans.

Nobody spoke in opposition to the bill. It passed on a 10-3 vote and next moves to another Assembly committee.

Several other bills that have drawn the ire of the tobacco industry are headed for Governor Jerry Brown’s desk after passing the Legislature last week.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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