The UCLA State Relations team has been working hard and closely with the UC Office of the President and state lawmakers on a number of bills this legislative session. Below is a list of the highest profile bills set to impact UC and UCLA, the system’s position, and the status of each.
The following letter about the newly ratified California state budget from UC President Janet Napolitano was distributed on June 27:
Dear Friend of UC:
I am writing to provide you with an update on the state budget for the University of California, which has been signed into law by the Governor. While State revenues fell far short of January projections, leading to a tighter than expected budget environment, we are pleased with the budget agreement the Governor and the Legislature reached. This budget provides critical new funding for important UC priorities including student outreach and support, efforts to improve diversity, increasing California enrollment, and innovation and entrepreneurship activities at our campuses.
President Barack Obama speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, Monday, June 20, 2016, at the Washington Hilton in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
President Barack Obama announced a $70 million federal award Monday to a nonprofit co-founded by UCLA to create a nationwide Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, with the goal of improving the efficiency of advanced manufacturing.
The institute will be headquartered in downtown Los Angeles in partnership with the city, led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and supported by UCLA’s leadership. It will include a national network of five regional manufacturing centers funded by $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and more than $70 million in matching funds from many of the institute partners.
In good news for higher education advocates, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on June 9 approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services education appropriations bill — potentially paving the way for year-round Pell Grant funding.
Receiving bipartisan support, the education appropriations bill would expand Pell Grant eligibility to low-income students attending classes year-round — often called the Summer Pell program. The change would benefit approximately 1 million students nationwide, who could see a roughly $1,650 boost to their Pell awards. This would raise the max Pell Grant award from $5,815 to $5,935.
New UCLA Government and Community Relations Senior Executive Director Richard Benbow III talks at the recent Project SPELL graduation. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)
This is not to say that Richard Benbow III did not enjoy the cable television business — as an avid sports fan, he more than relished his roles with DirecTV and Time Warner Cable. However, it’s been hard for him not to notice the change in tenor of the conversations he has out in the public when he mentions his advocacy for UCLA.
“Higher education was something instilled in me early on and it’s something I can get behind,” he said. “When you say UCLA, people light up.”
Still, Benbow, who started his new position in UCLA Government and Community Relations as Senior Executive Director earlier this year, hasn’t minded leaving behind those questions of why someone’s cable box isn’t working right.
Councilman Curren Price extolls the virtues of the newly approved SLATE-Z Promise Zone on June 6.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti was on hand at Los Angeles Trade Technical College on June 6 to announce that South Los Angeles has won a federal Promise Zone designation.
The goal of Promise Zones, which were created by President Barack Obama in 2013, is to reduce poverty by creating a federal partnership with communities most in need.
The SLATE-Z (South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone) Promise Zone has been engineered by a coalition of 54 formal partners, including UCLA, and more than 50 additional allies. It is home to nearly 198,000 residents in parts of Vernon-Central, South Park, Florence, Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, and the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhoods.