CCST's mission is to focus California's science and technology talent on important policy issues facing the state. However, there is little communication back to the S&T community on what is happening in the legislative and executive branches of state government that could impact, or be impacted by science and technology. Capitol Happenings
is a section of the CCST Report that provides a brief summary and update on what is going on in state government, be it new action from the Governor's Office, legislative committees or new legislation. Material for this article was contributed by Gus Koehler, principal consultant of Time Structures
Research Education, and Energy Central to Governor's Plans
Governor Schwarzenegger laid out an ambitious agenda for 2007 in his State of the State address on January 9 that stresses the importance of the state's high-tech sector and names innovation, education, and the environment as key elements of preparing California for the future.
"The number of high technology companies that we have in California is related to the number of brilliant scientists we have in our universities, which in turn relates to how many smart undergraduates we have, which is related to the number of high school students who graduate, and so on down through the grades... The small child with the sticky hands starting the first day of kindergarten is the foundation of California's economic power and leadership."
-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Innovation and education are two critical areas that four CCST task forces stressed in their recent report to the Governor, Shaping the Future: California's Response to Rising Above the Gathering Storm. The industry-led task forces made attracting and keeping top talent and improving K-12 science and math teaching, their top recommendations.
The focus on education follows several key legislative acts in 2006 aimed at streamlining teacher training and credentialing (such as SB 1209). Although Schwarzenegger raised several issues regarding education spending, a key item he is proposing for the 2007-08 budget is an additional $52 million Career Technical Education Initiative, which integrates core academics at the high school and community college levels with technical and occupational courses to give students a pathway to postsecondary education and careers.
The Governor's focus on innovation and research was made public prior to the State of the State address, as Schwarzenegger had announced his $95 million Research and Innovation Initiative on December 27.
"The Governor's initiative is a major investment in research and development at the University of California. It will help us to attract the most talented students and faculty from around the world to California...[and] translate research advances into applications - both commercial and medical - that will benefit Californians in their everydyay lives."
CCST Board Member
UC Senior VP of University Affairs
The emphasis on research and development dovetails with a strong focus on environmental concerns and support for alternative energy research. The Governor directed the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency to work directly with the California Energy Commission, the state Air Resources Board, the University of California and others to develop the pace at which targets set for greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 may be achieved. The analysis will become part of the State Implementation Plan for alternative fuels required by AB 1007; it will also be submitted to the California Air Resources Board for consideration as an "early action" item under AB 32, California's landmark bill establishing a comprehensive program to achieve quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gases. Addressing California's long-term energy and infrastructure needs is the theme of the next CCST Council meeting on February 1.
The Legislative Analyst's Office overview of the Governor's Budget released in January suggests that the administration's revenue assumptions for 2007-08 may be overly optimistic, and that implementing some of the Governor's key budget proposals may be problematic. It remains to be seen how the budget develops over the next few months.