AB 573 (Portantino) was introduced to enable CCST to provide up to 10 Ph.D. and equivalently trained scientists and engineers fellowships in the State Legislature. This CCST professional development program, referred to as the California Science and Technology Policy Fellowships (Fellowships), will place fellows in legislative offices for a one-year assignment. Fellows will assist legislators by bringing their technical training and expertise to bear on the many complex issues facing decision-makers spanning a broad range of topics of priority interest to the California Legislative body. AB 573 was passed by the Assembly with a vote of 78-0 on June 2 and has been referred to the Senate.
“AB 573 offers a unique opportunity for the CA Legislature to receive, at no cost, the expertise of Ph.D. or equivalent scientists and engineers,” said Assembly Member Anthony Portantino, who sponsored the bill. “This Fellowship program is being offered to our policy making body at a critical juncture in our state, national and global economies. Recognizing that new directions and new frontiers will be needed, the federal government has made an historic commitment to basic science and applied research.”
The Fellowship program is modeled after, and adapted for California from, the 35-year-old Science and Technology Fellowships Program administered for the benefit of the U.S. Congress by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The California Science and Technology Policy Fellowships program will be the first professional development program in the nation that will place Ph.D. level or equivalent science and technology experts in state legislative offices through a formal fellowship program. Applications were accepted through May 29th for the program.
“Daily it is becoming evident that science is more essential to our future prosperity and security than at any other time in history,” added Portantino. “The science and technology expertise made available to the California Legislature through these policy fellowships will assist the state in meeting this 21st century challenge.”