Senate Bill 1629, sponsored by Senator Jackie Speier along with Assemblymembers Sally Lieber and Betty Karnette, was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger. SB 1629, enacting the Federal Laboratory Contracting Act, modifies the existing state’s contracting procedures and policies to enable California to contract with Department of Energy and NASA federal funded laboratories, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NASA Ames Research Center, Sandia National Laboratory/California, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Stanford Linear Accelerator.
Previously, differences in accounting procedures between federal and state policies made it virtually impossible for the state to contract with these facilities, making much of the lab’s cutting-edge research and development inaccessible to the state. CCST helped bring this procedural roadblock to legislators’ attention with its January 2006 report, California’s Federal Laboratories: A State Resource. Senator Speier proposed SB 1629 in response to the CCST report.
“I didn’t quite expect the report I received,” said Senator Speier upon the reports’ release in January. “We are sitting on a gold mine of technology that can energize our economy and we’re not mining it – in fact, we’re not even prospecting yet… I say if it is a matter of saving lives and our economy, let’s contract, let’s put the technology to use as soon as possible.”
SB1629 is defined as an ‘urgency statute’ and will take effect immediately.
“It is gratifying when a CCST report has a direct impact, and rarely is that impact so rapid or direct,” said CCST Council Chair Lawrence Papay.