At a news conference on Wednesday a half hour after a teacher-school employee- nurse coalition’s event, Assembly Member Linda Halderman (at left in photo) and Sen. Bob Huff (at lectern)– coauthors of CTA-opposed SB 161 – assert that the measure is vital.
Sen. Huff said that the authors were concerned with children, while CTA and other unions were interested only in protecting adults in the school system.
Dr. Halderman, who was a surgeon in private practice in the Fresno area, said the administration of Diastat would save lives and prevent damage to students.
Other SB 161 proponents argued that the medication is “easy” to administer. CTA representatives countered that it would be easy for someone who, like Assembly Member Halderman, had more than eight years of medical school and a surgical residency.
Teachers, Nurses, Parents Battle SB 161 – “Diastat” Bill Would Harm Students, Educators, and Schools
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) 6 July 2011 – A coalition of teachers, nurses, other school employees, and parents warned the public and lawmakers that a measure by Sen. Bob Huff threatens to do harm to the very students it seeks to help.
Flanked by parents, nurses, and school employees, Harry Keiley (at lectern), president of the Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association, warns that CTA-opposed SB 161 (Huff) violates the cardinal rule of medicine by threatening to do harm to the students with seizures it aims to help. Behind Keiley is an instruction chart from the Federal Drug Administration website that shows how complicated the procedure of administering the drug is – particularly to a student in the throes of a seizure in a crowded classroom.
At a Capitol news conference Wednesday morning, Harry Keiley, president of the Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association, cautioned that Sen. Huff’s SB 161 would violate the basic element of the physicians’ Hippocratic oath “to do no harm.” The measure would require “volunteer” school employees to administer a form of valium – “Diastat” – rectally to a seizing student during class time or during transportation to and from school on district buses.
“It would lead to teachers, school bus drivers, and other ‘volunteers’ administering a dangerous drug through students’ rectal cavities during class time or travel time….SB 161 could do great physical harm to the student, up to and including death,” Keiley told television and radio reporters covering the news event.
“SB 161 could also do harm to the educator and the school district by subjecting them to legal liability if something should go wrong. SB 161 could harm other students by traumatizing them by having to witness the procedure in their classroom. SB 161 would allow educators and school employees to do a medical procedure that California law bars even trained firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTS) from doing,” Keiley pointed out.
Keiley stressed that the bill is the wrong “prescription” for the real malady affecting schools – a critical shortage of funding that has forced layoffs of more than 18,000 employees, including school nurses trained and fully capable of administering the drug safely.
SB 161 was scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly Education Committee Wednesday afternoon.
Erin Niemela, a Davis parent of a child with a seizure disorder, said the bill’s provisions to let non-medical personnel administer the drug would put her child at risk and not make her daughter safer.
Carolyn Richie, a Compton Unified classified school employee, revealed that her nephew is prescribed to take Diastat for his seizures, but she would be reticent to administer the drug herself even in the safety of her home. “I can’t imagine administering this medication in a busy school environment, publicly exposing his private parts in front of numerous other children and adults.”
“The California School Nurses Organization believes correctly assessing a student in the throes of a seizure, correctly administering rectal medication and monitoring the student after the medication is given are skills for which only licensed nurses are prepared,” said Mary Ann Delleney, a registered nurse and coordinator of health programs for the Folsom Cordova Unified School District. “There are only a small number of students with seizures who require emergency medication at school, and they need nurses to care for them.”
School employees stressed that the bill’s provisions that claim it would apply only to “volunteers” are naïve or deceiving. They noted that districts can pressure employees – especially new teachers and educational support professionals who do not have “tenure” protections – to perform the procedure, even if they feel they are not qualified to do so.
Sen. Bob Huff is pressing the Assembly Education Committee to pass on Wednesday a CTA-opposed bill that would have teachers and other school personnel play the role of nurses in a medical situation that could harm the student “patient” and put the educator and school district at risk of losing desperately needed funds in a liability hearing should anything go wrong.
Specifically, Huff’s SB 161 would allow educator “volunteers” to administer Diastat (a valium compound) into the rectum of a student suffering from a specific form of seizure. Wrongly applied, the rectal “injection” could harm the student.
The dangerous measure treats a symptom – instead of the real disease – plaguing California’s schools. Cuts of some $20 billion have decimated public education and exacerbated shortages of nurses on campuses. SB 161 is a poor substitute for the real prescription – a large, long-term injection of funds into schools.
Educators, nurses, parents and others are aghast at the proposal, which could have a teacher removing a student’s clothing in the middle of a class to administer the medication, while the student is potentially thrashing about violently in the throes of a seizure.
California law does not even allow highly trained paramedics to administer this drug – but SB 161 would make it okay for teachers to do so.
For more information about SB 161 (Huff) and how to help defeat it, go to CTA’s Take Action page.
This link will take you to a Federal Drug Administration publication that describes Diastat medication and how it should be administered.
(SACRAMENTO) 30 June 2011 — Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed the new 2011-2012 state budget, a day before the start of California’s new fiscal year.
The governor made a total of about $270 million in line item vetoes (reductions or cuts in appropriations), with two of note to education supporters. The vetoes eliminated the California Postsecondary Education Commission at a savings of $1.9 million. He also vetoed $2.1 million in federal funding supporting CalTIDES, a data system aimed at tracking teacher performance. The governor did not veto funding for CalPADS, the student data system, an item he had proposed in January to defund.
In announcing the budget signing, the governor’s office also released a list of the line item vetoes the governor made before penning the spending plan into law.
Below is the news release announcing the budget enactment. A link will take you to the list of the governor’s vetoes.
Governor Brown Signs Honest, Balanced and On-Time Budget
SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed the 2011-12 California State Budget (SB 87), dropping General Fund spending to the lowest level in decades, returning authority to local government and closing the state’s $26.6 billion deficit.
The budget makes substantial cuts to government programs and reduces state spending by $15 billion. As a result, California’s General Fund spending—as a share of the economy—is now at its lowest level since 1972-73. The budget also takes critical steps to address the state’s long-term fiscal challenges by eliminating more than three-quarters of the structural deficit, putting
in-place a $500 million reserve and making a commitment to secure stable funding for core services moving forward.
“This is an honest but painful budget that returns California’s General Fund spending to levels unseen since the 1970s. We’ve cut our deficit by $15 billion dollars and achieved financial balance this year. This is a huge step forward. But California’s long-term stability depends on our willingness to continue to pay down debt and live within our means,” said Governor Brown.
The budget recognizes that, since the May Revision, California’s tax revenues have continued to increase, providing billions of dollars to help close the budget gap and fund education under Proposition 98. Current projections are that $4 billion in revenue will be collected during the next fiscal year. As a safeguard, however, if these revenues are not realized, billions of dollars in
additional cuts will be triggered to maintain a balanced budget.
The mix of cuts and revenue allow Governor Brown to maintain two key budgetary priorities, protecting K-12 education and funding the historic realignment initiative. Realignment stops the revolving door in California’s state prison system by making lower-level offenders eligible for incarceration, alternative sanctions and supervision at the local level, which is believed to be far more effective. Realignment is supported by the state’s police chiefs, peace officers, sheriffs and probation officers.
The budget includes $23.8 million in line-item vetoes.
The 2011-2012 California State Budget, in full, is available at: www.ebudget.ca.gov.
The Sacramento Bee’s Kevin Yamamura spells out how a budget trailer bill – AB 114 — will help protect teachers and other educators against layoffs tied to any mid-year cuts triggered by a shortfall in anticipated revenues.
The 2011-2012 fiscal year budget agreement provides staggered “cut” triggers that will fire if new state revenues drop significantly below the projected level of $4 billion.
It is anticipated that the projected revenues will allow districts to rescind more of the 20,000 layoff notices given to teachers by May 15.
Yamamura explains that as a result of the measure, Chapters will have the opportunity to bargain over any layoffs. Districts will also have three years over which to balance their budgets, instead of a single year.
Read more about what the Bee calls a “big win” for the California Teachers Association in the story:
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) June 28 – The leader of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association is commending Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic Senators and Assembly Members for approving the best budget they could, given Republican lawmakers’ efforts to “hijack” the spending plan and block an extension of temporary state revenues that would have further protected schools.
In a prepared statement released to the media on June 28, CTA President Dean E. Vogel noted that the budget agreement reached by the governor and legislative Democrats on June 27 “is certainly not a perfect budget plan, but it is what Democratic lawmakers and the Governor were able to do in light of the Republicans’ refusal to work with them to pass a budget that would temporarily extend revenues to protect our students, schools and our state.”
At the same time, the CTA leader cautioned that the 2011-2012 spending proposal is “far from what our schools and colleges need to provide all students a quality education….[but] it protects [students and schools] from much worse cuts and will help local school districts and colleges plan for the coming year.”
The CTA President pointed out that the plan includes a deferral of $3 billion in K-14 funding and $300 million in new cuts in higher education funding.
“This year as thousands of educators were laid off, class sizes pushed higher, the school year shortened, student programs eliminated, and college tuition fees increased, Republican lawmakers simply watched and offered no honest solutions that would even maintain California’s current level of funding to public education……Republicans hijacked the state budget process and refused to put the needs of our children above their own special interests. Our students deserve a better example and a better chance at a well-rounded and adequately-funded education,” said Vogel.
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) 27 June 2011 – Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker John Perez, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced during a Monday afternoon “media availability” at the Capitol that they had reached a budget agreement that will not require a single Republican vote to enact.
The measure, which the governor reminded reporters needs to be fully vetted and approved by both houses, relies on $4 billion in new revenues that the governor says are “already in hand” and other higher-than-earlier projected revenues that could bring in another $4 billion in the coming year, the governor said.
During the 12 minute and 52 second availability, the governor said the budget agreement is balanced and provides “triggers” that would cut education and other vital public services by an additional $2.6 billion if the revenues do not come through.
The governor commended Democratic lawmakers in both houses for making the additional cuts necessary – tough cuts – that balanced the budget for this year. These cuts, he said, included further reductions of $650 million each for the University of California and the California State University systems.
“It’s a good budget, the governor declared,” but it’s not the budget I started with in January or that the Democratic leadership wanted that requires new revenues.”
The governor said it was the best budget he could get “given the fact I can’t get any Republican support” for his proposed extension of some expiring state taxes.
The governor cautioned that the state still has a “wall of debt hanging out there,” and he said this structural deficit is a direct result of former-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to cut the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) and then “back-fill” local government money with state funds.
The governor said he would be looking “seriously at a ballot measure to generate revenue to create financial stability,” an option that was available last March but was rejected by Republicans.
Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg stated that the “agreement [is on] a budget that is balanced and to the greatest extent possible protects education, jobs, and the California economy.” He recounted that Democrats had cut more than $12 billion from the original budget, in addition to $2.6 billion in additional cuts that could come as a result of the trigger.
“Earlier this year, the governor asked Democrats and Republicans to get out of their comfort zones…for Democrats, that meant having to make vital cuts in vital programs,” the Pro Tem said.
He charged that Republican lawmakers had abdicated their responsibility by not helping forge a budget solution. He said that if their behavior of the past six months should continue, the Democrats would continue to show their willingness and ability to take charge.
“Republican legislators stonewalled the process…for months and as a result we will not be having a special election this year,” Assembly Speaker Perez told reporters. He anticipates trying to put a revenue measure on the November 2012 ballot measure so that the state can secure the funds to close the structural deficit and pay down the “wall of debt” that has plagued the state for more than a decade.
Democrats passed a budget that will not cause massive layoffs or compromise the state’s economic recovery, the speaker stated.
“There was not a willingness to sign on to the extensions, no matter what we did,” the governor emphasized during a brief question and answer session with reporters. He noted that he came to the conclusion last night after receiving a text message from a Republican that made it clear that it was impossible to secure the two GOP votes needed in each house to move a budget with the tax extensions.
The governor said the Republicans evidenced “almost a religious reluctance to deal with the state budget in a way that involves new revenues.” He said despite his proposals to make changes to public pensions, implement a spending cap, and relax state environmental regulations, the Republicans would not provide the four votes needed to move a budget with tax extension language, language that required a two-thirds majority.
The governor warned that the trigger cuts, should they become necessary because of “over-optimism” about revenues, would reduce the school year and do other further damage to public education.
Governor and Democratic Leaders Announce Budget Deal that Relies on Cuts, Rising Revenues, and a Trigger
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — In a Monday afternoon media availability at the state Capitol, Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez announced a budget deal they say will provide the state with a balanced budget for 2011-2012 and “legally and creatively” comply with the provisions of Proposition 98, the school funding protection provisions of the state constitution.
The governor noted that the budget agreement will “balance the budget in a year….but to put California on a firm glidepath….in absolute balance….that does take new revenues.”
Earlier press reports indicate that the deal projects an increase of about $4 billion in state revenues and includes a “trigger” that would reduce funding to education and other vital services if those revenues don’t come through.
The governor praised Democrats in the legislature for making the deal and recognized that lawmakers on his side of the political aisle “don’t like making cuts and the [potential] ‘trigger cuts’” that could reduce funding to education and other vital services if projected rising revenues do not materialize.
During the media availability, the governor and lawmakers hit Republican legislators for obstructing the budget process. Pro Tem Steinberg declared that Republican lawmakers had in effect abdicated their responsibility, leaving it up to Democrats to make the hard decisions. The Democrats will continue to act on majority votes if we have to, the Pro Tem told reporters.
Both the Pro Tem and Assembly Speaker John Perez told reporters that they had the votes in their respective houses to pass the agreement and send it to the governor.
During his comments to reporters, the governor stated that Republican lawmakers seem to have a “religious reluctance to deal with the state budget.”
Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton fired off the following response after the budget announcement was made – “Californians deserve better than the ‘Hope without Change’ budget the Democrats announced today. This latest budget is based on the hope that $4 billion in new revenues will miraculously materialize, but does absolutely nothing to change government as usual.”
Bee: New Democratic Budget Might Be in Works – Failure of Projected Revenues to Materialize Would Trigger Mid-year Education Cuts
The Sacramento Bee’s Kevin Yamamura is reporting that Democratic legislative leaders have been meeting with the governor over a new budget plan that would project an increase of $4 billion in state revenues for the coming year. Under terms of the proposal, funding for public schools and other vital public services could be reduced mid-budget- year 2011-2012 if revenues were to fall below the newly projected levels, according to the report on the Bee’s CapitolAlert website.
The pending spending plan would reportedly also shift some state revenues to counties, reducing the state’s obligation to schools under Proposition 98, the voter-approved initiative that placed a minimum funding requirement in the state Constitution, according to the story.
The Bee reportage suggests the governor is moving away from his strategy of trying to get four Republican votes for a bipartisan budget that would include an extension of the state’s temporary taxes. Lawmakers and the governor are working to have a new budget in place prior to the July 1 start of the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
Note that the situation in the Capitol could change rapidly, and education supporters would be well-advised to continue pressing their lawmakers to honor their promise and protect public education from additional devastating cuts, including any technical actions that would reduce the minimum funding schools would receive.
CALL HIS LOCAL OFFICE!
The state budget battle continues with the Governor still searching for two Republican votes in the Assembly and two in the Senate to pass the temporary tax extensions. Republicans are still refusing to engage at all. On June 16, the Governor vetoed a budget passed on a majority vote by Democrats.
It’s time to keep fighting for more revenues and get the four votes needed for tax extensions. It’s also time to say NO to an “all-cuts” budget that would devastate our schools, colleges and essential public services.
CTA and the Education Coalition are calling on all lawmakers to make public education a priority and protect students from more cuts.
Call your own State Senator and tell him/her that our students deserve better. Sen. Cannella’s constituents: Please make your call and let Sen. Cannella know that education funding must be a priority. He must support a budget that protects schools, colleges and other essential services.
Sen. Anthony Cannella’s District OfficesModesto (209) 577-6592
Merced (209) 726-5495
Salinas (831) 769-8040
Sen. Bill Emmerson represents SD 37 in Riverside County. The senator was a legislative staff member nearly 30 years ago, before earning his D.D.S in dentistry and M.S. degree in Orthodontics. He was first elected to the Assembly and has served in the Senate since 2010.
During his 26-year dental career in Hemet, he played a key role in establishing a dental hygiene program at Riverside Community College. During his legislative tenure, he authored legislation to help combat poor oral health by requiring all school children to have an oral health assessment during kindergarten or their first year in school, ensuring that children receive the dental care they need.
Bill and his wife, Nan, have two daughters, Kate and Caroline, and two family dachshunds, Bridget and Hank.
Recently, Senators Emmerson, Tom Berryhill, Sal Cannella, and Tom Harman released the following statement in response to the governor’s veto of the legislative budget:
“While the Governor did the right thing by vetoing the Democrats sham budget, we challenge his assertion that Republicans have blocked the right of the people to vote.
“In fact, it’s the Democrats who are holding California hostage by refusing to allow the voters to weigh in on meaningful structural reforms — not just Governor Brown’s tax proposal.
“We have been consistent and clear from day one – let the people vote on the reforms that would end our state’s chronic budget deficits and put Californians back to work. Let them have a say in the future of California. Let’s get this done.”
Contact Sen. Emmerson at: Capitol office: 916-651-4037 Riverside office: 951-680-6750 Palm Desert office: 760-568-0408
Senator Tom Harman represents 35th Senate District, including Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Cypress, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and portions of Buena Park, Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Westminster.
The senator has consistently supported legislation to limit the size and scope of government. He states that throughout his legislative career, he has signed and honored his pledge to vote against all new taxes.
After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kansas State University, Harman joined the United States Army and served as a lieutenant in the 4th Infantry Division. After completing his tour of duty, he entered Loyola Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctorate in 1968.
Upon graduating from Loyola, Harman joined the Long Beach law firm of Lucas & Deukmejian, whose partners were future California Chief Justice Malcolm Lucus and future governor George Deukmejian.
He and his wife Dianne have been married for over 40 years and have two children, Michael and Michelle.
Capitol office: 916-651-4035
Costa Mesa office: 714-957-4555