California Capitol Hill Bulletin, March 20, 2014

  • by BPC Staff
  • on March 21, 2014

California Capitol Hill Bulletin

Volume 21, Bulletin 7 – March 20, 2014[online/pdf]



Budget: California Institute Releases Additional Reports On Administration’s FY15 Budget And California Implications

Transportation: DOT Reports Expected Shortfall In Highway Trust Fund By End Of FY14 

Education: House Ed & Workforce Committee Assesses Charter Schools; Stanford Releases Report On CA Charter Schools

Immigration: Pew Research Finds Unlawful Reentry Leading Cause Of Increase In Federal Convictions

Budget: California Institute Releases Additional Reports On Administration’s FY15 Budget And California Implications

        The California Institute has released the following reports on the President’s FY 2015 Budget request, which was released earlier in March 2014.

        – Department of Commerce and Small Business Administration –

        – Department of Defense and Corps of Engineers –

        – Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency –

        – Department of the Interior –

        – National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Science Foundation –

        Previously, the Institute published the reports below:

        – Department of Agriculture –

        – Department of Education –

        – Department of Health & Human Services –

        – Department of Homeland Security –

        – Department of Housing & Urban Development –

        – Department of Justice –

        – Department of Labor –

        – Department of Transportation –

Transportation: DOT Reports Expected Shortfall In Highway Trust Fund By End Of FY14

        The Highway Trust Fund comprises two accounts: the highway account, which funds construction of highways and highway safety programs, and the transit account, which funds mass transit programs. Excise taxes on gasoline are the primary sources of revenue for the trust fund. Over the past seven years, spending has outpaced revenue receipts by $49 billion; CBO estimates that 2014 spending will outpace revenues by $14 billion, according to their report “The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024” released in February of this year. “For it’s baseline spending projections, CBO assumes that future limitations on obligations will be equal to amounts set for 2014, adjusted annually for inflation. Under those circumstances, and without other legislative action, the two accounts would be unable to meet obligations in a timely manner at some point in 2015, although it is possible that the highway account will have to delay certain payments during the latter half of 2014.” However, updated estimates released by the Department of Transportation (DOT) on March 16, 2014 show that the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund will encounter a shortfall before the end of fiscal year 2014, based on current spending and revenue trends. Because states rely on reimbursements from the DOT for many infrastructure projects, a cash shortfall could pose a major challenge. As of the end of February, the Highway Account cash balance was at $8.6 billion and the Mass Transit account balance was at $3.2 billion.

        For more information, please visit:


Education: House Ed & Workforce Committee Assesses Charter Schools; Stanford Releases Report On CA Charter Schools

        On March 12, 2014, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing titled “Raising the Bar: The Role of Charter Schools in K-12 Education.” During the hearing, members discussed ways charter schools are empowering parents, pioneering fresh teaching methods, encouraging state and local innovation, and helping students escape underperforming schools. Chairman John Kline (MN) highlighted House efforts to support charter schools, including the House passage of the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act in the last Congress, as well as last year’s House passage of the Student Success Act. Pending Senate action on the Student Success Act, he said “the House will explore opportunities to advance targeted legislation to encourage charter school growth.”

        Witnesses included: Deborah McGriff, Chairwoman of the Board, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Milwaukee, Wis.; David Linzey, Executive Director, Clayton Valley Charter High School, Concord, Calif.; Lisa Graham Keegan, Chairwoman of the Board, National Association of Charter School Authorizers, Peoria, Ariz.; Alyssa Whitehead-Bust, Chief of Innovation and Reform, Denver Public Schools, Denver, Colo.; and Alan Rosskamm, CEO, Breakthrough Schools, Cleveland, Ohio.

        In explaining the benefits of charter schools, Lisa Graham Keegan said, “Public charter schools were created specifically to advance achievement. They reflect the vision, the skills, and the heart of the team that founds them. They are intentional schools, schools built to order, to meet a need known but not met, a possibility understood but not yet realized.”

        Furthermore, charter schools offer the critical autonomy needed to make site-based decisions and timely implementation of policy, according to Mr. Linzey, who illustrated this point with the example of the transformation of an underperforming traditional school in Concord, CA into a charter school through California’s charter conversion law. “This autonomy is paying off quickly. Clayton Valley Charter High School received tremendous recognition in the local press for their high achievement results, with the top academic achievement gains in California last year for large comprehensive high schools. Their 62-point jump on the State’s Academic Performance Index (API) took them from a score of 774 to 836 in a single year, ranking them a 9 out of 10 on the statewide ranks.”

        Dr. Deborah McGriff, Chair of the Board for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, stressed the importance of continuing the federal Charter Schools Program. “I don’t believe the public charter school sector’s growth to meet parental demand for educational options would have occurred the way it has without the presence of dedicated federal funding. Let me say that again to be perfectly clear: while public charter schools are inherently local, the movement would not have achieved its current success had it not been for the Federal Charter Schools Program.”

        In related news, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University has recently released a report entitled “Charter School Performance in California.” The California report provides an in-depth examination of the results for charter schools in California. It is also an update to CREDO’s first analysis of the performance of California’s charter schools released in 2009, which can be found on CREDO’s website. “The results for the California state-wide report are varied. While we see improvement in the results of charters, particularly for those students who attend charter schools in urban areas, overall the results continue to be mixed,” said Margaret Raymond, Director of CREDO at Stanford University. For all California-specific findings, including a separate report specific to Los Angeles, as well as national findings, please visit:

        For the full testimony of the witnesses at the hearing, please visit:


Immigration: Pew Research Finds Unlawful Reentry Leading Cause Of Increase In Federal Convictions

        Based on an analysis of data from the United States Sentencing Commission, the Pew Research Center has reported that enforcement of the immigration offense of unlawful reentry into the United States is the primary driver of the dramatic growth over the past two decades of the number of offenders sentenced in federal courts.

        Between 1992 and 2012, the number of offenders sentenced in federal courts more than doubled, rising from 36,564 cases to 75,867. At the same time, the number of unlawful reentry convictions increased 28-fold, from 690 cases in 1992 to 19,463 in 2012. The increase in unlawful reentry convictions alone accounts for nearly half (48%) of the growth in the total number of offenders sentenced in federal courts over the period. By contrast, the second fastest growing type of conviction–for drug offenses–accounted for 22% of the growth, all according to the Pew report.

        Of the 19,463 unlawful reentry convictions in 2012, 73% were concentrated in only five U.S. border districts, including the Southern District of California. Of the top five, the District of Arizona had the highest number of convictions at 3,915 cases, while the Southern District of California had 1,399. The next highest district, the Central California District, is significantly lower at 424 cases. As a result of their higher share of cases, these districts have the highest average caseload per judgeship of all of the 94 federal district courts, according to Pew Research analysis. Implemented in five Border Patrol Southwest sectors, the U.S. Border Patrol’s Operation Streamline program has accounted for 45% of all federal immigration-related prosecutions in Southwest border districts between 2005 and 2012. The concentration of unlawful reentry cases in these districts has dramatically skewed the average number of cases per judge across U.S. district courts. For example, there were 24 sentences per judgeship in Washington D.C. in 2012 compared to 718 sentences per judgeship in the Western District of Texas.

        As unlawful reentry convictions increased, the demographic composition of sentenced offenders changed. In 1992, Latinos made up 23% of sentenced offenders; by 2012, that share had grown to 48%. Over the same period, the share of offenders who did not hold U.S. citizenship increased from 22% to 46%. Among federal sentenced offenders in 1992, 12% were unauthorized immigrants. By 2012, that share had increased to 40%.

        Unlawful reentry convictions in federal courts are part of a broader stepped up enforcement effort from the U.S. Border Patrol begun in 2005. The data for this report come from the USSC and cover all federal felony and misdemeanor cases between 1992 and 2012 for which the offense category is known and the offender is sentenced in federal courts. These data include all criminal immigration offenses sentenced under the U.S. sentencing guidelines, but do not include civil immigration charges that are heard before U.S. immigration courts.

        In 1992, by far the largest offense type for all federal offenders was drugs, accounting for 45% of convictions, while immigration offenses accounted for 5% of offenses. By 2012, the analysis found, immigration offenses made up 30% of offenses and drug convictions accounted for 33% of offenses.

        Nearly all of those sentenced for unlawful reentry in federal courts received a prison sentence. On average, the sentence length for these offenders was about two years, according to the report.

        For the complete report, please visit: