Statutory Laws and Amendments

The following provides a listing of the major statutes and amendments related to the organization, governance, and operation of California's public higher education system. Please refer to the 1849 and the revised 1879 State Constitutions for references on the establishment of public schools, the University of California, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education.

This chronological listing provides a glimpse into the gradual expansion of the role of the state teachers colleges (what became the California State University system) and the difficulties of coordinating what became the nation's largest public higher education system beginning in the 1930s.

1852 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 53, establishing a state board of education

California was slow to develop the governance and budgetary systems necessary to establish and develop a system of free public schools (common schools). No provision was made in the constitution for a state board of education. Established by this statute, the board had limited authority, in part because of the constitutional provision for a statewide elected post of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. This 1852 bill also allowed for the creation of local school boards. -- JAD

1868 Organic Act, chartering the University of California

This act chartered the University of California, providing for a Board of Regents, a president, and an Academic Senate to manage the institution, and set general operating rules such as admissions and financial responsibilities of the Board. The legislation also allowed the new state university to acquire the property and programs of the College of California in Oakland. The 1868 Act was in part a reaction to the timeline set by the 1862 Agricultural Land Grant Act, which provided federal land grants to all states that submitted a plan and a charted institution(s) within a prescribed time.

California had, in fact, passed such an act in 1866 which outlined that the state institution be largely a polytechnic; however, supporters for the idea of a state university (teaching more than vocational and applied fields, and with the charge of pursuing research), including Governor Fredrick Low, assemblyman Dwinelle who carried the bill, and the president of the private College of California in Oakland, sought a broader charge. From 1868 until a constitutional amendment in 1918, the Organic Act remained the major source for the mission and organization of the University. -- JAD

1907 Amendment to the California State Political Code: Chapter 69, allowing local governments to establishment public junior colleges

California became the first state in the nation to provide legislation for the establishment of local junior colleges as, at first, simply extensions of local high schools. The specific purpose outlined in the legislation was to provide courses that were equivalent to collegiate curriculum at the University of California and that allowed, under a formal agreement proposed by UC faculty, transfer at the junior year to the campus at Berkeley. -- JAD

1917 Amendment to the California State Political Code: Chapter 304

1921 Amendment to the California State Political Code: Chapter 605, regarding governance of state colleges under the state board of education

The legislation provided for the establishment of the State Department of Education under the governance of the State Board of Education, and the executive leadership of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (a constitutional and elected position). It also provided for the reorganization of the state's collection of regional normal schools (teacher education institutions) under the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and renamed the normal schools "State Teachers Colleges" in part reflecting the development of post-secondary programs for teachers. This legislation was the direct result of a legislative review of California higher education chaired by State Senator Herbert Jones, and reflective of a recommendation by University of California faculty and professor Ellwood Cubberley at Stanford University. -- JAD

1923 Amendment to the California State Political Code: Chapter 331, regarding teachers credentials and state teachers college curriculum

This bill elevated all state teachers credentials to a four year post-secondary degree, sanctioned the State Teachers Colleges to grant the B.A. in education and expanded the powers of the State Board of Education in regulating teachers credential programs. -- JAD

1933 Amendment to the California State School Code: Chapter 812, establishing a coordinating council for higher education

The bill was passed as one of the few recommendations accepted by the legislature following a state sanctioned study of California's higher education system by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The bill established a State Council of Educational Planning and Coordination, the first entity specifically charged with reviewing and making recommendations to coordinate California higher education. The Council, however, would prove fractious and had no direct powers. -- JAD

1935 Amendment to the California State School Code: Chapter 261, regarding state colleges and curriculum leading to the bachelors degree

This legislation renamed the State Teachers Colleges simply "State Colleges" and allowed as a "secondary function courses in liberal arts" not directly related to teacher education. This bill was staunchly opposed by University of California officials who wished to limit the programs of these regional colleges to strictly teacher education. Although the bill states that the purpose of all degree programs in the colleges should be for "students intending to enter the teaching profession teachers," this legislation provided the State Colleges with a sense that they could now officially expand their programs to offer a general B.A. degree. Enrollment in non-teacher education courses proceeded to increase dramatically. -- JAD

1947 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 367, sanctioning masters degrees at the college

This bill more clearly stated the responsibility of the State Colleges to offer courses and degrees leading to "a general or liberal education and for responsible citizenship." This legislation also provided sanction for post-graduate degree leading to the Masters in Education. -- JAD

1947 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1026

1949 Desmond Act, regarding establishment of a new public higher education institution in Sacramento

Anxious to establish a new four-year higher education institution in Sacramento, Assemblyman Earl Desmond had first offered legislation in 1947 to convert Sacramento City College into a new public college in Sacramento with its own governing board (and hence, independent of the UC and State College systems). The bill was not acted on by the Governor pending the 1948 Strayer Report. The report recommended against the conversion of any junior college to a four year institutions, and proposed a new state college in Sacramento. The Desmond Act replaced the previous legislative act and established what would become Cal State Sacramento. -- JAD

1949 Act Making Appropriation for Los Angeles State College

This legislation allowing for the purchase of land for the establishment of what would become Cal State Los Angeles is representative of a series of statues and appropriations made in the post-World War II era to expand California's higher education system. Funding for this expansion was made possible in part by large scale state surpluses built up during the war period in California, and then used by the state government to bolster higher education and a vast array of public works projects. -- JAD

1949 Amendment of Act Making Appropriation for Sacramento State College

Like the act establishing a new state college in Los Angeles, this legislation noted the urgency of establishing a state college campus in Sacramento. -- JAD

1956 Guy Hall v. The City of Taft

1957 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1681, regarding a priority list of new campus sites

Following the submittal of the 1957 "Additional Centers" report to the legislature, lawmakers submitted a number of bills for new campuses, some of which were on the list provided by the report. This bill established what would become Cal State Hayward and Cal State Fullerton, and provided appropriations for site acquisition "before 1960" of these two campuses, and for what would become Cal State Stanislaus and Cal State Northridge. -- JAD

1960 Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 23: Chapter 13, (Davis, et. al., memorializing the death of assemblywoman Donahoe; 1st Extraordinary Session of the 1960 Legislature)

This resolution was passed honoring Assemblywomen Dorothy Donahoe after her unexpected death of pneumonia, and shortly before the final vote on the bill placing in statute major aspects of the 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education. -- JAD

1960 Donahoe Act, regarding the missions and governance of California's public higher education system

1960 Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 16: Chapter 24 (Miller and Fisher, relative to the autonomy of the state colleges; 1st Extraordinary Session of the 1960 Legislature)

This resolution noted the legislature intent to provide significant flexibility and autonomy to the new Trustees of the State Colleges. "Budget bills hereafter enacted," states the resolution, "shall provide for the state college system certain exemptions from fiscal and budgetary controls similar to those exemptions presently granted to the University of California." This language was adopted after the legislature refused to place the establishment of the Trustees and other elements of the Master Plan into the state constitution. The purpose was to retain one objective of the Master Plan: the reduction in the regulatory controls that had hindered the management of the state colleges. -- JAD

1960 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 44, relating to student fees of the state colleges

This bill set for the first time out-of-state fees for the State Colleges, with an allowance for special exceptions granted reached by other state agencies. -- JAD

1960 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 47

1960 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 48

1960 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 53

1960 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 54

1961 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 12

1961 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 663

1961 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1077 (AB 608, Garrigus, et. al.)

Along with AB 2804 (Chapter 1935 of Statutes of 1961, below), these amendments set out procedures for junior college district formation. -- TJG

1961 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1787

1961 Amendment to the California State Education Code: 1796 (SB 1152, Miller, et. al.)

This amendment delineates powers and duties of the Trustees of the California State Colleges. -- TJG

1961 Amendment to the California State Education Code: 1797 (SB 1155, Miller, et. al.)

This amendment gives the Trustees authority to name future state colleges. -- TJG

1961 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1935 (AB 2804, Petris)

See annotation for AB 608 (Chapter 1077 of Statutes of 1961, above). -- TJG

1961 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 2082

1964 Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 24: Chapter 37 (1st Extraordinary Session of the 1964 Legislature)

This resolution relates to year-round academic programs at the University of California and the California State Colleges. -- TJG

1967 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1549 (SB 669, Stiern)

1968 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 705 (SB 196, Rodda)

1970 Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 198: Chapter 285 (AB 987, Lanterman)

1971 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 232 (AB 108, Greene)

1973 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1187 (AB 770, Lanterman)

AB 770 created the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) in response to recommendations from the 1973 Report of the Joint Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education. That report stated that the predecessor Coordinating Council for Higher Education (CCHE) "had never fulfilled the function of statewide planning and policy development and has never been equipped to do effective statewide coordination." CPEC was created to have a majority of public members, split among three appointing authorities (Governor, Senate, Assembly). Employees of higher education institutions were prohibited from serving on CPEC. A criticism of the CCHE had been that it was dominated by the Governor and the segments. CPEC was given a mandate to carry out continuous planning for higher education through preparation of a five-year plan that was to be updated annually. -- TJG

1974 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 835 (Alatorre)

1974 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 835

1978 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1058 (AB 3075, Lanterman)

This amendment reduced the size of CPEC by reducing public members from twelve to nine and reducing the number of representatives from each segment of higher education from two to one. It eliminated the representatives of the vocational/technical colleges. -- TJG

1984 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1506 (SB 2064, Stiern)

This bill directed the "blue-ribbon" Master Plan Commission established by SB 1570 to be charged, as its first priority, with a reassessment of the California Community Colleges. The Commission submitted The Challenge of Change: A Reassessment of the California Community Colleges to the Joint Legislative Committee in March 1986. -- TJG

1984 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1507 (SB 1570, Nielsen)

This bill established a new review of the Master Plan for Higher Education. It created a dual-track review process, establishing both a "blue-ribbon" lay commission with staff to prepare background papers and make recommendations and a Joint Legislative Committee that would then consider the work of the "blue-ribbon" commission and make its own recommendations. -- TJG

1988 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 973 (AB 1725, Vasconcellos)

This was the major omnibus community college reform legislation that sought to implement many of the recommendations from The Challenge of Change. The bill mandated a "shared governance" consultation process that some commentators have called more "political than collegial." It added faculty representatives to the Board of Governors. It established the requirement that local community districts move toward a ratio of 75 percent full-time faculty to 25 percent part-time faculty. AB 1725 removed credential requirements for faculty, exempted some Chancellor's Office positions from state civil service, and sought to establish systems of staff development and accountability. It called for a common core curriculum of lower division general education requirements that would be accepted for transfer at UC and CSU. It also established a new funding system for community colleges that moved them away from the traditional K-12 average daily attendance (ADA) approach to a program-based FTE funding model similar to other higher education systems. It sought to carve out a 11 percent share of Proposition 98 funding for community colleges, but that provision has not been adhered to by the Legislature. It also sought to create an accountability system. -- TJG

1990 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1587 (SB 1570, Nielson. Public postsecondary education: missions)

Senator Nielson had introduced the original 1984 resolution (above) establishing the Master Plan Commission. He thus wanted to carry this legislation modifying the missions of the higher education segments. There was a broadening of CSU's mission to include "research, scholarship, and creative activity in support of its undergraduate and graduate instructional mission." Around this time, CSU received a state General Fund line item appropriation for faculty research for the first time. The community college mission statement eliminated the specific rank order of its various missions, but retained a primary mission of "rigorous, high quality degree and certificate curricula in lower division arts and sciences and in vocational and occupational fields." Missions were added for other higher education entities including independent colleges, CPEC, and the Student Aid Commission. -- TJG

1990 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1699 (AB 4270, Bader. Cal Grant provisions.)

This bill added a provision to set a goal that the number of first-year Cal Grant awards be at least equal to one-fourth the number of graduating high school seniors and that the amount of a Cal Grant at the independent institutions be tied to the costs in UC and CSU. -- TJG

1991 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1188 (SB 121, Hart. Transfer function.)

The Master Plan Review in the mid-1980s began with an examination of the community colleges. When the review turned in the later years to the four-year segments, the main issue was the transfer function. UC had strayed from the 60:40 upper division to lower division ratio and transfer numbers were stagnant. The Hayden legislation (AB 617) made transfer a "central institutional priority" of all the higher education segments. This Hart bill focused on the mechanics of improving transfer, requiring UC to restore 60:40 (UC had restored 60:40 by the time the legislation was signed), formalizing transfer admission priorities, requiring transfer agreement programs, and articulation not just for general education but for all majors. Each segment was required to develop a transfer implementation plan that included resource requirements. However, the recession of the early 1990s resulted in those plans being shelved. -- TJG

1991 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1198 (AB 617, Hayden. Master Plan.)

This was the omnibus Master Plan legislation that enacted a subset of the 55 recommendations in the 1989 Joint Committee report that were not included in the three bills listed above. It added a comprehensive mission statement across all the segments and defined the public service mission as a "broad responsibility to the public interest." It includes provisions of review of graduate and professional programs, educational equity, quality of undergraduate education, faculty teaching quality, assessment, and accountability. Donahoe Higher Education Act Sections 66003 and 67400 were added at UC's request to better define state versus institutional roles in carrying out the Master Plan. A prior version of this bill (AB 462) went forward to the Governor in 1990, but was vetoed on cost grounds. --TJG

1996 Amendment to the California State Education Code: Chapter 1057 (SB 1809, Polanco. California Community Colleges Economic Development Program.)

The Community Colleges sponsored legislation apart from any Master Plan review to explicitly add economic development and workforce preparation to their Master Plan mission statement. -- TJG

1999 Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 29: Chapter 4