Senate Bill 677 was finally heard yesterday evening. The Senate Judiciary Committee started at 1:30 p.m. and finished around 8:00 p.m. The joys of a deadline for certain bills.
The discussion was sincere and there was only one "no" vote. Unfortunately, there were only two "aye" votes. The remaining four Senators "laid off." Which is not approval or opposition. But, it takes four votes in favor to move forward. The topic is covered in the three pieces below, first by the OC Register, then yesterday’s KFI 640, and then by the Coast Report (which included a photo of the Assembly Chambers — oops).
Bill spurred by student
videotaping OCC teacher’s
anti-Trump comments dies
before a vote
Sen. John Moorlach’s bill, which aimed to provide whistleblower safeguards to college students, didn’t get enough support in the California Senate Judiciary Committee. He is seen in a 2016 file photo. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A proposed law that would have allowed college students to record instructors and professors they believe are breaking a law or rule died in a state Senate committee Tuesday night.
Sen. John Moorlach’s bill, which aimed to provide whistleblower safeguards to college students, didn’t get enough support in the California Senate Judiciary Committee.
Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, and a fellow Republican from San Diego supported the bill, while a Santa Barbara Democrat cast the lone dissenting vote. The remaining four senators abstained, effectively killing the bill. Two other thumbs up were needed to move the bill along.
Moorlach said he wanted students to have the opportunity to record, even in areas or classrooms where they are not authorized to by a state law or a district guideline, “when the absolute need arises.”
“If an instructor stays within the bounds, there should be no concerns,” he wrote in an e-mail late Tuesday night.
Moorlach introduced the bill after a much-publicized controversy at Orange Coast College, where a conservative student secretly recording a human-sexuality-class instructor slamming the election of Donald Trump. The student was suspended and then re-instated.
Various unions representing teachers and faculty argued the bill would allow students to record as a weapon against instructors they don’t like or who have opposing views.
The OCC controversy went viral last December after the campus College Republicans posted clips of the recording online. Those online views led to threats against the instructor, forcing her to temporarily leave her home.
Meanwhile, the student Republican leaders also got threats. In March, profanity-laced graffiti against the former president of their campus group was spray-painted across campus, describing him and the campus GOP as fascists.
Student Recording of Teacher’s Anti-Trump Comments Inspires Whistleblower Legislation
posted by Riley Ludwig
California state Sen. John Moorlach is proposing legislation that protects student whistleblowers after a student at Orange Coast College recorded a teacher’s anti-Trump comments.
The law currently stands that students aren’t allowed to record in community college classrooms without the permission of the instructor. This new legislation would allow students to record speech if they “reasonably believe” it violates a law. Moorlach’s legislation will go before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee today.
The Republican representing Costa-Mesa says: “There has to be some ability to provide whistleblower safeguards like we have in the workplace. What kind of workplace-type protections do we have for kids in the classroom so they are not retaliated against? We couldn’t find any.”
A student at OCC was suspended earlier this year for recording a female professor’s comments criticizing Donald Trump. The suspension was rescinded after backlash from Republican politicians.
Senate bill to allow students’ right to record flops
Clayton Spivey, Editor-in-Chief
A bill aiming to protect a student’s right to record and report their instructors failed in its first step to become law.
California State Senate Bill 677, named the Student Whistleblower Protection Bill, fell short of the four votes needed to clear the judiciary committee. If it had made it out of the committee, the bill would have entered the education committee today for a second vote.
The bill, introduced by California State Sen. John Moorlach (R-37) on Feb. 17, was spurred by controversy at Orange Coast College after the filming of Olga Perez Stable Cox’s disparaging comments about President Donald J. Trump. The bill would protect students like Caleb O’Neil who was suspended after recording Cox earlier this semester. The suspension was later rescinded after public pressure.
Catherine Bird, the legislative director for Moorlach, said the bill received two votes in favor and one vote against it with a total of four abstentions in the seven-member committee. While the majority of the votes cast were a yes, Bird said the bill needed four of the seven full committee votes to move forward.
As of now, the bill is considered dead. It could be reintroduced according to senate rules, Bird said.
“As far as this particular bill, at this moment, we don’t have plans to try it again because it isn’t clear that we would have the support,” Bird said.
Moorlach, in a previous interview, had said he had an “uphill climb” to get the bill passed due to the largely Democratic Party held California legislature.
According to Bird, the two votes in favor of the bill were Moorlach and Sen. Joel Anderson (R-38). The one no vote came from the committee chair Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-19).
Those who abstained were Sen. Robert M. Hertzberg (D-18), Sen. Bill Monning (D-17), Sen. Henry I. Stern (D-27) and Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-10).
This e-mail has been sent by California State Senator John M. W. Moorlach, 37th District.
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