Californian Governor Signs Bill After a Lobbyist's Tragedy

After losing a home to fire, there are many things that run through your mind. For example, you might worry about how you will deal with the insurance company. You also might fret about all of the family keepsakes lost in the flames. However, if you are the lobbyist Patrick McCallum, you might worry about a bill you wish to get passed.

The bill was called AB 19, and McCallum had been lobbying for the bill against difficult odds in the legislator. Now, all the bill needed was a signature from Governor Jerry Brown of California. The bill aimed to make community college more affordable. Unfortunately, it came with a cost of about $32 million to $52 million a year. This means that Governor Brown was unlikely to sign it. It was then a crazy wildfire in California burned down Patrick McCallum's home.

McCallum and his family safely escaped the flames. His home wasn't as lucky. However, as a courtesy, an aide from Governor Brown's office gave McCallum a call. The aide asked if there was anything Governor Brown could do to help. The question probably wasn't meant to elicit a serious response, but McCallum seized upon the opportunity. He quickly said to the aide, "Pass AB 19".

On October, 13th, Governor Brown signed AB 19. This was only five days after the devastating fire at McCallum's home. The new law will help make community college similar to how is was back in 1984. Back then, California didn't charge any fees at all for community college classes. That slowly began to change over the years. First, it went up to $5 per unit of study. Now, the cost is $46. Books, fees, and housing are also added to that sum. The new law will make community college affordable for all segments of the population. In a time when a degree from a community college is valued just like a high school diploma was decades ago, supporters believe the financial support will do great things for Californians.

Governor Brown's office never gave any official word linking the passing of AB 19 to the loss of McCallum's home in the wildfires. However, is both encouraging and inspiring to imagine a link was involved.

What do you think about AB 19? Are you thankful Governor Brown signed it? Do you think it was signed out of compassion for McCallum? Let us know below!


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