Gov. signs one textbook act, vetoes another
October 13, 2007 5:48 PM
With two significant bills on his desk that intended to ease textbook prices for college students, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided Friday to sign one and veto the other.
The governor vetoed the College Textbook Affordability Act (SB 832), which would have required publishers to provide faculty with a complete wholesale price list of all textbooks available in a certain subject, the timeframe in which the books would be available on the market, and a list of differences between the latest and the previous editions. Authored by state Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), the bill would have gone into effect immediately.
Instead, Schwarzenegger decided to sign the College Textbook Transparency Act (AB 1548) that would also provide faculty members with a list of changes between textbook editions, but would only provide them with the textbook wholesale price if the faculty submit requests. Introduced by Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim), this bill would also prohibit any university employee from accepting any gifts or money for choosing a certain textbook. Unlike Corbett’s bill, AB 1548 goes into effect 2010.
In explaining his decision, the governor wrote, “I am supportive of efforts to address the cost of college textbooks and share the concern that these education costs have an impact on the afforability of college for many students. However, this bill [SB 832] focuses strictly on textbook publisher policies and fails to recognize that the affordability of textbooks is a shared responsibility among publishers, college bookstores, and faculty members. Therefore, instead of this bill, I am signing Assembly Bill 1548. Many of the same concepts in SB 832 are included in AB 1548, but AB 1548 recognizes the shared responsibility and attempts to address the issue in a more comprehensive manner.”
Some SF State students felt that SB 832 would have benefited students greatly.
“Professors don’t often take prices into account,” said Sean Hansen, 20, a textbook clerk at SF State’s student bookstore, and a junior BECA major.
“[SB 832 would] make them be more mindful about what students have to read and what students have to pay for these books," he said.
Robert Frost, 19, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said that most faculty members already know the differences between textbook editions, but making the prices more transparent will benefit students by driving textbook prices down. However, he doesn’t believe that publishers will suffer.
“The differences in prices would matter and provide good competition, but publishers always have a large number of books out anyway and the university has to buy those books,” Frost said, “In essence, everybody wins.”
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