The first half of the 2019-20 legislative year has ended. Bills sent to the Governor had until Sunday, October 13, 2019, to be signed into law, or struck down under veto authority.
SB 419 prohibits suspension of a pupil (grades 4 and 5) for disrupting school activities, including willful defiance. SB 419 commences in July 1, 2020, and applies to public and charter schools. Also, pupils in grades 6-8 may not be suspended for these acts, effective July 1, 2020 through July 1, 2025.
Vaccination exemptions under SB 276 and SB 714 will be subject to new rules. This new law aims to combat fraudulent medical exemptions, in response to public health concerns. Effective January 1, 2020, a student on an existing medical exemption must have current immunizations prior to enrolling. Mandatory immunization checkpoints, or grade spans, include birth to pre-school, grades TK-6, and grades 7-12.
A $15 billion school bond has been cleared for the March 2020 ballot under AB 48, recently signed by the Governor. Voters will get to decide whether to approve $9 billion towards K-12 and $2 billion each for community colleges, CSU, and UC systems. The bond will help pay for preschool expansion, K-12 campus improvements and modernization, and health and safety upgrades at California’s higher educational institutions.
SB 328 (Portantino) – Pupil attendance: school start time, establishes minimum school start times for Middle School and High School beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. This bill was signed by the Governor just before the October 13 deadline. The rationale for later start times is from research that shows children and adolescents who get more sleep demonstrate better concentration and improved learning. Effective state wide in 2022-2023, minimum start times will be 8 a.m. for Middle School, and 8:30 a.m. for High School. Effective state wide no later than July 1, 2022, the minimum start time for Middle School would be 8:00 a.m., and 8:30 a.m. for High School.The bill excludes “zero periods,” which are optional courses offered before the regular school day begins.
The Governor has vetoed AB 197 – Full-Day Kindergarten, on the basis of schoolroom/campus space constraints, saying the cost to extend existing part day programs is outside the budget.
These legislative actions reflect priorities in Sacramento to help close the pupil achievement gap, to provide funding assistance for K-12 school facilities and higher education, and to increase student safety.