Roundup: Education policies passed, failed and vetoed in 2022

by Carol Kocivar | October 22, 2022 | 1 Comment
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California’s 2022 legislation for education: Trick or treat?

The California legislature is now in recess, and candidates are frantically campaigning for the election ahead. I’ve been collecting election fliers for weeks. The growing pile is on track to match the size of the giant Costco bag of candy I hand out at Halloween.

It’s worth remembering the point of all this activity. After the elections are decided, the real work begins: passing laws.

In California, legislative ideas can become laws in two ways. One is through the state budget process, as explained in our blog post, California' strong education budget for 2022-23.

The other way is through policy legislation. California’s 120 elected legislators consider thousands of proposed policy changes each year. Generally, less than half of them become law. Passing a bill into law is hard.

Good news for schools and children

2022 was a productive year for the California legislature. New laws addressed urgent pandemic-related topics such as mental health, suicide, safe school facilities, and nutrition. Other laws tackled ongoing unresolved issues, including gun policies. Students gained new opportunities for civic engagement.

Even with strong advocacy and legislative agreement, many policies don’t become law. Committees play a powerful role in the legislative process. If a bill lacks political support at key points, it can “die” in committee — or be killed. A good example of the power of parliamentary maneuvering is SB 237, a bill to provide for dyslexia screening. Based on strong research, the bill sailed through the Senate. Members of the Assembly education committee voiced support for the policy, too, but the chair of the committee did not schedule a hearing for it, killing the bill without a vote.

Bills can die at the Governor’s desk, too. When the Governor exercises the constitutional authority to veto a bill, it is customary to explain the reason in the form of a veto message. For example, Governor Newsom cited cost concerns in his veto of two bills to expand kindergarten, AB 1973 and SB 70:

“With our state facing lower-than-expected revenues over the first few months of this fiscal year, it is important to remain disciplined when it comes to spending, particularly spending that is ongoing... Bills with significant fiscal impact…should be considered and accounted for in the annual budget process.”

You can find a list of other vetoes here.

Summary: New California laws for schools, children and families 2022

Below are major new laws passed and signed in 2022 that relate to education, children and schools. The list is grouped by these topics:

  • Empowering students
  • School safety
  • Health
  • Special education
  • School facilities
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Early education
  • Homeless and foster youth
  • Income support for families

Jargon alert: The list below often refers to LEAs. As frequent readers of Ed100 will know, this is a common term in educationese that almost always means “school district”, but also includes charter schools and county offices of education. The letters stand for Local Education Agency. If you must read them aloud, pronounce them as letters, not like the name of a Jedi princess.

New California laws for schools, children and families, 2022

Empowering Students

SB 997 (Pan D)

Local Control and Accountability Plans: student advisory committee

Requires school districts serving middle or high school students and county offices of education to either include two students on an existing parent advisory committee or establish a student advisory committee for purposes of developing and adopting the Local Control and Accountability Plan.

SB 955 (Leyva D)

Pupil attendance: excused absences: civic or political events.

Allows students, in grades 6–12, to have one excused absence per year to participate in a civic or political event, provided that the pupil notifies the school ahead of the absence.

SB 291 (Stern D)

Advisory Commission on Special Education.

Adds two students with exceptional needs (between the ages of 16 and 22) to the Advisory Commission.

School Safety

AB 2598 (Weber, Akilah D)

Pupil rights: restorative justice practices.

Requires the California Department of Education to develop best practices for school districts to improve campus culture and climate through restorative justice practices.

SB 722 (Melendez R)

Pupil safety: Swimming pools — Adult presence and CPR training

Requires a school district or charter school hosting or sponsoring an event in or around a swimming pool to have at least one adult with a valid certification of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to be present throughout the duration of the event.

SB 906 (Portantino D)

School safety: homicide threats

(1) Requires school districts (LEAs) to provide information annually to parents or guardians about California’s child access prevention laws and laws relating to the safe storage of firearms;

(2) Requires school officials to report to law enforcement any threat or perceived threat; and

(3) Requires law enforcement or the school police to conduct an investigation and threat assessment, including a review of the Department of Justice’s firearm registry and a search of the school and/or students’ property by law enforcement or school police.

AB 2571 (Bauer-Kahan D)

Firearms: advertising to minors.

Prohibits firearm industry members from marketing or advertising firearm-related products to minors. Authorizes public attorneys and injured plaintiffs to bring a civil action to enforce the prohibition, obtain injunctive relief, and seek either civil penalties, or, in some cases, damages for harms caused by a violation.

AB 452 (Friedman D)

Pupil safety: parental notification — firearm safety laws.

Requires local educational agencies to provide notification to parents of each student about California's child access prevention laws and laws relating to the safe storage of firearms, and requires the California Department of Education to develop model language for this notification in consultation with the Department of Justice.

Health

SB 224 (Portantino D)

Pupil instruction: mental health education.

Requires schools that offer one or more courses in health education to pupils in middle school or high school to include in those courses instruction in mental health.

AB 58 (Salas D)

Pupil health: suicide prevention policies and training.

Requires a local educational agency to review and update its policy on pupil suicide prevention, and encourages LEAs to provide suicide awareness and prevention training to teachers; requires the California Department of Education to develop and issue resources and guidance to LEAs on how to conduct suicide awareness and prevention training remotely.

AB 2329 (Carrillo D)

Pupil health: eye examinations at schoolsites.

Authorizes a local education agency to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a nonprofit eye examination provider to provide eye examinations and eyeglasses to pupils at a school site; requires schools to notify parents of the eye examinations and provide the opportunity for them to opt out, and provides civil and criminal liability for eye examination providers and LEAs.

AB 558 (Nazarian D)

School meals: Child Nutrition Act of 2022.

Requires the CDE to issue guidance for how a school district, COE, or charter school could voluntarily serve younger siblings a federally reimbursable meal at a school site that their older sibling attends.

AB 2640 (Valladares R)

Pupil health: food allergies: California Food Allergy Resource internet web page.

Requires the California Department of Education to create the “California Food Allergy Resource Guide” for voluntary use by local educational agencies to protect pupils with food allergies.

SB 14 (Portantino D)

Pupil health: school employee and pupil training: excused absences: youth mental and behavioral health.

Includes “for the benefit of the behavioral health of the pupil” within the “illness” category for excused absences for purposes of school attendance; and (2) requires the California Department of Education to identify an evidence-based and evidence-informed training program for local educational agencies to address youth behavioral health, including staff and pupil training.

AB 748 (Carrillo D)

Pupil mental health: mental health assistance posters

Requires public schools serving pupils in any of grades 6 to 12 to create a poster that identifies approaches and shares resources regarding pupil mental health. Also requires the California Department of Education to develop a model poster.

AB 1810 (Levine D)

Pupil health: seizure disorders.

Authorizes a trained employee volunteer to administer emergency anti-seizure medication to a pupil upon the request of the parent and requires the development of state standards for the training, and requires the parent to provide specified information to the local educational agencies, including a seizure action plan.

AB 2072 (Gabriel D)

Mental health professionals: natural disasters: county offices of education: personnel sharing agreements.

Requires county offices of education in consultation with the California Department of Education and other relevant state and local agencies, to coordinate agreements between school districts and charter schools within the county to develop a system for rapidly deploying qualified mental health professionals and other key school personnel employed by individual school districts and charter schools throughout the county to areas of the county that experienced a natural disaster or other traumatic event.

AB 2355 (Salas D)

School cybersecurity.

Requires a local educational agency to report a cyberattack impacting 500 or more pupils or personnel to the California Cybersecurity Integration Center and requires the Cal-CSIC to provide an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature with specified information related to the cyberattacks.

Special Education

SB 692 (Cortese D)

Special education: pupils with disabilities: least restrictive environment.

Requires the California Department of Education to publish data on the California School Dashboard related to federal measures that require pupils with disabilities to be provided education using the least restrictive environment.

AB 2827 (Quirk-Silva D)

Child daycare facilities.

Permits children with exceptional needs to use outdoor play spaces simultaneously with nondisabled children.

School Facilities

AB 2232 (McCarty D)

School facilities: heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

Requires comprehensive HVAC inspections and air monitors in classrooms to protect students from the harmful effects of poor air quality.

AB 2638 (Bloom D)

School facilities: drinking water: water bottle filling stations.

Requires new school construction or modernization projects submitted to the Division of State Architect to include one or more water bottle filling stations.

AB 1867 (Lee D)

School facilities: modernization projects: bathrooms.

Requires school districts (LEAs) to install faucet aerators and water-conserving plumbing fixtures in all bathrooms if they are seeking state school facilities bond funds for a project to repair or alter the interior of a school building.

AB 2295 (Bloom D)

Local educational agencies: housing development projects.

Authorizes a housing development project to be an allowable use on any real property owned by a local educational agency.

Curriculum and Instruction

AB 1703 (Ramos D)

California Indian Education Act: California Indian Education Task Forces.

Encourages local educational agencies and charter schools to form California Indian Education Task Forces to develop curricular materials on the history, culture, and government of local tribes, and requires the Task Forces to submit a report of findings to the California Department of Education.

AB 1801 (Nazarian D)

State holidays: Genocide Remembrance Day.

Authorizes community colleges and public schools to close on April 24, known as Genocide Remembrance Day. The date reflects advocacy by the Armenian community.

SB 532 (Caballero D)

Pupil instruction: high school coursework and graduation requirements: exemptions and alternatives.

Exempts certain students from local high school graduation requirements, and permits them to remain in high school for a fifth year to complete state graduation requirements if certain conditions are met. This law applies to foster youth, homeless youth, former juvenile court school students, children of military families, and migratory children.

Early Education

SB 1047 (Limón D)

Early learning and care.

Extends eligibility for childcare and development programs and the preschool program to families from 12 months to 24 months, for ongoing services after establishing initial eligibility.

AB 321 (Valladares R)

Childcare services: enrollment priority.

For federal- and state-subsidized child development services programs, gives priority to children who come from a family in which the primary home language is other than English.

AB 2806 (Rubio, Blanca D)

Childcare and developmental services: preschool: expulsion and suspension: mental health services: reimbursement rates.

Requires equitable treatment of children in state preschool and child care programs. Prohibits suspensions and expulsions except as a last resort. Establishes requirements for future data reporting.

Homeless / Foster Youth

AB 408 (Quirk-Silva D)

Homeless children and youths: reporting.

Requires local educational agencies to establish homeless education program policies consistent with federal law. Requires homeless education liaisons to offer training to specified school staff, and requires the California Department of Education to develop a risk-based monitoring plan for homeless education requirements.

Income Support for Families

AB 192 (Committee on Budget)

Better for Families Tax Refund.

Establishes the Better for Families Act, a framework to provide approximately $9.5 billion of payments to low-income and middle-income Californians in order to provide financial relief for economic disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 emergency, such as the financial burdens of inflation and increasing costs for gas, groceries, and other necessities.

One big takeaway from the list above is the broad span of legislative topics that affect children, education, and families. Please share this post with your PTA or other organization!

Questions & Comments

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user avatar
Melissa Power October 25, 2022 at 10:18 am
So what now with SB 237? Is it just scrapped altogether? Last year it failed to advance and now this year a chair of the committee failed to schedule a hearing?? “Whoops”?! All that work and effort to push this forward…is it gone? I’m just trying to understand. Thank you!
user avatar
Anna Meza November 2, 2022 at 11:24 am
I, too, would appreciate some clarification on the status of SB 237. Does the bill need to be reintroduced in the Senate?
user avatar
Carol Kocivar November 3, 2022 at 8:57 pm
Yes. Since it didn’t get through this time they have to start over in the next session. I will try to find out what the Senator plans and let you know.
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