Legislature Acts on Major Bills then Breaks for Summer Recess

With the Legislature on break for a month, we wanted to set the table for you by highlighting what important education bills remain active, which ones died, and what we think may be the remaining debates as the Legislature closes out the session in August.


Charter School Verified Data Bill Stalled

AB 2254 (B. Rubio) was pulled by its author, presumably with the agreement of the bill’s sponsor, the California Charter School Association (CCSA). The bill would have extended the requirement for charter school authorizers to consider alternative student performance data, known as “verified data,” during charter renewal determinations until the State Board of Education (SBE) adopts the student growth performance standards. The bill also would have required charter school authorizers to consider performance on the Growth Standards, once adopted by the SBE, in addition to the California School Dashboard (Dashboard) results during charter renewal determinations, require the California Department of Education (CDE) to provide online resources and publish charter school performance levels within 60 days of the annual Dashboard release and require charter schools to permit authorizers to receive verified data directly from assessment publishers, among other things.

The charter school community was in support of this bill given concerns that the statutory deadline to remove Verified Data will arrive before the statewide Growth Model is implemented, leaving charters with less available academic data to demonstrate they should be renewed. With today being the deadline for policy committees to hear and advance bills, this proposal is now dead for the year. It is unclear if the author will bring this bill back next session or find another vehicle for it.


Major Employee-Related Bills Remain

Arguably the most impactful of the remaining education bills, both AB 2088 (McCarty) and AB 2901 (Aguiar-Curry), are pending before the Senate Appropriations Committee, to be dispensed with when the Legislature returns.

AB 2088 is a redux of AB 1699 (McCarty) from last year’s session. You may recall that bill would have required school employers to offer classified vacancies to internal candidates only for a period of ten days. This essentially created a first right of refusal for any internal staff, rather than allowing employers to seek external, potentially more qualified candidates, should internal staff apply for the position before that ten-day period had ended. Last year’s bill made it all the way through the legislative process but was vetoed by the Governor, stating:

“ … While I support the author's goal of seeking to provide opportunities for current classified staff to apply for other open positions, this bill may have unintended consequences that are not in the best interest of students. Educational employers and classified staff already have the ability to bargain this issue, and many already have agreements that meet the goals of this bill … ”

This year’s version of the bill has some modifications. For example, there is no requirement in AB 2088 to offer training time for a candidate that could meet the minimum requirements of a vacant classified position. However, the core of the bill, requiring the first right of refusal to internal candidates, remains. That being said, it is unclear if the bill will meet a similar fate to last year’s version.

AB 2901 would require school employers to offer employees up to 14 weeks of paid leave for pregnancy-related issues. Sponsored by the California Teachers Association, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, the bill has moved through the legislative process and has received widespread, bipartisan support. However, the bill now sits in the Senate Appropriations Committee, where its costs to the state will be weighed. Assembly Appropriations Committee staff pegged the bill with “… ongoing Prop 98 costs potentially in the hundreds of millions of dollars…” Now that state budget negotiations are complete, it remains to be seen if the Legislature will be willing to continue moving forward a bill with such a large price tag, regardless of the intent of the policy.


Bill Dealing with Suspensions for Intoxicants on Campus Amended

When it was initially introduced, AB 2711 (Ramos) would have prohibited schools from suspending or recommending for expulsion, any student for using, possessing, or being under the influence of, tobacco, alcohol, or other controlled substances. While in the Assembly, the bill was amended to allow for suspension, but only after a student had been afforded opportunities to receive supportive assistance for substance abuse. Heard today in the Senate Education Committee, the author agreed to accept amendments from the Committee that, per the committee’s analysis will:

“Remove and recast the provisions of AB 2711 to instead specify that a pupil who voluntarily discloses their use of a controlled substance, alcohol, tobacco product or intoxicant of any kind in order to seek help through services or supports shall not be suspended solely for that disclosure.”

With the Legislature adjourning for Summer Recess today, it is unclear when the amendments described above will actually be in print – we will need to see them to be certain of the bill’s new provisions. However, it appears the bill now aims to assist students who actively seek help for issues of substance abuse, but will still allow a school to suspend students when they are found to have been using, or in possession of, intoxicants on campus.


School Facilities Bond Bill Headed to November Ballot

We recently shared our analysis of AB 247 (Muratsuchi) which was amended over the weekend to contain the provisions of a legislative deal on a school facilities bond. Rather than rehash all the pieces contained in the proposal, we simply wanted to note that the bill was passed by both the Senate and Assembly and was sent to the Governor today. A fun and interesting political note, both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are out of the state today, so Senate President pro Tem Mike McGuire is acting Governor and will likely be the one to sign the bill.

One other bill in the facilities space to note is AB 2565 (McCarty). This bill requires LEAs making an addition, alteration, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or retrofit of a school building, to install interior locks on each door of any room with an occupancy of five or more people in that school building. Currently, the bill sits in the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it has been tagged with costs to Prop 98 in the tens of millions of dollars. Similar to AB 2901, above, a bill with that price tag could face an uphill battle now that the state budget has been put to bed.


Bill to Prohibit Outing Policies Sent to Governor

AB 1955, authored by Assembly Member Chris Ward, specifies that schools in California will be prohibited from enacting or enforcing any policy that would require the forced outing of students. Specifically, the bill would say that no policy shall be adopted by a school district, county office of education, charter school, state special school for the blind or the deaf, or a member of the governing board of a school district or county office of education or a member of the governing body of a charter school, that would require an employee or a contractor to disclose any information related to a pupil’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to any other person without the pupil’s consent, unless otherwise required by state or federal law.

Garnering some of the most intense and, at times, contentious public debate of the year, the bill was most recently heard in the Assembly Education Committee, where members of the public and committee members spent nearly two hours debating the merits of the bill. After passing both the committee and the Assembly Floor on partisan votes, the bill is currently pending before the Governor, and we anticipate he will sign it soon.


If we can provide additional information, please reach out as always with any questions you have.




Nick Romley

Legislative Advocate | Capitol Advisors Group