Capping several weeks of protests and heightened tensions, at 5:15 PM on Friday night the State Senate was abruptly shut down after an apparent anti-vax protester in the Senate gallery threw a red liquid down onto the Senate floor, hitting several Senators. The woman reportedly told CHP officers “my menstrual blood is all over the Senate floor” while being detained. Politico reports that her social media account displays videos of other anti-vaccine protests that took place Friday at the Capitol. The incident prompted an on-going investigation that turned the Senate Chambers into a crime scene, leaving the Senate no choice but to move their deliberations to their largest committee room to finish their work before the deadline.
The anti-vaxxer incident followed days of protests within the Capitol while the Legislature and Governor worked to find agreement on SB 276 and SB 714 (see below), two bills by Senator Richard Pan (D – Sacramento) to further tighten review of doctors’ ability to issue medical exemptions for vaccinations.
Governor Newsom: To Sign or Veto?
Friday, September 13 was the deadline for the Legislature to pass bills to the Governor’s Desk. The Governor usually must act on bills within 12 days of receiving them, otherwise they automatically become law. However, the law provides 30 days for the Governor to consider legislation at the end of the session (because there are so many bills). This year, Governor Newsom has until October 13 to act on legislation.
In addition to the anti-vax dynamic, the final weeks of the 2019 session were remarkably busy on a number of fronts. Legislators passed bills addressing charter school reform, middle and high school start time, and a state school bond for 2020, among other issues.
Below we highlight a number of bills that were considered by the two houses and sent to the Governor.
Passed to Governor Newsom
- AB 5 (Gonzalez) – Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors
This bill codifies, the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex Operations West ,Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, which held that a worker is presumed to be an employee unless the employer satisfies a three-factor test. AB 5 also provides exemptions for specified occupations and business relationships, which are instead governed by the multifactor test established in the California Supreme Court’s previous decision, S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations.
- AB 48 (O’Donnell) – Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020
This bill would place a $15 billion “Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020” on the March 3, 2020 ballot. If passed, the new measure would overhaul major portions of the state’s School Facilities Program. More details are available in our recent update.
- AB 170 (Gonzalez) – Worker Status: Employees and Independent Contractors
A companion bill to AB 5, AB 170 further expands the exemptions to the Dynamex ABC test to include, until January 1, 2021, newspaper carriers and newspaper distributors.
- AB 197 (Weber) – Full-day kindergarten
This bill requires every school within a school district, and every charter school serving pupils in the early primary grades, to implement at least one full-day kindergarten program. There is, however, an exemption for those school districts that have prescribed a shorter school day due to a lack of school facilities.
- AB 218 (Gonzalez) – Damages: Childhood Sexual Assault: Statute of Limitations
This bill extends the time for commencement of actions for childhood sexual assault to 40 years of age or five years from discovery of the issue, allows a victim to recover up to triple damages when there has been a concerted effort to hide evidence related to the assault, and creates a three-year window where claims that would otherwise have been barred as of January 1, 2020 may be revived. The bill also changes the standard for claims against employers of an accused employee from requiring the employer knew of the unlawful conduct and failed to implement reasonable safeguards to prevent the abuse, to instead only require the employer meet one of those two criteria in order for an action to be commenced.
- AB 500 (Gonzalez) – School and Community College Employees: Paid Maternity Leave
This bill requires school districts, charter schools, and community colleges to provide at least six weeks of full pay for pregnancy-related leave of absence taken by certificated, academic, and classified staff.
- AB 967 (Smith) – Charter Schools: LCAPs
This bill requires a charter school to submit its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) to their charter authorizer for review and approval. It also requires charter schools to comply with various other LCAP requirements that currently apply to school districts and county offices of education.
- AB 1085 (McCarty) – After school programs: substance use prevention: funding: cannabis revenue
This bill would encourage ASES and 21st Century Programs to develop programs that educate youth about substance use and abuse, to be administered through an inter-agency agreement between Department of Health Care Services and CDE, and would specifically allow those programs to receive Proposition 64 (2016) revenue.
- AB 1219 (Jones-Sawyer) – Teacher credentialing: certificated employee assignment monitoring
This bill repeals the provisions related to the current practice of teacher assignment monitoring, and adds new language that will allow all assignments to be monitored every year through a new electronic database. Charter school teachers and authorizers will also be included in the new system, though authorizers will not need to correct misassignments of charter school teachers employed in the 2019-20 school year until July 1, 2025.
- AB 1505 (O’Donnell) – Charter Schools: petition and renewal
The bill reforms the authorization, renewal, and appeal provisions of the Charter Schools Act.
- AB 1507 (Smith) – Charter Schools: Location: Resource Center
This measure eliminates the ability to authorize a charter school located outside the boundaries of the authorizing school district or county.
- SB 223 (Hill) – Pupil health: administration of medicinal cannabis: schoolsites
SB 223 would allow school boards, county boards, and charter school governing bodies to adopt a policy that allows parents or guardians to possess and administer medicinal marijuana to their children at the schoolsite, provided the child is a qualified patient under existing law. SB 223 was revived by Senator Hill this year after Governor Brown vetoed a similar proposal in 2018.
- SB 328 (Portantino) – Pupil Attendance: School Start Time
This bill would prohibit middle schools and high schools, including those operated as charter schools, from starting school earlier than 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. respectively. The bill exempts rural schools, a term that is undefined in the bill, and allows for schools to offer earlier classes to a limited number of students but prohibits those classes from counting towards a school’s average-daily-attendance (ADA) for purposes of apportioning state funding.
Passed and Signed in to Law (already!)
- SB 276 (Pan) – Immunizations: Medical Exemptions
This bill increases state oversight of medical exemptions for mandatory vaccinations required for school attendance, including requiring the California Department of Public Health to develop a standardized electronic medical exemption certification form and to review medical exemptions from schools or physicians that meet specified criteria. (Chapter 278, Statutes of 2019)
- SB 419 (Skinner) – Pupil discipline: suspensions: willful defiance
This bill, as of July 1, 2020, extends the existing prohibition on suspending a pupil enrolled in K-3 for disrupting school activities or otherwise willfully defying school authorities, to pupils enrolled in grades 4 and 5. The bill also extends this prohibition to pupils in grades 6-8 until July 1, 2025, and applies the prohibition to charter schools. (Chapter 279, Statutes of 2019)
- SB 714 (Pan) – Immunizations
A companion bill to SB 276, this bill allows a student that has a current medical exemption to continue to attend school under that exemption until the student enrolls in the next grade span and removes the requirement under SB 276 that the standardized form created under the bill be signed under penalty of perjury. (Chapter 281, Statutes of 2019)
- Posted by Russ Miller
- On September 16, 2019