CA: 2007-08 Legislation

Posted by Annie on Feb 12, 2007 in Legal |

A brief look at pending California legislation which you should be aware of…

February 23 was the last day for bills to be introduced in the Senate and the Assembly for the 2007-2008 session, which is good news for homeschoolers – at least in the short term. It is common practice (though not exactly ethical) for legislators to reuse bill numbers as the two-year session drones on.

How does this work?

Fortunately, pushing a bill through both the Assembly and the Senate is not exactly an easy process. When the author of a particular bill doesn’t receive the support he needs to see a bill through the entire process, he or she may gut the entire bill and reuse the number for something totally unrelated. This effectively gets around the arbitrary deadline set each year. This practice is frowned up but rarely challenged.

Each session thousands of bills are introduced making tracking them all a very demanding task. When a bill number is repurposed it can easily be overlooked and not receive the proper attention it deserves by the voting public and interested lobbying groups.

Learn more about our legislative process online:

  • How a bill becomes a law – a visual aid, perfect to help you explain the process to the kids.
  • Lifecycle of a Bill – The Legislature functions to create laws that represent the best interests of the citizens within each legislative district. Proposals for new laws are called bills. To become a law, a bill must successfully pass through a number of steps. You can use your mouse to explore the image found at the website listed below to learn about each step in the lifecycle of a bill.
  • Printable Chart – Print off this chart and the detailed historical information, which follows. [pdf]
  • An overview of the legislative process

Legislative Activity of Concern to Parents

California parents should be aware of the following proposed legislation and contact their legislators regarding any bills which are of concern to your family.

School Related

AB 16 – Pupil immunizations: human papillomavirus vaccine

Existing law prohibits the governing authority of a school or other institution from unconditionally admitting any person as a pupil of any private or public elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center, unless prior to his or her first admission to that institution he or she has been fully immunized against various diseases. This bill would, in addition, as of July 1, 2008, prohibit the governing authority from unconditionally admitting any female pupil to the 7th grade level of any of those institutions unless the pupil has received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

SB 155 – Instructional programs: Online Classroom Program

The Online Classroom Program was originally enacted in 2003, repealed January 1, 2007, and this is an attempt to reenact this legislation. Just a few of the conditions are: Only high schools are eligible to offer online instruction, though a school district may apply for a waiver. A student must voluntarily elect to participate in the online course. This bill has at least two dozen other stipulations.

AB 183 – Pupils: high school graduation: voter registration

This bill would require, commencing with the 2009-10 school year, that each pupil register to vote as a condition of graduation from high school if the pupil otherwise meets the requirements to vote. The bill would require the school district to verify that a pupil has complied with these provisions before the pupil is allowed to graduate. The bill would authorize a pupil to choose not to register to vote by submitting that preference in writing to the school registrar or other appropriate school official.

Vehicle Related

SB 7 – Smoking in vehicles with minor passengers

Existing law makes it an infraction for a person to smoke a cigarette, cigar, or other tobacco-related product within 25 feet of a playground or tot lot sandbox area. This bill would make it an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding $100 for a person to smoke a pipe, cigar, or cigarette in a motor vehicle, whether in motion or at rest, in which there is a minor. [Another smoking bill – SB 4]

SB 33 – Vehicles: wireless telephones and mobile service devices.

This bill, as of July 1, 2008, would prohibit a person possessing a valid instruction permit, student license, or provisional license, from driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone or a mobile service device, as the bill would define that term, including a handset equipped with a hands-free device.

Child Abuse Related

AB 164 – Child custody: child’s records

Under existing law, a parent shall not be denied access to records and information pertaining to a minor child, including, but not limited to, medical, dental, and school records, because that parent is not the child’s custodial parent. This bill would provide, instead, that a parent shall not be denied access to the child’s records because he or she does not have physical custody of the child, so long as that parent has legal custody, whether sole or joint. The bill would add mental health records of the minor child among those records subject to this provision.

AB 116 – Child abuse: endangerment: controlled substances

This bill would provide that any parent, guardian, or caregiver of a minor child who knowingly and unlawfully consumes, smokes, inhales, ingests, or otherwise uses a specified controlled substance, if the act occurs in the presence of, or is witnessed by, a minor child under his or her care, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or 2 or 3 years and/or a fine.

SB 126 – Health education content standards: child abuse prevention

Existing law requires the State Board of Education to adopt, on or before March 1, 2008, content standards in the curriculum area of health education and requires the content standards to provide a framework for instruction that a school may offer in the curriculum area of health education. This bill would require the content standards to include instruction on child abuse prevention.

AB 149 – Dependent children

This bill would specify that when the return of a dependent child to his or her parent is not possible and placement of the child is being considered, the primary purpose of the law with respect to dependent children is to identify family members who may be able to safely care for the child. The bill would also set forth various requirements for the State Department of Social Services to ensure that as many family members of the dependent child as possible are identified.

AB 233 – Air pollution: Children’s Breathing Rights Act: penalties

This bill would enact the Children’s Breathing Rights Act, which would increase the maximum penalties for specified violations of air pollution laws. This bill, as written is very vague and included here only because under this bill a family who resides on a hog farm, dairy farm or other aromatic residence, could be found in violation. If you were found to be in violation, you would be subject to a $25,000 per day fine. This bill only sets penalties for violating existing statutes.

To view other bills of interest organized by category, please visit the California Legislature’s Legislative Index for the 2007-2008 Session

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