Flurry of Committee Activity As Legislative Session End Draws Near

With about a month left in the current legislative session, activity in legislative committees is high with legislators trying to push bills through before time runs out. The WASB Government Relations team has been camped out in the Capitol the last few days and we want to provide an update on what bills are moving.

Bills that received public hearing this week include:

  • Assembly Bill 273 – relating to increasing the penalty for firearm threats in a school zone.  WASB supports this bill and testified in favor of it at the public hearing. View our testimony.
  • Assembly Bill 314 – relating to academic excellence scholarships. (See separate post.)  WASB testified in opposition to the revised version of this bill even though it has been improved significantly through amendments. View our testimony.
  • Assembly Bill 692 – mandating that public schools adopt board policies and provide instruction on teen dating violence prevention and sexual violence prevention.  WASB supplied written testimony on this bill for information only.
  • Assembly Bill 722 – relating to requiring the posting of state report cards on each individual school’s websites, including private voucher schools.  WASB provided background testimony for information only.
  • Assembly Bill 734 – relating to career and workforce education pilot grant program.  WASB registered in support of this bill.
  • Senate Bill 591 – relating to mental health services in schools.  WASB registered in support of this bill.

Bills that were recommended by (voted out of) committees include:

  • Senate Bill 228 – relating to academic excellence scholarships (companion bill to AB 314). Passage as amended recommended, 4-1 by the Senate Universities and Technical Colleges Committee.
  • Assembly Bill 488relating to an evaluation by a local educational agency of whether a pupil with an extended absence from school is a child with a disability.  Passage as amended recommended, 10-4 by the Assembly Education Committee
    Although our testimony indicated the WASB was neutral on this bill, we have become aware that the bill, as written, could potentially require school boards to make somewhere between 55,000 and 70,000 determinations on whether to refer absent students for an evaluation as to whether they have a disability that requires special education and related services.  These referrals could come with potentially considerable expense.
  • Assembly Bill 664 – relating to mental health services in schools (companion bill to SB 591).  Passage recommended, 14-0 by the Assembly Education Committee.