Portantino’s Bill on Start of School Day Is Vetoed by Governor

A bid to help students statewide get a bit more sleep and do better in class was derailed when state Sen. Anthony Portantino’s bill requiring high school and middle schools to begin their day no earlier than 8:30 was vetoed recently.
Gov. Jerry Brown issued his veto of Senate Bill 328 and explained his decision.
“This bill would prohibit middle and high schools from starting earlier than 8:30 in the morning, unless in a rural area,” Brown wrote. “This is a one-size-fits-all approach that is opposed by teachers and school boards. Several schools have already moved to later start times. Others prefer beginning the school day earlier. These are the types of decisions best handled in the local community.”
The bill would have taken effect sometime between January 2019 and July 2021.
It would have encouraged the state Department of Education to post on its website information about research on the impact of sleep deprivation on teens and benefits of a later start time.
“Unfortunately, the status quo prevailed today,” Portantino said after the veto, thanking those who supported the bill. He added he “certainly will” bring the legislation back next year.
Earlier, Portantino had said significant opposition from members of the education community, including the California Teachers Association, was “frustrating.”
He added conversations with people inside Brown’s office were positive before the veto.
“I’m a former mayor [of La Cañada Flintridge] and I believe in local control,” he said.
But decades of research and data showing benefits of a later start time should take precedence, Portantino said.
“The opposition is mainly based on adult logistical concerns,” he said.
Portantino said no one had disputed the science, research or benefits of the later start time.
“I think it’s a very important bill for the future of California,” Portantino said. “We can improve test scores and cut down on depression. I think those are goals we can get behind.”
Meanwhile, a couple of other bills Portantino authored were signed into law.
Senate Bill 1263, which requires more information about the risks of microplastic materials to be made public, was approved.
So was Senate Bill 502, which requires state or local governments that operate commuter trains to install automated external defibrillators as part of their safety equipment by July 1, 2020.

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