August 31 marked the end of an unprecedented two-year legislative session, one in which the number of bills heard was pared down because of the COVID-19 pandemic and all hearings were held online.

Governor Newsom had until September 30 to sign or veto those bills that made it to his desk. Below is a summary of several CFT priority bills that the governor has either signed or are on his desk awaiting his action. Bills without an emergency clause and signed into law will take effect on January 1, 2021.

ALL-UNION – Signed

Landmark Student Borrower Bill of Rights
Assembly Bill 376 (Stone, D-Scotts Valley) would make California the first state in the nation to create a comprehensive set of rights for people holding student debt by requiring student loan companies to treat borrowers fairly and giving borrowers the right to hold these companies accountable when they fail to meet basic servicing standards.

  •  AB 376 was signed into law by the governor on September 25, 2020.
    CFT co-sponsored AB 376.
  • Read our full story to learn more about what AB 376 does

Safer air and water, and more energy efficiency, in schools
Assembly Bill 841 (Ting, D-San Francisco) would create a program to make the air safer to breathe and the water safer to drink in public schools while also reducing energy bills. The bill would also accelerate installing infrastructure for zero-emission vehicles needed to combat the largest source of dangerous local air pollution that exacerbates the health risks associated with COVID-19.

  • AB 841 was signed into law by the governor on September 30, 2020.
    CFT Position: Support

Mandated reporting extended to some businesses
Assembly Bill 1963 (Chu, D-San Jose) would add a human resource employee of a business with five or more employees and that employs minors to the list of individuals who are mandated reporters under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act. In addition, the bill would add, for the purposes of reporting sexual abuse, an adult whose duties require direct contact with and supervision of minors in the performance of the minor’s duties in the workplace to the list of individuals who are mandated reporters. Finally, AB 1963 would require those employers to provide their employees who are mandated reporters with training on identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.

  • AB 1963 was signed into law by the governor on September 29, 2020.
    CFT Position: Support

Establish an Office of Suicide Prevention
Assembly Bill 2112 (Ramos, D-Highland) would authorize the State Department of Public Health to establish the Office of Suicide Prevention within the department, would require the office to perform specified duties, including providing strategic guidance to statewide and regional partners regarding best practices on suicide prevention and reporting to the Legislature on progress to reduce rates of suicide and authorize the office to apply for and use federal grants. AB 2112 would also require the office to consult with the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to implement suicide prevention efforts and would require the commission to transfer its suicide prevention efforts to the office as prescribed. Finally, the bill would require that the duties and responsibilities of the office be accomplished with existing staff and resources. These provisions would only become operative subject to an appropriation for these purposes in the annual Budget Act or another statute.

  • AB 2112 was signed into law by the governor on September 15, 2020.
    CFT Position: Support

Requires Personal Protective Equipment for essential workers
Senate Bill 275 (Pan, D-Sacramento) would require healthcare providers and the state to have a stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for use by healthcare and essential workers during an emergency.

  •  AB 275 was signed into law by the governor on September 29, 2020.
    CFT Position: Support

Coordinates foster youth program and financial aid application
Senate Bill 860 (Beall, D-San Jose) would require the foster youth services plan to describe how the Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program will coordinate efforts to ensure, to the extent possible, the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application for foster youth pupils who are in grade 12. In addition, SB 860 would require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to include in their report to the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature and the governor the number and percentage of pupils in foster care who successfully complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or California Dream Act Application while in grade 12.

  • SB 860 was signed into law by the governor on September 28, 2020.
    CFT Position: Support

    Creates rebuttable Workers’ Compensation presumption
    Senate Bill 1159 (Hill, D-San Mateo) creates a rebuttable Workers’ Compensation presumption for healthcare workers, first responders, or workers on any worksite that has an outbreak. Specifically, the bill allows school employees to automatically qualify for the rebuttable Workers’ Compensation presumption if the school is closed for COVID-related issues. SB 1159 ensures that if the employees contract COVID-19, they will have access to the care they need and can stay home with wage replacement benefits.

    • SB 1159 was signed into law by the governor on September 12, 2020.
      CFT Position: Support

    CLASSIFIED – Signed

    Improves Personnel Commissions for classified employees
    Assembly Bill 2234 (Chau, D-Arcadia) makes improvements to school Personnel Commissions and ensures their right to independent legal counsel. This bill extends existing law by allowing school personnel commissioners to have a role in determining if a conflict of interest exists between the personnel commission and the local school board, entitling them to independent legal counsel.

    • AB 2234 was signed into law by the governor on September 9, 2020.
      CFT Position: Support


    Retroactive granting of diplomas due to pandemic
    Assembly Bill 1350 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) authorizes a high school district, unified school district, county office of education, or the governing body of a charter school, to retroactively grant a high school diploma to a person who was in their senior year of high school during the 2019–20 school year; in good academic standing and on track to graduate at the end of the 2019-20 school year, as of March 1, 2020, and unable to complete the statewide graduation requirements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • AB 1350 was signed into law by the governor on September 11, 2020.
      CFT Position: Support

    Limits a district’s affordable housing to school employees
    Assembly Bill 3308 (Gabriel, D-Encino) would specify that the state policy created by the Teacher Housing Act of 2016 includes permitting school districts to restrict occupancy of affordable rental units built on land they own to teachers and other school district employees. In addition, the bill would permit school districts and developers in receipt of tax credits designated for building affordable rental housing on school district property to retain the right to prioritize and restrict occupancy to school district employees so long as that it does not violate any other applicable laws.

    •  AB 3308 was signed into law by the governor on September 28, 2020.
      CFT Position: Support

    PreK-12 EDUCATORS – Vetoed

    Adds Ethnic Studies to high school graduation requirements
    Assembly Bill 331 (Medina, D-Riverside) would add the completion of an ethnic studies course to the requirements for high school graduation starting in the 2024-25 school year. The measure would permit the course to be offered in any discipline, not just English language arts and social studies, provided that it is based on the ethnic studies model curriculum.

    ​For more information

    For additional information, contact the members of our CFT Legislative Department:

    Ron Rapp Legislative Representative
    Tristan Brown Legislative Representative   
    Michael Young Legislative Representative   

    Telephone (916) 446-2788