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It Takes More Than Kissing Babies: Common Sense Will Highlight Bills That Are for Kids and Against Kids

Common Sense Kids Action's goal is to give lawmakers and parents an opportunity to quickly identify bills that are most important to kids.

As part of our ongoing effort to get elected officials to put the needs of kids first, Common Sense Kids Action has created a new ratings system that highlights legislation with the potential to significantly impact the lives of California's children.

Parents, concerned citizens, and lawmakers need help sifting through the rhetoric and PR campaigns touting bills as good for kids and their families. Our independent and nonpartisan ratings will cut through the noise and give kids a clear and powerful voice in our politics. We must all do more to make kids the top priority for our state. The new Common Sense Legislative Ratings system is the next step in getting more lawmakers to focus on policies that give every child an opportunity to succeed and thrive.

For years, parents and educators have turned to Common Sense to help them make informed decisions about age-appropriate media and technology. Now, in addition to rating apps, games, websites, movies, books, and TV shows, our expanding team of experienced policy staff are analyzing legislation and public policy that can be most beneficial to kids across California.

Our goal is to give lawmakers and parents an opportunity to quickly identify bills that are most important to kids in California. Any bill that receives the Common Sense Star will be one aimed at providing a better future for the youngest Californians.

Too often, the political interests of kids are pushed aside in favor of those groups who can afford the lobbyists and political machinery to get lawmakers' attention. We want to make sure our kids have a seat at the political table in Sacramento and that their voices are heard inside the halls of power.

The ratings system will serve as a way to hold legislators accountable to California's children as they face a series of complex and interconnected challenges in our ever-changing world.

Our efforts will focus on four major policy areas where the state can help provide a foundation of opportunity for every California child:

  • High quality early childhood, including child care, pre-k, nutrition, and preventive health care
  • 21st century schools, designed and funded to ensure every student graduates ready to succeed in college or career, with high-quality and well-trained teachers, broadband in every classroom and at home, privacy rules to protect kids' personal data, and innovative career pathways to prepare all students for the academic and employment challenges ahead
  • A positive media and technology world, including the privacy people of all ages deserve in school, at home, and throughout their lives and guidance on how to be responsible digital citizens who make good choices online
  • Common Sense Support for Families, including policies that address poverty and other barriers to providing children with the right start and policies that support working families, like paid sick and family and medical leave, fair pay, Earned Income and Child Tax credits, and child care benefits

In addition to highlighting and advocating for the bills that are "For Kids," we will highlight legislation that could have a particularly detrimental impact on California children. These harmful bills will receive our "Against Kids" rating and be publicized as legislation that needs to be defeated. At the end of the year, we will also highlight Kids' Heroes, California legislators who have demonstrated they truly are working for kids.

These new ratings are part of our call to action to do more for California's children. By placing a focus on public policy, we can help ensure lawmakers do more to protect California's kids and give kids a stronger voice in Sacramento. Keep an eye on our ratings here and let us know if you agree or disagree with our analysis. We want to hear from you.

Jim Steyer

Jim is Common Sense Media's CEO and founder -- read all about him here.