California’s "For Kids" Policy Gains
As we look back on the legislative year, we at Common Sense Kids Action are thankful for the progress we achieved for children and families in California. In the first year of our Common Sense Legislative Ratings initiative, 12 "For Kids" bills were signed into law, and California took positive steps on all four Kids Action policy priorities:
High-Quality Early Childhood
The 2016–2017 budget deal made by Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature took positive steps on child care and preschool programs that set us up for a much bigger conversation about how to make kids a real priority in the state budget (as the Right Start Commission called for in its landmark report, Rebuilding the California Dream) and move toward a truly child-centered system that nurtures every child from the beginning of life.
Senator Ben Allen's bill to create single-subject credentials for theater and dance teachers removed obstacles for arts teachers in California, increasing the opportunity for all students to have access to a high-quality visual and performing arts education.
Positive Media and Technology World
With Assemblymember Ed Chau's leadership, two important bills sponsored by Common Sense Kids Action became law. One extended important privacy protections to California's pre-K students, and another helped our children navigate the digital world safely and responsibly by declaring October 16–22 Digital Citizenship Week.
Common Sense Support for Families
With the leadership of Assemblymembers Jimmy Gomez and Autumn Burke and Senators Mark Leno, Kevin de León, and Connie Leyva, the Legislature and Governor Brown took action for families by raising the wage-replacement rate for state paid family leave and increasing the minimum wage. For families facing homelessness, the creation of the No Place Like Home Program and the Homelessness Coordinating and Financing Council will help provide crucial housing and services.
California also took significant steps to help families protect our children's health. Thanks to a bill authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, the Cal Air Resources Board will now be required to develop and implement a plan to reduce the short-lived climate pollutants that contribute to asthma, one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. And the landmark legislative package approved by the Legislature and the governor will help prevent kids from becoming addicted to tobacco and reduce the chances that children will be affected by the lifetime health risks associated with tobacco and e-cigarette devices.
As we look to the work ahead, we are also grateful for the continuing dedication of our state's leaders and advocates. Thanks to their efforts, California is a safer, healthier, and more supportive place to live for our children and families.
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