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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #23-78
October 11, 2023
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond-Sponsored Bills to Better Support Vulnerable Students Signed into Law by Governor Newsom

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond celebrated the signing this week by Governor Gavin Newsom of several pieces of legislation Thurmond sponsored and supported. The new laws include measures that increase access to health and mental health services, provide nutritious meals, and fund vision services for low-income children statewide.

“I’m pleased that these five bills will secure a brighter future for our kids through more safety precautions for our children who ride the bus, more nutritious meals for our students, increased access to health and mental health services, funding vision services for our low-income students, and stopping unnecessary suspensions and expulsions that should instead be learning experiences,” said Thurmond. “I want to thank my former colleagues for their work passing these bills through the State Legislature, and I want to thank Governor Newsom for signing them into law. I look forward to working together going forward to provide the resources needed to support all California students.”

The bills signed by the Governor this week include:

Assembly Bill 483 (Muratsuchi)—Local Educational Agency: Medi-Cal Billing Option

This law will reform the process by which the Department of Health Care Services audits claims made by schools under the Medi-Cal Local Educational Agency Billing Option Program (LEA BOP) to increase access to school-based health and mental health services for students.

Senate Bill 88 (Skinner)—Pupil Transportation: Driver Qualifications

This law will require drivers of and vehicles used by a local educational agency to provide pupil transportation for compensation to meet certain safety requirements.

Senate Bill 274 (Skinner)—Suspensions and Expulsions: Willful Defiance

This law is designed to keep children in school by prohibiting the suspension of students in transitional kindergarten through grade twelve for low-level behavior issues known as “willful defiance.” Historically, in California and around the nation, willful defiance suspensions have typically been levied for low-level disruptions. Examples include a student wearing a hat backwards, falling asleep in class, or “talking back” to a teacher. Suspensions for willful defiance disproportionately impact students of color, LGBTQ+ students, students who are homeless or in foster care, and students with disabilities.

Senate Bill 348 (Skinner)—Pupil Meals

This law will make California the first state to codify President Joe Biden’s new federal guidelines on school nutrition standards aimed at reducing sugar and salt in school meals.

Senate Bill 502 (Allen)—Medi-Cal: Children: Mobile Optometric Office

This law will allow the state to utilize federal funding and non-General-Fund money to cover vision services for low-income children statewide through a mobile optometric office.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 11, 2023
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