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AB-1350 Retroactive grant of high school diplomas: COVID-19 crisis.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/17/2020 09:00 PM
AB1350:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 17, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  January 15, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  January 06, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 26, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1350


Introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chu, Gipson, and Nazarian)

February 22, 2019


An act to add Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 99100) to Part 11 of Division 10 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to transportation. An act to amend Section 51430 of the Education Code, relating to high school diplomas.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1350, as amended, Gonzalez. Free youth transit passes: eligibility for state funding. Retroactive grant of high school diplomas: COVID-19 crisis.
Existing law authorizes a high school district, unified school district, or county office of education to retroactively grant a high school diploma to persons under specified conditions, including, among others, a person who was interned by order of the federal government during World War II.
This bill would additionally authorize a high school district, unified district, or county office of education 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 as of March 1, 2020; and unable to complete the statewide graduation requirements as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Existing law declares that the fostering, continuance, and development of public transportation systems are a matter of state concern. Existing law authorizes the Department of Transportation to administer various programs and allocates moneys for various public transportation purposes.

This bill would require transit agencies to offer free youth transit passes to persons 18 years of age and under in order to be eligible for state funding under the Mills-Deddeh Transit Development Act, the State Transit Assistance Program, or the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. The bill would also require a free youth transit pass to count as a full price fare for purposes of calculating the ratio of fare revenues to operating costs.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YESNO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) On March 4, 2020, a state of emergency was declared by the Governor in response to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19. On March 19, 2020, the Governor issued a stay-at-home order to contain the spread of COVID-19, which resulted in unprecedented school closures across the state.
(b) As a result of the stay-at-home order, many school districts have transitioned to distance learning models that are often reliant on online methods that require the use of electronic devices and internet access.
(c) According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 16 percent of schoolage children in the state do not have any internet access at home, and 27 percent do not have a high-speed connection, meaning they rely on slower connections like dial-up or satellite service. In addition, nearly 10 percent access the internet with a cellular data plan, which usually means slower speeds and suggests they are relying solely on a smartphone or tablet.
(d) According to the Pew Research Center, the lack of sufficient electronic devices and the lack of reliable internet service increases the probability that pupils will not be able to complete their schoolwork and increases the probability that pupils will become disengaged. In fact, there is evidence that finds pupils without access to a computer at home are less likely to graduate from high school when compared to those who do.
(e) Additionally, given the unprecedented economic, social, and health impacts of COVID-19, many older pupils may face added family responsibilities that detract from completing their education. This includes, but is not limited to, taking care of an ill family member, working to supplement the household income, and taking on childcare responsibilities.
(f) Therefore, it is imperative that the state make an effort to hold harmless those pupils who were otherwise on track to graduate, but are no longer able to due to circumstances that are out of their control as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51430 of the Education Code is amended to read:

51430.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a high school district, unified school district, county office of education, or the governing body of a charter school may retroactively grant a high school diploma to a person who has not received a high school diploma if he or she meets they meet any of the following conditions:
(1) The person was interned by order of the federal government during World War II and was enrolled in a high school operated by the school district or under the jurisdiction of the county office of education immediately preceding his or her their internment and did not receive a high school diploma because his or her their education was interrupted due to his or her their internment during World War II.
(2) The person is a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War, War; was honorably discharged from his or her their military service, service; was enrolled in a high school operated by the school district or under the jurisdiction of the county office of education immediately preceding his or her their military service in those wars, wars; and did not receive a high school diploma because his or her their education was interrupted due to his or her their military service in those wars.
(3) The person has departed California against his or her their will, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 48204.4, and, at the time of his or her their departure, was enrolled in grade 12 of a high school operated by the school district, by or under the jurisdiction of the county office of education, or by the charter school, school; did not receive a high school diploma because his or her their education was interrupted due to his or her departure, their departure; and was in good academic standing at the time of his or her their departure. In making an evaluation as to whether to award a high school diploma to a pupil who meets the conditions of this paragraph, a school district, county office of education, or charter school shall consider any coursework that may have been completed by the pupil outside of the United States or that may have been completed by the pupil through online or virtual courses.
(4) The person was in their senior year of high school during the 2019–20 school year; in good academic standing as of March 1, 2020; and unable to complete the statewide graduation requirements as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
(b) A high school district, unified school district, or county office of education may retroactively grant a high school diploma to a deceased person who meets the conditions of paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a), to be received by the next of kin of the deceased person.

SECTION 1.

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a)Global climate change poses a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, natural resources, and environment of California.

(b)Greenhouse gas emissions that have been exacerbated by human activity play a central role in accelerating adverse climate change outcomes.

(c)California laws and regulations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions address one of the most important issues of our time, and increasing the use of public transportation is a vital component in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

(d)In addition to contributing to California’s climate goals, public transportation systems provide an essential public service to all of the people of the state, including elderly, disabled, youth, and citizens of limited means. Providing programs that develop ridership and adoption of public transit help contribute to achieving established statewide climate goals.

(e)Student transit pass programs have been shown to increase overall transit ridership and fill empty seats on trains and buses, resulting in reduced costs per rider and improved service because of higher demand.

(f)Targeting student transit pass programs to middle school, high school, college, and university students can promote the development of lifelong transit riders and further bolster the capacity and reliability of transit systems.

(g)Transit pass programs in this state and across the country have resulted in significant increases in transit ridership and have made it easier and cheaper for students to get to schools and jobs.

(h)Student transit pass programs can help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle miles traveled, petroleum use, air pollution, and improve overall community health.

(i)Student transit pass programs can lower pollution around elementary schools, thereby improving student health.

(j)Schools are often a major generator of traffic in cities, and student transit pass programs can help reduce the traffic and parking problems in neighborhoods around schools.

(k)Student transit pass programs can reduce the need for colleges to use campus land for expensive parking structures when this land and money could be better used for educational purposes.

(l)Student transit pass programs have decreased the necessity of, and costs associated with, driving to and from school, thereby reducing the overall cost of school attendance and the parental burdens on working families.

(m)A University of California at Los Angeles study of 35 college and university student transit pass programs across the United States in 2001 showed ridership increases of 71 to 200 percent after the implementation of these programs.

SEC. 2.Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 99100) is added to Part 11 of Division 10 of the Public Utilities Code, to read:
2.Free Youth Transit Passes
99100.

Notwithstanding any other law, a transit agency shall offer free youth transit passes to persons 18 years of age and under in order to be eligible for state funding under the Mills-Deddeh Transit Development Act (Division 11 (commencing with Section 120000)), the State Transit Assistance Program described in subdivision (a) of Section 99312.2, or the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program created by Part 3 (commencing with Section 75230) of Division 44 of the Public Resources Code.

99101.

A free youth transit pass provided pursuant to Section 99100 shall count as a full price fare for purposes of calculating the ratio of fare revenues to operating costs.