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AB-1974 Pupils: collection of debt.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 01/31/2018 09:00 PM
AB1974:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1974


Introduced by Assembly Member Gonzalez Fletcher
(Principal coauthor: Senator Hertzberg)

January 31, 2018


An act to add Section 49014 to the Education Code, relating to pupils.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1974, as introduced, Gonzalez Fletcher. Pupils: collection of debt.
Existing law provides that a pupil enrolled in a public school is prohibited from being required to pay a pupil fee, as defined, for participation in an educational activity, as defined.
The Child Hunger Prevention and Fair Treatment Act of 2017 prohibits certain local educational agencies, as defined, that provide school meals through the federal National School Lunch Program or the federal School Breakfast Program from taking any action directed at a pupil to collect unpaid school meal fees. The act authorizes a local educational agency to attempt to collect unpaid school meal fees from a parent or guardian, but prohibits the local educational agency from using a debt collector, as defined.
This bill would enact the Primary Education Fair Debt Collection Act. The act would provide that a pupil, unless emancipated, can never owe or be billed for a debt by a public school or school district, county office of education, or state special school. The act would prohibit those educational entities from, among other things, withholding grades or transcripts, denying or withholding a diploma, or in any other way taking action against a pupil or former pupil because their parent or guardian owes money to the educational entity. The act would require those educational entities to provide a receipt to a parent or guardian when they make a payment for any amount that they owe on behalf of their pupil or former pupil. The act would prohibit those educational entities from using a debt collector, as defined, to pursue repayment of any debt owed by a parent or guardian of a pupil or former pupil. The act would require an educational entity, if the educational entity has already sent a debt owed by a parent or guardian of a pupil or former pupil to a debt collector before January 1, 2019, to be responsible for any breaches of security that have or will impact the private information of the pupil or former pupil. By imposing additional duties on school districts and county offices of education, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Primary Education Fair Debt Collection Act.

SEC. 2.

 Section 49014 is added to the Education Code, to read:

49014.
 (a) A pupil, unless emancipated, shall not owe or be billed for a debt by a public school or school district.
(b) A public school or school district shall not withhold grades or transcripts, deny or withhold a diploma, bar participation in an extracurricular club or sport, exclude from participation in an educational activity or field trip, or in any other way take action against a pupil or former pupil because their parent or guardian owes money to the school or school district.
(c) A public school or school district shall provide a receipt whenever a parent or guardian of a pupil or former pupil make a payment to the school or school district for any amount that they owe on behalf of their pupil or former pupil.
(d) A public school or school district shall not use a debt collector, as defined in Section 803 of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1692a), to pursue repayment of a debt owed by a parent or guardian of a pupil or former pupil.
(e) If the public school or school district has already sent a debt owed by a parent or guardian of a pupil or former pupil to a debt collector before January 1, 2019, the school or school district shall be responsible for any breaches of security that have or will impact the private information of the pupil or former pupil.
(f) This section applies to the state special schools, as described in subdivision (a) of Section 48927.
(g) For purposes of this section, “school district” means a school district or county office of education.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.