Policy Updates

In addition to tracking and working on legislation, the California School-Based Health Alliance works closely with state and federal policymakers to advance legislation, administrative policies, and regulations that support school-based health services. Updates on policy changes that we are tracking and leading are included here.

UPDATE: Governor Takes Action on CSHA Priority Legislation

The 2023 Legislative Session has concluded as of October 14, with the Governor weighing in on the fate of legislation. Out of four bills prioritized by the California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA), three were passed by the Legislature.

This does not include Assembly Bill (AB) 912 – the Strategic Anti-Violence Funding Efforts (SAFE) Act – co-sponsored by CSHA and authored by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles).

AB 912 would have channeled cost savings from prison closures into critical community supports, including funding for school-based health centers (SBHCs). Additionally, the bill included elements of AB 1940, a similar CSHA sponsored bill that was vetoed by the Governor in 2022, which aimed to update and modernize the existing school health grant program.

Despite strong bipartisan support in the Legislature, the Governor vetoed AB 912 on October 8. In his veto letter, the Governor cited cost pressures during a tumultuous budget year, while expressing his support in principle.

While the outcome of AB 912 is disappointing, CSHA is staunchly committed to advancing policies that support school-based health.

CSHA supported three other bills in 2023, two of which were passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor. The three bills were:

  • AB 599 – authored by Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) – would prohibit schools from expelling or suspending students caught with tobacco or vaping products.
  • AB 665 – authored by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) – would allow minors ages 12-18 on Medi-Cal to consent to outpatient mental health services.
  • Senate Bill (SB) 541 – authored by Senator Caroline Menjivar (D-Los Angeles) – would require high schools to make free condoms available to students.

AB 599 was held back by the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 1. It may be taken up again by the Legislature in January 2024.

AB 665 was signed into law by the Governor on October 7. In his letter to the Legislature, the Governor highlighted the lifesaving nature of the legislation for youth struggling with mental health. This represents a significant expansion in access to care during an unprecedented youth mental health crisis.

SB 541 was vetoed by the Governor on October 8. In his veto letter, the Governor cited cost pressures during a tumultuous budget year.

CSHA will reflect on these outcomes to better inform advocacy strategies for 2024.