Portantino’s Key Education Bills Pass Assembly Education Committee

Thursday, June 29 2023

For Immediate Release: June 28, 2023

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Portantino’s Key Education Bills Pass Assembly Education Committee

Sacramento, California Senate Bills 445, 596, 234, and 765, authored by Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank), passed the Assembly Education Committee today. SB 445 address language barriers in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process by requiring that schools provide a translated IEP within 30 days, while SB 596 addresses the issue of school employees facing harassment and threats for doing their jobs. SB 234 makes opioid antagonists such as Narcan readily available in schools and other places accessed by high-risk age groups. SB 765 offers long-term comprehensive solutions to the current teacher shortage crisis by making it easier for retired teachers to return to the classroom and provides financial incentives for new, prospective teachers.

SB 445:

SB 445 would require local education agencies, upon request by a parent, to translate the completed IEP, as well as any revisions to the IEP, in the native language of the parent within 30 days of the request. The bill would also require that translation of an IEP be by a qualified translator.

“SB 445 ensures that parents will be able understand their child’s IEP and be involved in their child’s academic life,” stated Senator Portantino. “Language barriers for children and their parents who face challenges is a hurdle we need to overcome. We should be doing everything we can as early in a child’s academic life to provide the services necessary for each to reach their potential and achieve success .”

“Families across the state of California are not able to read their child’s IEP, which is not only inequitable but present barriers to education,” stated Gabriela M. Torres, Managing Attorney, Youth Practice Group. “Mandating a timeline for translation will help address these inequities and allow access to a free and appropriate public education.”

SB 596:

SB 596 would make it a misdemeanor to subject a school employee to threats or harassment for reasons related to their official duties while they are away from a school site or after school hours. It does not infringe on free speech or stifle parental involvement in public education. It just protects employees in the same manner and courtesy everyone would expect for a hardworking family member. 

“It’s a very sad and concerning situation that people feel it appropriate to harass and intimidate individuals for simply doing their job under the law,” stated Senator Portantino. “No one should be threatened or harassed for providing academic instruction in accordance with California state law. SB 596 aims to provide a safe and inclusive environment for communities by providing educators and staff safe, off campus, everyday life. It’s important to also be clear, that this bill does not infringe or affect a parents ability to interact with their school district or advocate on behalf of their children. It’s also saddens me that some people are erroneously alarming school parents for a divisive purpose.”

“We would like to thank the parents, guardians, students, community members, administrators and staff in our district and across the state who have supported our efforts with SB 596,” stated Gagik Galfayan and Patrick Davarhanian, teachers from the Glendale Unified School District. “At a time when threats of violence and hatred are at an all time high, we are truly grateful and appreciative to receive overwhelming support and love from our community. With your letters of support, words of advice and consideration of our students and staff, you have demonstrated that civil discourse and respect for quality public education is essential.”

SB 234:

Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that reverses and blocks the effects of opioids and provides the opportunity for medical personnel to intervene. SB 234 would require each elementary and secondary school in the state, including charter schools, to maintain unexpired doses of naloxone hydrochloride or any other opioid antagonist on its school site at all times, and that at least two employees are aware of its the location. The bill also requires the California Community Colleges, the California State University, the University of California, independent institution of higher education, and private postsecondary educational institution to maintain unexpired doses of naloxone or other opioid antagonists on its campus at all times. 

“The opioid crisis is real and tragic and we must do more to combat its impact on our children and neighborhoods and that includes making naloxone readily available for high-risk age groups,” stated Senator Portantino. “Current law makes it optional to use Narcan for emergency purposes and that’s not sufficient. SB 234 will require it to be readily available. Our schools and other impacted places must have the tools needed to save lives and parents should not have to worry if emergency treatments are available to help in the moment of crisis.”

“As the former Deputy Drug Czar under President Clinton, I know first-hand the extent to which substance abuse destroys the lives of individuals and their families,” said Senator Thomas J. Umberg (D-Santa Ana), who is a joint author of SB 234. “This anguish is only amplified with the inclusion of fentanyl-laced substances in our drug stream. It’s clear that we have a major epidemic on our hands in California – I’m happy to be working with Senator Portantino to tackle this issue this year.”

SB 765:

SB 765 seeks to continue these efforts to mitigate the teacher shortage crisis by streamlining the process for retired teachers to return to the classroom. Additionally, SB 765 expands the CTC Teacher Residency Grant by increasing the grant award for teacher candidates from $25,000 to $40,000. Finally, the bill waives the financial need requirement for 1,000 Cal Grant Awards given to students pursuing a teaching career.

“Addressing the teacher shortage crisis requires that we appropriately invest in our schools and teachers,” stated Senator Portantino. “We need practical solutions, including making it easier for retired teachers to come back to their teaching positions and make it easier for aspiring teachers to enter the workforce. Too many teachers are leaving the classroom and we need to step up our efforts to ensure that it does not negatively affect the quality of education that our children deserve.”

"I am proud to sponsor SB 765, a critical piece of legislation that will enable our schools to meet the immediate needs of students with qualified educators, and offer long-term solutions to combat the California teacher shortage," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.