On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 117 into law, granting more money and health measures to schools while the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Senate Bill 117, a rare bill that was authored by the entire Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, will fund California public schools with $100 million to have local systems stay funded while in shut down, as well as clean and disinfect schools by the time classes resume. Current estimates place schools to reopen in April and May, although no hard dates have been set due to the unknown spread of the virus.
SB 117 also waives all current minimum instruction day rules for schools to keep receiving funding and certain student performance minimums also due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
SB 117 was widely supported by both parties, with the Assembly and Senate votes passing unanimously. Lawmakers from both parties stressed the need to not let public schooling lag far behind and to keep students safe when classes resume.
Governor Gavin Newsom himself stressed amazement at how quickly SB 117 and $900 million more worth of bills and measures was passed on Tuesday.
“It’s simply remarkable. In just one day’s time, members of the California Legislature came together across party lines to unanimously pass emergency legislation authorizing over $1 billion to fight COVID-19,” the Governor said after the bill signing. “This money will provide more hospital beds and medical equipment to help hospitals deal with the coming surge and it will help protect those who are most at risk. I am grateful to the Legislature for their quick action.”
Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) also the noted the unusually quick turnaround times of the bills and measures.
“With these widespread school closures, it is clear that COVID-19 is impacting the daily lives of families and students and that quick legislative action is warranted,” remarked Assemblyman Grove in a press release. “Senate Republicans remain committed to supporting first responders, medical professionals, public health officers, and countless others who are on the front lines helping to take care of vulnerable Californians.”
“This is a first step, but Senate Republicans are also committed to addressing the other negative effects of COVID-19 on businesses, employees, and independent contractors,” added Grove. “All Californians play a vital role in mitigating this public health emergency. Today’s legislative action is just a small piece of a complicated puzzle and we must remain united in our supportive efforts.”
Future emergency funding bills are likely for California as the quarantine and restrictions in California may go into April and May, potentially affecting other state and private sectors.