What happened to AB 1373 (Fong)?
So many organizations and individuals helped to develop and advocate for AB 1373 (Fong): Healthy Relationships Promotion, Teen Dating Violence Prevention, a bill that the Partnership sponsored in 2011. Read the history of AB 1373, and let us know what you think we can learn and carry forward in our advocacy to promote school environments that support healthy youth relationships and prevent dating abuse.
In early November 2010, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (the Partnership) convened a group of youth and adults in Oakland to develop a bill idea to promote healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence in schools. We drew heavily on the hot-off-the press model policy by Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund) and Break the Cycle: A School Policy to Increase Student Safety: Promote Healthy Relationships and Prevent Teen Dating Violence through Improved School Climate.
- Later in November, we secured approval from the Partnership’s Public Policy Research Committee (PPRC) to move forward with our bill idea.
- In December 2010, we formed the Partnership’s PPRC Teen Dating Violence Sub-Committee with representation from 5 California regions (North, Central, Bay Area, Los Angeles and Southern). We further developed our bill idea and advocacy strategy at a meeting in Sacramento.
- In January and February 2011 we further developed our bill idea and secured our author, Assembly Member Paul Fong (D-San Jose). Assembly Member Fong is a long-time civil rights activist who is one of the founders of a member agency of the Partnership, Asian Americans for Community Involvement. In addition, the Partnership began early outreach to key stakeholders, such as theCalifornia Department of Education and the California Teachers Association to receive feedback on our bill idea. We also began broadening our coalition of supporters.
- On February 18, 2011 our bill, AB 1373 was introduced into the California Legislature!
- On February 23, 2011, we helped to organize and also testified at a hearing for the Assembly Select Committee on Domestic Violence entitled: Teen Dating Violence: Current Trends, Youth Perspectives, and Family-School-Community Solutions in Sacramento. 20 people testified at the hearing, which was attended by 6 legislators and 100 audience members. The hearing received noteworthy media coverage.
- On March 6-7, 2011, over 150 youth and adults lobbied the legislature in support of AB 1373 and other legislative and budget priorities in Sacramento.
- On April 13, 2011, AB 1373 passed out of the Assembly Education Committee with 8 aye votes and 2 no votes. Feroz Moideen, Program Manager for Coaching Boys into Men with Futures Without Violence and Lisa Fujie Parks with the Partnership testified as witnesses in support, along with 10 additional organizational supporters. Letters of support were submitted by over 25 local, state and national domestic violence advocacy organizations; women’s advocacy groups (California Commission on the Status of Women, California NOW and more); youth advocacy groups (Youth Alive!); LGBT advocacy groups (Equality California, GSA Network, Trevor Project); education groups (California Teachers Association, California School Health Centers Association, Los Angeles Unified School District and more); and healthcare groups (California Medical Associationand California Nurses Association and more).
- On Mar 30 and April 26, 2011 AB 1373 was amended per recommendations from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and other public education stakeholders.
- On May 4, 2011, AB 1373 was referred to the suspense file in the Assembly Appropriations Committee due to the committee analysis, which attributed a price tag for the bill that exceeded the threshold of $50,000. The committee analysis projected a cost pressure of at least $450,000 to school districts and County Offices of Education, as well as administrative costs to the State Department of Education, likely less than $75,000.
- During the month of May, the Partnership worked with Assembly Member Fong, Assembly Member Fuentes (Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee), the California Department of Education and additional stakeholders to amend AB 1373 to eliminate cost pressures. The bill was amended to simply: 1) instruct the Superintendent of Public Instruction to post healthy relationships promotion/teen dating violence prevention programs and policies on their website; and, 2) provide guidelines for what programs and policies to post. Language authorizing schools to implement programs through curricular, extra-curricular and school climate improvement activities was removed to eliminate the cost pressure to school districts and County Offices of Education. In addition, the State Department of Education communicated with the Assembly Appropriations Committee staff that the tasks mandated by the bill would require no more than 2 hours of staff time (for a cost far less than the estimated $75,000).
- On May 27, AB 1373 was held in submission in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, despite its minimal and absorbable cost, absence of mandates, and the support of a broad coalition of educators, youth advocates and anti-violence groups. The Partnership’s executive director Tara Shabazz said:
“The bill’s failure is especially disappointing in light of California’s poor track record with teen dating violence measures; since 1996, there have been eight school-based teen dating violence prevention bills introduced, all of which have failed. Meanwhile, one in three teen girls will fall victim to dating violence, and much of their abuse and harassment takes place on school campuses. There is tremendous public support behind teen dating violence education, but legislators can’t seem to muster the political will. Parents, teachers, students and advocates all know we have to address this issue. The state needs to step up and support schools’ prevention work.”
- On February 1, 2012, AB 1373 was returned to the Chief Clerk of the Assembly pursuant to Joint Rule 56. It can no longer be acted upon. Join Rule 56 states that, “bills introduced in the first year of the regular session that do not become carry-over bills shall be returned to the Chief Clerk of the Assembly or the Secretary of the Senate.” In other words, AB 1373 is dead. (Though they say that bills have a way of coming back to life…)