Mental Health Services and Education Remain Atop Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s Legislative Focus

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia logo on photo of school supplies

(Sacramento – CA) In recognition of the start of Mental Health Awareness Month and yesterday’s El Día de Los Niños (Children’s Day) festivities, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) is glad to present his 2019 legislative portfolio on children, education, and mental health services.


As a proud father and former educator, Garcia has laid out several policy priorities such as the improvement of special education (AB 236) and special needs services (AB 1643), opportunities to enhance access to mental health resources in schools (AB 8), mechanisms to ensure high-quality teachers and substitutes (AB 1119), as well as tag-teaming on Assemblymember McCarty’s (D-Sacramento) Early Education/Pre-K for All package (AB 123, AB 124, AB 125).  


“We have a responsibility to invest in our children and make sure they are equipped with every possible opportunity to succeed. After soliciting feedback from residents and local partners, we are rolling out several legislative proposals that would offer more support for our special education programs,  revamp our childcare reimbursement system, ensure high-quality teachers and substitutes, as well as guarantee that our students are able to access mental health services while at school,” stated Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.


“Mental wellness resources are essential, most especially for our developing youth. As our state makes strides to improve our educational system, we cannot neglect to address mental health. AB 8 will require that mental health services be available on campus and help us to achieve safer, healthier, and conducive learning environments for our students.”


Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s 2019 Legislation on Children, Education, and Mental Health Services


AB 236 – Special Education Programs: Family Empowerment Centers on Disability (E. Garcia): This bill would support the critical work of California’s network of Family Empowerment Centers and ensure that children with disabilities have the tools they need to thrive.                                                                                                             


AB 1643 –  Services Provided By Regional Centers (E. Garcia): This bill would increase transparency by requiring Regional Centers to publicly post, on its website, Department of Developmental Services-approved purchase of service policies and, as required by the legislature last year, internal guidelines, protocols and assessment tools for respite.


AB 8 – Mental Health Services in K-12 Schools (Chu/E. Garcia) : This bill requires, by December 31, 2022, a school to have one mental health professional for every 400 students accessible to students on campus during school hours. For schools with fewer than 400 students, the bill requires at least one mental health professional for one or more schools. The bill makes specifications about the types of supervision and credentials the mental health professionals must possess. The bill also encourages a school that is eligible to receive Medi-Cal benefits to seek reimbursement through the Local Education Agency (LEA) Medi-Cal Billing option or the School-Based Medi-Cal Administrative Activities program.


SB 12 – Youth Mental Health Drop-In Centers (Beal/Portantino/E. Garcia) : This bill will encourage the development of a network of Youth-led drop-in mental health centers by requiring the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to administer the Integrated Youth Mental Health Program and require that they additionally establish core components of the program and  selection criteria for funding awardees 


AB 1119 – Teacher and Substitute Teachers: Small School Districts (E. Garcia): This bill would require the Commission on Teacher Credentialing in partnership with the State Department of Education to establish a Teacher and Substitute Shortage Workgroup that can identify steps to be taken to improve both the substitute pool and the qualified teacher workforce in small school districts.


AB 743 – Student Asthma Medication Access Act: This bill will make it easier for students to access asthma medication during the school day. Existing law authorizes a pupil to carry and self-administer prescription inhaled asthma medication, if the school district receives a written statement from a physician or surgeon detailing the name of the medication, method, amount, and time schedules by which the medication is to be taken, and confirming that the pupil is able to self-administer it. AB 743 would additionally allow school districts to accept written statements provided by a physician or surgeon who is contracted through binational health plans.


AB 123 -  Pre K for All (McCarty/E. Garcia): This bill establishes the Pre-K for All Act; expands the eligibility for California State Preschool Programs (CSPP); increases the reimbursement rate for the CSPP and requires a portion of the increase to be used to increase teacher pay; requires CSPP lead teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree by a specified date; and establishes a program to provide financial support to childcare workers pursuing a bachelor’s degree.


AB 124 - Childcare: Local Planning Councils (McCarty/E. Garcia): This bill requires local planning councils to provide information to cities and counties regarding facility needs for early childhood education, including but not limited to, childcare and preschool, in their jurisdictions


AB 125 - Early Childhood Education: Reimbursement Rates (McCarty/E. Garcia): This bill revises the state’s system and rates for reimbursing subsidized child care and development programs to create a more uniform reimbursement system reflecting regional costs of care, and establishes the “Quality Counts California Pilot Reimbursement Program” as a pilot program to provide higher reimbursement rates to alternative payment program providers (APP) for meeting certain quality standards


AB 2, Two Years Free Community College (Santiago/E. Garcia): This bill extends the California College Promise to provide a second year of free tuition for students attending a California Community College.