Focus Areas

Monthly Advocacy Calls

California Bans Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products

We did it!

SB 793, (Hill), the bill to outlaw the sale of flavored tobacco was signed into law by the Governor on August 28th. Thanks to all of you who called, wrote letters or completed the PTA online request to email your legislators. This was a hard-fought campaign and every one of you made a difference in the outcome. Because of you, beginning January 1, 2021, it will be illegal to sell flavored tobacco in California. This is the power of PTA.

But wait — our work may not be done. On August 31, a request for a referendum on SB 793 was submitted to the Secretary of State. The Attorney General gave it a title and on September 10 and it was approved to collect signatures. The group submitting has to collect 623,212 signatures by December 10, 2020. According to the Secretary of State website, “if the required number of registered voters sign this petition and the petition is timely filed, there will be a referendum challenging the 2020 law on the next statewide ballot after the November 3, 2020 general election.” This means the challenge would prohibit the law from being enforced unless the voters vote in favor of the law when the referendum is on the ballot. The next general election will most likely be 2022.

This referendum drive is funded by the tobacco industry. Hopefully they will not succeed but if they do, we must be ready once again to fight for the health of the children and youth of California.

We will continue to follow this and keep you updated.

Read the PTA Resolution and Background Statement: E-Cigarettes/Vaping, Flavored Tobacco Products and Youth Health


On June 16, 2020, California State PTA President-Elect Carol Green testified on behalf of PTA during the State Assembly’s hearing titled “Re-Opening California’s Public Schools for the 2020-21 School Year.”

“The past three months have been difficult for everyone – especially children and families. California State PTA has been asking parents throughout the state how things are going and what they need. In such a large diverse state the answers are varied. But there are few universal concerns about the health & safety. These seem to fall into three main categories: Concerns about the social emotional well-being of children, their families and teachers. Concerns about communication – Parents want to know what is going on and what the school plans to do. They would also like to be part of the process. Concerns for our most vulnerable children – students with special needs, socioeconomically disadvantaged families and other vulnerable students. All kids need to be considered.”

Click here to see a recording of the hearing – Carol is on the first panel, “Health and Safety of Students and Staff.”

To read a transcript of her testimony, click here.

National PTA Legislation Conference and State Advocacy Award

PTA leaders from across California attended the 2020 National PTA Legislative Conference from March 10-12 in Washington D.C. The conference allowed us the opportunity to network with fellow PTA advocates, meet with policymakers, hear PTA advocacy success stories and learn how to shape public policy on Capitol Hill and at home.

Our delegation of 14 from California met with the offices of Senators Feinstein and Harris, as well as the offices of a number of our Congressional representatives. Our talking points focused on the inclusion of schools in any federal infrastructure legislation as well as the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. Click here for a copy of the National PTA talking points for the conference.

Director of Legislation Shereen Walter and California State PTA President Celia Jaffe presented a standing-room-only workshop on effective grassroots advocacy techniques as one of the Spotlight presentations being highlighted at the conference.

Carol Kocivar and California State PTA were both honored at the National PTA Advocacy Awards Banquet, held during the conference. Carol, CAPTA’s former president and current legislative advocate, was the recipient of the 2020 Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award. This award is presented to an individual PTA member who, through their leadership and advocacy efforts, affected federal policy priorities within PTA’s annual Public Policy Agenda. Carol’s advocacy includes work on increasing investments in quality public education, school infrastructure, public school choice and charter accountability, as well as safe and supportive school environments.

California State PTA was recognized with the Outstanding State Advocacy Award for our efforts in raising awareness about healthier school start times and securing the passage of SB 328, the Late School Start bill. The legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Newsom in October, requires that middle schools in California start no earlier than 8:00 a.m., and high schools no earlier than 8:30 a.m. (see below for more).


Congratulations PTA – Advocacy in Action!

Senate Bill 328, sponsored by California State PTA and co-authored by State Senator Anthony Portantino, has been signed into law by Governor Newsom.

Signed on October 14, 2019, this law will prohibit middle schools from beginning their school day before 8:00 a.m., and high schools from beginning their school day before 8:30 a.m.

“The California State PTA was an early champion of this bill, which represents an enormous victory for youth across the Golden State,” said California State PTA President Celia Jaffe. “Our members believe later school start times address the very real biological changes that every teenager experiences. The research is clear that sleep deprivation is an epidemic among adolescents, and those who get sufficient sleep not only perform better academically, but are also less likely to be involved in traffic accidents, have a reduced risk of obesity and depression, and have overall better quality of life.”

“We recognize that this bill will require structural changes in the way schools operate, which is why we worked with legislators to ensure that SB 328 provides a three-year period for local districts to determine how to best implement these changes in their own communities,” she added. “Despite the challenges posed to schools, we feel the passage of this important bill puts kids’ needs first. Governor Newsom’s decision to change school start times will improve the health, safety and academic success of students, and PTA members across the state are so pleased to see that the efforts of the current and past board, as well as the outstanding advocacy efforts of our local leaders, helped this bill become law. We thank Senator Portantino for championing this worthy issue.”

Learn more:

For questions, please reach out to Director of Legislation Shereen Walter at or Executive Director Sherry Skelly Griffith at

Legislative Action Reports

Our Legislative Action Reports outline California State PTA’s positions and activities on state legislation. View the current legislative session’s reports here.

About the California State PTA Legislation Action Committee

California State PTA Legislation Action Committee (LAC) meets during the legislative session, and takes action on pending state and federal legislation based on PTA’s priorities and adopted authorities.

For more information, please refer to the Advocacy section of California State PTA Toolkit. Click here to view currently adopted positions on legislation. For more information, or to inquire if a bill is under consideration by the California State PTA, contact the Director of Legislation at