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Bill raising age limit for kindergarten passes

09.01.2010 | Chronicle Sacramento Bureau | Wyatt Buchanan and Justin Ho

The California Legislature approved a bill Tuesday that will require children to reach their fifth birthday by Sept. 1 to enroll in kindergarten.

The passage came on the last night for lawmakers to pass bills to send to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor has until Sept. 30 to act on the bills.

Lawmakers were working on other high-profile measures, including a ban on single-use plastic bags, late into the night Tuesday.

Passage of the kindergarten bill, SB1381 by Sen Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, moves the cutoff up from Dec. 1. The requirement will phase in over the next four years.

“There are not very many families in today’s economy that can hold their kids outside of school,” said Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Santa Monica, who presented the bill in the Assembly. “We’re just trying to provide a kindergarten program that’s going to really work for these young people. This will make children much more successful.”

Another bill by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, would extend a program that was set to expire allowing pharmacists to distribute up to 30 hypodermic needles without a prescription.

Several controversial bills also failed to pass the Assembly on Tuesday, including a measure to ban all but trace amounts of the chemical bisphenol A in cups and bottles for children 3 years old and younger. It also would have prohibited baby formula and other food or drinks intended for young children from being packaged in containers that contain more than trace amounts of bisphenol A.

Also failing to pass was a bill by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, that would have protected struggling schools in low-income areas from facing disproportionate layoffs due to teacher seniority.

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