Establishing safe, healthy, and developmentally appropriate school hours is a bipartisan effort. The bills listed here are live or likely to be re-introduced. If there's an active bill in your state, contact your elected representatives and ask them to support the legislation. If nothing is happening in your state, lobby your legislators and local officials.
Establishing a time before which schools should not begin mandated instruction is as fundamental as requiring schools to turn on the heat when the temperature falls below a certain level. Local districts would still set their own hours; they need only meet the minimum 'no earlier than' start time that’s proven to be essential to students’ well-being. It’s time for an evidence-based, sound policy discussion that prioritizes student health and achievement. Teaching adolescents at a time they cannot effectively learn is an ineffective use of public funds and undermines our children’s health and their chances for success today and in the future." - California State Sen. Anthony Portantino,
The dates in brackets indicate when an item was added or updated. Bills related to school starting hours have been introduced in at least 22 U.S. states and territories.
State Legislation (Pending)
SB328, (2018), the Start the School Day Later bill, introduced by Sen. Anthony Portantino, "would require the school day for middle schools and high schools to begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m." The legislation was passed by the state legislature in August 2018 but vetoed by outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown. Portantino reintroduced the bill, also numbered SB328, in February 2019. The legislation was co-authored by Assembly Majority Leader Ian Calderon, Senators Scott Wiener and Dr. Richard Pen, and Assemblymembers Todd Gloria and Tasha Boerner Horvath. (Take a look at "School Start Time Research & Information," a downloadable document compiled by Sen. Portantino's office to educate lawmakers and others about the school start time issue. [2/19/19] Passed by the State Senate. (5/21/19) Passed out of Assembly Education Committee and moved on to the Appropriations Committee for consideration (7/10/19). Passed by State Assembly (7/13-14/19). [This was the third time SB328 was considered.. When first introduced in 2017 it passed out of committee but did not receive enough votes to pass out of the legislature. In 2018 the same bill was resubmitted and, while passed by the full legislature, was ultimately vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, who cited the opposition of one of the state's two major teacher's unions and state school board association and the appropriateness of "local control." Finally, in the 2018-19 session, the California State PTA made the bill its top priority, co-sponsoring it with Start School Later, and this time despite continued and well-funded opposition, it was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on 10/13/19 for enactment beginning July 1, 2022.]
ZZZ's to A's Act (HR8787), introduced by U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren directs the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct a study to determine the relationship between school start times and adolescent health, well-being, and performance. (Introduced August 31, 2022)
Back to the Future
Bills are often introduced many times before they succeed. To learn about past legislative efforts — including versions of the "ZZZ's to A's Act," a bill first introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) in 1997 — visit our page about Past Legislation. Some of the ideas might work where you live, or inspire something even better.
Local Acts and Actions
Many municipalities and local governments have passed legislation and resolutions related to school day start times. Visit the page of your state or local Start School Later Chapter to learn more.
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