California lawmakers vote to delay school start times to allow students to get more sleep

California lawmakers vote to delay school start times to allow students to get more sleep

Lawmakers in California passed a bill Friday mandating that school start times for middle- and high-school students begin at 8:30 a.m., defying the wishes of school boards in the state as well as a local teachers' union.

The Sacramento Bee reported late Friday that lawmakers had passed a bill mandating that the start of classes be delayed until 8:30 a.m., with the exception of before school or "zero period" classes, which may still begin before that time.

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The bill came despite objections from both the California Teachers Association and the California School Boards Association, according to the news outlet. It passed late Friday 41-30, after a previous attempt to pass it failed last week.

“It’s a public health issue ... I think we have the moral imperative to act,” state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D) told the Bee.

"As with anything, knowing the governor I think he will have a personal perspective on it, and I think he also respects science,” Portantino said. “So, I’m optimistic.”

Health experts often warn about early start times for adolescent students, noting that older children often require more sleep to be healthy and productive during school hours.

The bill heads to Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) desk for a possible signature next week. If the bill is signed into law, school districts will have until 2021 to reschedule bus routes and make other preparations before it takes effect.