California State PTA Legislation Policies and Procedures

Adopted May 2017

Policies are presented to convention delegates for adoption in odd-numbered years.
Procedures are adopted by California State PTA Board of Managers.
Policies are italicized; procedures are not italicized.

A legislative measure is considered to include bills (state and federal), legislative ballot measures (statutory, constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by the legislature), proposed statewide initiative petitions, and initiatives that have qualified for the statewide ballot.

Policy 1

California State PTA is responsible for taking action on state and federal legislative measures, and proposed or qualified statewide ballot measures.

Until the California State PTA Board of Managers has taken a position on a state issue or specifically declines to take a position, support or opposition should not be expressed in the name of PTA.

A legislation action committee is authorized to act on behalf of the State Board of Managers when taking positions on legislative bills. Such action must conform to established PTA positions and must be reported immediately to the California State PTA Board of Managers. The legislation action committee shall include, but not be limited to, the president, president-elect, director of legislation, legislation advocates, two district PTA presidents, the chairman, and one other member of each commission on community concerns, education, health, family engagement, and others as appointed by the president.

The Legislation Action Committee is also authorized to take action on statewide ballot measures when there will be no meeting of the State Board of Managers between the date the measure qualifies for the ballot and the date of the election. Action taken on ballot measures by this committee is subject to concurrence by the Board of Directors.

In order to maintain a strong united position, contacts to legislators in the name of PTA shall be made by persons authorized by the State Board of Managers or by unit, council and district PTAs and their members.

Policy 2

Legislative measures selected for action by California State PTA must be of statewide significance, fit within both the Purposes of the PTA and the legislation platform adopted by the convention delegates, as well as other relevant PTA authorities.

A measure is considered to be a proposed bill in the Legislature, a proposed statewide initiative petition, or a proposition that has qualified for the statewide ballot.

In selecting measures for action, the California State PTA Board of Managers shall consider:

  • Studies made by the California State PTA Board of Managers and by units, councils and district PTAs, with supporting information;
  • Position statements adopted by the California State PTA Board of Managers;
  • Membership opinion as reported by the district PTA presidents;
  • Resolutions adopted by the delegates at annual State conventions;
  • Information from authoritative and professional sources;
  • Historical positions on bills with the same subject matter or intent; and
  • National PTA positions consistent with current California State PTA positions.

Policy 3

Any position on legislative measures adopted by California State PTA remains in effect, unless, after subsequent review, new action is deemed warranted, and is adopted according to California State PTA procedures.

When action on state or federal legislation is required between meetings of the legislation action committee, or when a bill has been amended to the extent that an existing position needs to be changed, such action may taken by an interim committee. This committee consists of the president, president-elect, director of legislation, and appropriate subject matter vice president and the advocate who will manage the bill.

When these situations occur, the advocate managing the bill shall contact the subject matter commission vice president. If he or she concurs that an immediate decision is warranted, and the director of legislation agrees, an interim committee meeting shall be called.

Any such action(s) must be ratified at the next regular meeting of the legislation action committee.

Policy 4

All positions on legislative measures taken by California State PTA shall be posted on the association’s website in a timely manner.

When positions are adopted on state legislative bills by the legislation action committee:

  • The positions shall be made available via an electronic information alert to all subscribers, including the district PTA presidents and other members of the Board of Managers.
  • Positions on legislative bills shall be maintained and displayed on the California State PTA website.

When positions are adopted on state ballot measures:

  • The rationale for California State PTA Board of Managers’ action shall be prepared by the California State PTA Board of Managers, posted on the website and distributed to unit, council and district PTAs for distribution to their members;

Policy 5

A unit, council, or district PTA with an interest in a proposed or qualified statewide ballot measure, which pertains to the welfare of children and youth, must determine whether California State PTA is studying or has taken action, before considering any action locally. Action may be taken locally by following PTA’s standard procedure for making a study.

The issue or ballot measure must fit within the Purposes of PTA and the California State PTA legislation platform, adhere to PTA policies, and affect the well-being of children and youth.

Before a unit, council or district PTA takes a position on a statewide measure, a study, including information from all sides of the issue, shall be conducted. Authorities to take a position (as described in Policy 2) must be documented in the study.

Before taking action, the unit, council or district PTA must take a vote at an association meeting and record the results in the minutes. Adopted positions on statewide ballot measures must be communicated to California State PTA.

When no action is planned and information only is being presented to membership, both sides of the issue must be provided.

Policy 6

Any California State PTA action on legislative measures represents the official position of the organization and shall not be interpreted as representing the personal opinion or conviction of every individual PTA member.

Policy 7

Unit, council and district PTAs are encouraged to promote adopted California State PTA positions on legislative measures and may be requested to actively support them which does not require a local vote affirming the state position. While unit, council and district PTAs are not required to work actively for any position, they should not officially oppose a stand taken by California State PTA. Disagreement with a position on legislative measures should be communicated to California State PTA through regular channels, with a report of the extent of – and reasons for – the disagreement, including supporting PTA authorities.

Unit, council, district PTAs, or executive boards need not vote to affirm a California State PTA position in order to support the position.

When reporting a position of California State PTA, a unit, council or district PTA may also inform the membership of opposing views.

If a unit, council or district PTA desires to express disapproval of an adopted California State PTA Board position on legislation to the California State PTA Board of Managers, a study of both sides of the issue should be made by the disagreeing group, and results of the study (with supporting material) should be forwarded to the California State PTA Board of Managers.

A current or former PTA officer/board member must not use his/her title, the name of the PTA or the trademark of PTA to take action in opposition to the official PTA position.

Policy 8

Any unit, council or district PTA may request that California State PTA consider taking action on a legislative measure.

Proposals shall indicate the source of the recommendation.

Approved proposals from units and councils first shall be forwarded to the district PTA.

Each proposal should be accompanied by background information and the reasons for the recommendation.

Policy 9

A district, council or unit PTA may wish to take action on a state legislative measure that affects only its local or regional area. The district PTA affected must inform California State PTA before taking a position.

The measure must have serious implications for children and youth within that local or regional area.

The measure must fit within the Purposes of PTA and the legislation platform.

After a position has been taken, the district PTA shall report that action to the director of legislation.

Any advocacy of the district PTA’s position is the responsibility of the district PTA and must be preceded or accompanied by a statement making it clear that the district PTA spokesman represents a PTA area, and is not speaking for California State PTA.

The district PTAs concerned must accept complete responsibility for communicating their positions on legislation, their actions, and the results to their membership in a timely manner.

Before taking a position on any measure, the district PTA must take a vote of the district PTA at an association meeting.

Policy 10

Unit, council and district PTAs may take action on local issues originating in school districts, cities, regions, or counties, if such action fits within both the Purposes of PTA and legislation platform, adopted by convention delegates, is supported by PTA authorities, adheres to PTA policies, and affects the well-being of children and youth.

The proposed issue shall be carefully studied in order to determine the need for it and to understand its provisions and probable results.

A unit should consult the council, a council should consult the district PTA for advice and coordination of efforts and the district PTA president should be informed of any projected study by a unit or council.

All of the PTA units within a council affected by the issue must be informed and a majority of the units within the council must vote in agreement on the proposed action. This can be accomplished by a vote of a quorum of the authorized unit voting delegates and council board members.

All of the councils and out-of-council units within a district PTA affected by the issue must be informed, and a majority of the councils within the district PTA must vote in agreement on the proposed action.

Policy 11

Informational (non-advocacy) material on PTA positions related to legislative issues, including local or statewide ballot measures, may be sent home with students, in compliance with local school district policies and procedures*

*State law requires school districts to adopt policies regarding sending material home with students.

Only informational materials on legislative issues may be distributed via the students. Informational materials must provide “a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.” (See California Education Code, Section 7054 (b)(2).) Note that a statement of California State PTA’s position on an issue is, in itself, informational.

Advocacy materials provide biased information about the issues and often tell the voter how to vote on a specific issue. This information must never be sent home with students, and PTAs must find alternative methods of distribution.

If there is a question regarding whether legislative material constitutes advocacy or is informational, consult the district PTA president or the appropriate school district personnel.

The school district designated administrator must authorize in writing the distribution of all legislative material considered to be informational before it can be sent home with students or electronically posted on a school website.

It is also important to comply with local school district policies on sending materials home with students.

It is in the best interest of a PTA unit to maintain a file of all legislative materials distributed via students. The file should include a copy of every piece of legislation material with the appropriate written authorization for distribution.

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