California State PTA Legislation Policies and Procedures

Adopted May 2021

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 includes:

  • Bills (state and federal)
  • Legislative ballot measures (constitutional amendments, bond measures and proposed changes in law placed on the ballot by the legislature)
  • Statewide initiatives — proposed or qualified (citizens directly propose state laws, bond measures, and amendments to the California Constitution)
  • Statewide referenda — proposed or qualified (citizens approve or reject state laws enacted by the Legislature)

Policy 1

California State PTA is responsible for taking action on state and federal legislative measures.

Until the California State PTA  has taken a position on a  legislative measure 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 Legislative Action Committee consists of the director of legislation, president, legislative advocates, president-elect, executive director, vice presidents and representatives from the subject matter commissions (education, health & community concerns, and family engagement), two district presidents (elected by the district presidents) and others as may be appointed by the president.

The Legislation Action Committee must complete a study based on PTA authorities before proposing a position on an initiative or a referendum to the Board of Managers.

In order to take a position on a legislative bill that places a measure on the ballot, a study must be prepared. The Legislation Action Committee’s action serves to recommend a position on the bill and the subsequent ballot measure. The recommendation must be adopted by the Board of Directors and the Board of Managers. The Board of Directors and Board of Managers shall hold a meeting within fifteen days of receipt of the recommendation from the Legislation Action Committee.  If bill amendments substantively change the content of the measure, the recommendation can be reconsidered utilizing the same process.

When there will be no meeting of the State Board of Managers between the date an initiative or referendum qualifies for the ballot and the date of the election, the Legislation Action Committee may recommend a position on the measure.  The recommendation must be brought to the Board of Directors and the Board of Managers.  The Board of Directors and Board of Managers shall hold a meeting within fifteen days of receipt of the recommendation from the Legislation Action Committee.

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

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.

PTA action on legislative measures is based on some or all of the following authorities:

  • Legislation Platform;
  • California State PTA resolutions;
  • Position statements adopted by the Board of Managers;
  • National PTA positions and resolutions;
  • Previous PTA action on the same issue; and
  • Information from authoritative and professional sources

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 be taken by an interim committee. This committee consists of the president, president-elect, director of legislation, 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 the vice president 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 study committee report shall be 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 ballot measure, a study committee shall prepare a report including information from all sides of the issue. Authorities to take a position  described in Policy 2) must be documented in the study.

The unit, council or district PTA executive board must approve the study and then submit the report to the association for action.  The results must be recorded in the minutes. Adopted positions on 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.

If not speaking in their official capacity, a current or former PTA officer/board member must not use a PTA title, the name of the PTA or the trademark of PTA to take action in opposition to an official California State PTA position.

Policy 8

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

A request should be accompanied by background information and the reasons for the recommendation, including relevant PTA authorities.

A copy of the request should be forwarded to the PTA District.

Policy 9

A local (district, council or unit) PTA may wish to take action on a state legislative measure that affects only its local or regional area. The local PTA affected must inform California State PTA before making a study and 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 be supported by PTA authority.

The local PTA must complete a study and take a vote at its association meeting in order to take a position on any measure.

Meeting notice must be given according with the bylaws. A copy of the study must be provided with the notification.  After a position has been taken, the local PTA shall report that action to the California State PTA Director of Legislation.

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

The local PTAs concerned must communicate their positions on legislation, their actions, and the results to their membership in a timely manner.

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 the Purposes of PTA, the legislation platform, is supported by PTA authorities, and affects the well-being of children and youth.

The local PTA must complete a study and take a vote at its association meeting in order to take a position on any measure.

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.

Meeting notice must be given according to the bylaws. If this is a legislative measure, a copy of the study must be provided with the notification.  A vote of the association must be taken in order for the position to be adopted.

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.

Before sending any materials home with students or using any school district resources, PTAs must check with their school district to ensure compliance with school district policies and procedures.  Advocacy materials must never be distributed using school district resources such as websites, listservs, copy machines, email servers, and social media accounts.

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.

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.

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 a best practice for 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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