Bills to Watch: Online Learning, Mail Theft, Food Labeling

AB-662 / SB-595

Online-learning pilot program

This bill creates a three-year pilot program to provide children with an online-learning curriculum to improve their transition to five-year-old kindergarten. The Department of Public Instruction will select six schools – three urban and three rural – for the program, which will include content in reading, math and science. It will also provide participating low-income families with access to a computer and internet service in their home at no cost. The bill is in the Committee on Education in both the Senate and Assembly.


Mail theft

In an attempt to combat the rise in theft of unopened packages that have been delivered to homes, this bill would create a series of penalties for mail theft. Although theft is already illegal, the act of stealing multiple items from multiple residences cannot be considered under the same charge. This bill creates penalties from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class H felony for stealing multiple pieces of mail from multiple properties. The bill is circulating for co-sponsorship until Dec. 20.

AB-515, 516, 518 / SB-463, 464, 466

Labeling of meat and dairy products

These bills aim to prohibit the labeling of foods as meat or dairy products if they do not contain meat or dairy – seeking to protect consumers from confusion about alternative meat and dairy products – but they would not take effect unless 10 other states with strong agricultural economies adopt similar laws. Sen. Tammy Baldwin supported a similar measure at the federal level, but it failed. The bills went before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions on Dec. 20.