Kudos to Senator Mark DeSaulnier for Senate Bill 803 which is a great thing for the California youths.
DeSaulnier’s Youth Leadership Bill Signed by Governor Brown
Senate Bill 803 (DeSaulnier) Creates a Scholarship for Underserved Youth to Be Active in Their Government
Senate Bill 803 (DeSaulnier) was signed into law last week to create the California Youth Leadership Project to award scholarships to youth ages 14-18 to support and promote youth civic engagement. Funding would come from voluntary contributions made through a tax check-off that would be added to state income tax forms beginning in the 2012 tax year.
“I applaud Governor Brown for signing this bill and recognizing that California’s youth have something to say and deserve to be heard,” said Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord). “Underserved young people face many challenges. The Legislature needs to hear from them, especially on issues like poverty, bullying, addiction, and education. This legislation will provide much needed funding to help give these youth a voice in their government.”
There are several California programs that give youth the opportunity to participate in their government. They conduct mock legislatures, advocate on youth issues, and help youth to understand how their government serves and represents them. This bill will provide these organizations with the opportunity to apply for scholarships to help fund costs for underserved youth who would otherwise be unable to participate. The scholarships will be fully funded by monies from the tax check-off and the funds will be distributed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
This is DeSaulnier’s third bill on this issue. In 2008, AB 2252 sought to create a California Youth Commission. In 2009-10, SB 516 would have established the California Youth Legislature. These bills were designed to assist at-risk and disadvantaged youth in advising and making recommendations to the Legislature and the Governor on specific issues affecting them. Both bills were vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
SB 803 is supported by Tom Torlakson, Superintendent of Public Instruction, the California Coalition for Youth, California Youth Empowerment Network, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, Mental Health Association in California, San Diego Youth Services, ASPIRAnet, AFSCME and Los Angeles Unified School District. The new law will take effect on January 1, 2013, adding the tax check-off to the 2012 state income tax forms.