Davis Signs Legislation To Reduce Student Backpack Weight
Gov. Gray Davis (D) this week signed a bill (AB 2532) to help reduce the weight of student backpacks, the Contra Costa Times reports (LaMar, Contra Costa Times, 10/1). The law, sponsored by Assembly member Rod Pacheco (R-Riverside) and Sen. Jackie Speier (D-Daly City), will require the Board of Education to develop and distribute a voluntary survey to school districts to find "creative, cost-effective options to reduce excess backpack weight," such as offering textbooks on CD or providing students with an additional set of books to keep at home (California Healthline, 5/29). The law also calls for the board to establish a maximum weight for elementary and middle school students' textbooks by July 1, 2004. Pacheco said, "This bill is a major step forward in protecting our children from unnecessary spinal injuries and lifelong back problems" (Contra Costa Times, 10/1). Davis said in his signing message, "The mere adoption of maximum weight standards by the [education board] will not resolve the issues of excessive backpack weight and the long-term health of pupils. Rapid advances in electronic technology demand that we look beyond ... providing a set of textbooks to each student" (Office of the Governor release, 9/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.