The state Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved SB 725, which would eliminate the requirement for class of 2015 seniors to pass the California High School Exit Exam.
Some seniors who were planning to take the exam in July are in limbo after the California Department of Education abruptly cancelled it.
The bill, which originally called for the development of new visual and performing arts content standards, this week was gutted and amended by its author, Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Oakland. The action will replace language in the original bill with new wording exempting the students from the requirement to pass the exam to receive a diploma.
“She wanted to put this forward because of the 5,000 students who can’t graduate because they can’t take a test that doesn’t exist anymore,” said Larry Levin, a spokesman for Hancock. “That’s why it was amended into another bill of hers.”
Levin said he expects the full Assembly to vote on the bill Thursday. Since it includes an urgency clause, it would require two-thirds approval to pass.
But Levin said he doesn’t expect that to be a problem, since all Republicans on the Appropriations Committee approved it and there was no public opposition.
If approved by the Assembly, Levin said the bill would head to the Senate for approval on Monday and could reach Gov. Jerry Brown as early as Monday afternoon.
“So, theoretically, he could sign it Monday night and it could be law at midnight,” Levin said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Senators Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Carol Liu, D-Canada Flintridge are principal co-authors of the bill, along with Assemblymen David Chiu and Phil Ting, who are both San Francisco Democrats. Liu has also authored SB 172, which would suspend the exit exam through 2017-18.