CA NORML Legislative News

Schwarzenegger Vetoes Bill to Prohibit Random Drug Testing in Schools

Sacramento Sept 2004: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill to ban random drug testing in public schools. The bill, SB 1386 by Sen. John Vasconcellos, had passed the legislature with bipartisan support and the backing of the PTA, ACLU, and Attorney General Lockyer.

In his veto message, the Governor said that the matter was one which should be settled by local school districts. "I cannot support legislation that eliminates the ability of local school districts to make decisions based on the needs and values of their community," he said.

The veto left Schwarzenegger 0 for 2 on marijuana-reform measures this year. Earlier this session, he vetoed a "clean-up" bill to correct drating errors in SB 420 that erroneously appear to limit the amount of medical marijuana patients can grow under Prop. 215. Schwarzenegger did sign two other drug reform bills, one to allow over-the-counter sales of hypodermic needles and another to restore food stamps to felony drug possession offenders.

Legislature Votes to Prohibit Random Drug Testing of Students (Aug. 2004)

SACRAMENTO Aug. 2004. The California legislature has passed a bill to prohibit random drug testing of school students. The bill, SB 1386 by Sen. John Vasconcellos and Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, allows pupils to be tested only where there is reasonable suspicion that they have been using drugs. (Text of SB 1386)

The action puts California on a collision course with the Bush administration, which has been pushing for random student drug testing. Deputy Drug Czar Andrea Barthwell came to Sacramento to testify against SB 1386, comparing drug use to tuberculosis. ³Imagine the response of parents if they learned that school administrators knew of a case of TB in the school and did nothing to prevent its spread,² she told the Assembly education committee.

The California PTA, the NAACP, and Attorney General Lockyer lined up in support of the bill, which passed the committee with bipartisan support. Assemblyman Todd Spitzer (R ­ Orange), a former schoolteacher, said that teachers could tell which students had drug problems. ³In a random testing environment, youıre precluded from singling that student out,² he said, ³I still live in a country where my son canıt be pulled out of class when he hasnıt done anything to raise suspicions.²

SB 1386 passed the Assembly 51-25 and the State Senate 27 ­ 10. Supporters are urged to ask Gov. Schwarzenegger to sign it. Governor's public comment line: 916-445-2841 FAX 916:445:4633 .

CA NORML 2215-R Market St. #278 San Francisco CA 94114 (415) 563-5858