Lawmakers Pass Senator Dodd's Bill Combating Fake News with Media Literacy
SACRAMENTO – Lawmakers on Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill from Senator Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to encourage media literacy in public schools, ensuring students have the tools to succeed in the digital age.
“This bill is about empowering students to make informed decisions,” Senator Dodd said. “And frankly, it’s about safeguarding the future of our democracy.”
Senate Bill 830, which is coauthored by a bipartisan group of legislators, was inspired by a recent Stanford study that found that 82 percent of middle school students struggled to distinguish advertisements from news stories.
It would require the state Department of Education to make available to school districts on its website a list of resources and instructional materials on media literacy, including professional development programs for teachers. The department would have to comply by July 1, 2019. It passed the Assembly Monday on a 55-0 vote.
“The rise of fake and misleading news is deeply concerning,” Senator Dodd said. “By giving students the proper tools to analyze the media they consume, we can empower them to make informed decisions.”
Center for Media Literacy President and Chief Executive Officer Tessa Jolls applauded the bill’s passage. She said it represents the culmination of a 30-year effort on the part of the center and advocates globally to see that all people have the opportunity to gain the skills needed to navigate today’s global media world.
“This represents a pivotal moment for education in the state of California,” Jolls said. “Media Literacy is a necessary foundation for learning and living in a global media culture. SB 830 will enable California to take its place as a leader in providing the skills of discernment that all citizens need as both producers and consumers of media, and participants in the virtual world.”
SB 830 passed the Senate in May. It returns to the Senate this week for a concurrence vote before heading to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd