Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee file

Senate Continuing Resolution 86 presses several goals for schoolbooks, including that their poundage in a backpack not exceed 10 percent of a child’s weight.

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    Democrat John A. Pérez has regained the lead over Democrat Betty Yee as election officials continue to count June 3 primary election ballots for state controller. As of Friday night, Pérez led by 322 votes, 852,243 to 851,921. Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, has locked up the top spot in the Nov. 4 general election runoff. Yee, a Board of Equalization member, and Pérez, the former Assembly speaker, are each hoping to finish second and challenge her.

    – Bee Capitol Bureau

The Buzz: Lawmakers revisit easing student backpack burden

Published: Friday, Jun. 13, 2014 - 10:59 pm

Lawmakers weigh in on size of children’s schoolbooks

A particularly weighty issue came before the Assembly Education Committee this week.

“It’s very heavy,” testified Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego.

Hueso’s Senate Continuing Resolution 86 deals with an issue most important to constituents who are still too young to vote: the overly bulky backpacks burdening many students. It’s not a new issue. Ten years ago, lawmakers required the state school board to adopt weight standards for textbooks.

This year’s measure, sponsored by the California Chiropractic Association, underlines the health risks posed by overloaded packs that carry not just textbooks but laptops, musical instruments and other tools of modern learning.

Schools should work with parents to ease the load, the resolution urges. It offers pointers – students should use both straps (eschewing the cooler one-strap carry), teachers could look to handouts or digital textbooks, and backpacks should weigh at most 10 percent of a kid’s weight.

“Putting undue stress on their bodies can lead to conditions that will follow them for the rest of their lives,” Hueso said.

– Jeremy B. White

Worth repeating

“As long as I am in Congress, I will do whatever I can to ensure that not one dollar of federal funds is directed to this project.”

REP. KEVIN McCARTHY, Bakersfield Republican, on California’s high-speed rail project.



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