Against the urging of his union allies, Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will allow non-medical school employees to administer anti-seizure medication to epileptic students.
Senate Bill 161, by Republican Sen. Bob Huff of Diamond Bar, threw a curveball into typical Capitol politics. It gained support from Democrats throughout the Legislative process even though it was opposed by the state's leading public employee unions, with whom Democrats are usually closely aligned.
"The Governor's signature on SB 161 marks the victorious end to a long and bitter fight to provide the safety net that children with epilepsy desperately need in our schools," Huff said in a statement. "This victory proves that a determined group of parents, doctors, schools and other citizens can overcome even the most powerful of special interests."
School district officials and parents of children with epilepsy supported the bill, saying students need to be able to get anti-seizure medication even if they attend a school without a nurse. Unions representing nurses, teachers and school support staff lobbied against the bill, arguing that schools need to be staffed with nurses to adequately care for children with conditions such as epilepsy.