Among a dozen bills signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday was a law that made California the first state to mandate later start times for public high schools and middle schools.
Under the new legislation, high schools would be restricted from starting the day before 8:30 a.m. and middle schools would not be able to start class before 8 a.m. beginning with the 2022-23 school year.
Teachers and school districts opposed the law, arguing the decision on when to start school should be left to local officials.
But the bill's author, state Sen. Anthony Portantino, said Newsom's signature "put our children's health and welfare ahead of institutional bureaucracy resistant to change."
"Shifting to a later start time will improve academic performance and save lives because it helps our children be healthier," Portantino said.
The law does not apply to optional early classes, known as "zero periods" or to schools in some of the state's rural districts.
A legislative analysis of the bill Newsom signed into law noted studies about the impacts of school start times over the past 15 years have had "wide variation in conclusions."
The San Diego Unified School District adopted a resolution in February to push back school start times beginning with the 2020-21 academic year. The plan is already being tested at three local schools: La Jolla High School, the School of Creative and Performing Arts in San Diego, and Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla.