A Win for T1D in California: Senate Bill 97 Signed Into Law


Senate Bill 97 began in 2019 as Senate Bill 138 which Senator Richard Roth authored and EASE T1D partnered with Rock Star, Bret Michaels.  Bret was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 6 years old so diabetes awareness and education campaigns such as this are a top priority for him.

Our nonprofit, EASE T1D, has been working for over two years alongside Rock Star, Bret Michaels and California State Senator Richard Roth to bring this bill to fruition.

On March 26, 2019, EASE T1D Co-Founder, Michelle Thornburg, daughter Sierra, myself (Debbie George, founder and CEO), son Dylan, and daughter Delaney, traveled to our California State Capitol. On March 27, 2019, Bret, myself and Senator Ted Gaines all testified at the Senate Education Committee, on behalf of SB 138 and the importance of having type 1 diabetes information given to parents/guardians of students in K-12 California schools.  SB 138 would have required the governing board of a school district and the governing body of a charter school to work with their schools that maintain any of kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, to identify the most appropriate methods of informing parents and guardians of pupils, of type 1 diabetes and to implement the identified methods by January 1, 2021.  By imposing additional requirements on school districts and charter schools, the bill would have imposed a state-mandated local program.

Although the bill passed through many committees, it sadly did not pass in appropriations due to costs associated with the implementation of the bill.  As you can imagine, we were all devastated but we were not giving up!

In December of 2020, Senator Richard Roth assigned the bill a new number; Senate Bill 97, and introduced the bill once again.  The bill had a few amendments made, all which we were in agreement to. We held our breath as the bill passed through each committee. When it passed through appropriations, we were overjoyed to say the least; now the question… will Governor Newsom sign the bill?  The bill was presented to the Governor on September 9, 2021.  Governor Newsom had until October 10th to make his decision.  We of course were on pins and needles awaiting this decision. On Friday, October 8, 2021, we got the exciting news… Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 97 into law as part of a historic $123.9 billion K-12 package!

This has been quite the journey for all of us and we are so thankful for the support we have received from so many sending in letters of support.  The American Diabetes Association, Beyond Type 1, California School Boards Association, the Riverside County Department of Education, and the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools all showed their support for this bill.  Now, as of January 2023, information on type 1 diabetes will be available through the California Department of Education internet website, to parents and guardians of K-12 students when first enrolled in elementary school. Information provided to parents and guardians may include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

  1. A description of type 1 diabetes.
  2. A description of the risk factors and warning signs associated with type 1 diabetes.
  3. A recommendation regarding those pupils displaying warning signs associated with type 1 diabetes that the parents or guardians of those pupils should immediately consult with the pupil’s primary care provider to determine if immediate screening for type 1 diabetes is appropriate.
  4. A description of the screening process for type 1 diabetes and the implications of test results.
  5. A recommendation that, following a type 1 diagnosis, parents or guardians should consult with the pupil’s primary care provider to develop an appropriate treatment plan, which may include consultation with and examination by a specialty care provider, including, but not limited to, a properly qualified endocrinologist.

Bill verbiage can be found at this link

We are especially grateful to Senator Richard Roth for authoring this important piece of legislation as well as to Bret Michaels for partnering with us in advocating for awareness and education through our California schools.  Our hope is that other states will follow California’s lead.

If you would like more information on this bill and our journey to get it signed into law, please visit www.easet1d.org

WRITTEN BY Debbie George, Founder & CEO, EASE T1D, POSTED 11/30/21, UPDATED 12/09/22

EASE T1D is the joint effort of two mothers Debbie George and Michelle Thornburg who have children with type 1 diabetes. Through our over 25 years of combined experience, they have come to recognize areas of significant need and have joined forces to apply their knowledge and passion in the effort to “EASE” type 1 diabetes (T1D) through education, awareness, support and empowerment.