Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan’s AB 2626 Will Bring Relief to School Districts Rushing to Close the “Digital Divide” for Students With No Access to Remote Learning

Monday, May 18, 2020

Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan advances AB 2626 out of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation with bi-partisan support to bring financial relief to school districts purchasing critical distance learning tools for students.

Sacramento, CA – Today, by a vote of 10-0, AB 2626 authored by Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), passed out of the Assembly’s Revenue and Taxation Committee. This bill will help cash-strapped school districts remedy the inequitable “Digital Divide” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, by eliminating sales tax on district purchases of tools like laptops and hot spots for students.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the landscape of education. Almost overnight, schools were closed and children were sent home to learn remotely. However, there were few resources available for students who didn’t own a laptop, or have access to the internet,” said Bauer-Kahan. “One in five California students, which is approximately 1.2 million kids, lack broadband or a computer to access distance learning. We must do everything in our power to end the unjust inequity of the digital divide, and ensure we support our ALL of our students,” she finished.

AB 2626 helps close the digital divide by reducing the upfront cost of devices and technology by exempting all school districts from state sales tax, when purchasing equipment associated with distance learning, including such items as laptops, tablets, and mobile hot spots. This bill aims to level the playing field, and bring equitable access to distance learning for all California students. 

“This will allow school districts to make purchases to transition to distance learning without paying upfront costs that could otherwise prevent them from closing the digital divide. We do not know when school instruction will resume as normal, however, we need to act now to ensure our students are able to receive their educations and do not fall behind.” said Bauer-Kahan.

AB 2626 will next be heard in June in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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