SACRAMENTO—The California State Assembly was silent as they watched Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, present Senate Bill 210 simultaneously in American Sign Language (ASL) and English at the September 3 meeting. 

“I’m a little rusty in my ASL, so bear with me,” Gallagher began with a laugh.

“This bill will help establish language benchmarks for Deaf kids from birth through five years old,” continued Gallagher. “This bill is important to me because I have two Deaf brothers. And I think it’s important to all of us because we want to ensure opportunity for all kids.”

Watch the full video of his presentation below:

A round of applause followed Gallagher’s short speech, and the bill passed with unanimous support from all 75 fellow assemblymembers. SB-210 in its third revision is now awaiting deliberation by the Senate.

The bill was originally introduced back on February 11 by Senator Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, and most recently amended by the Senate on March 24.

The official summary of SB-210 is currently as follows: “The department’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing unit, the California School for the Deaf, Fremont, and the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, shall jointly select language benchmarks from existing standardized norms for purposes of monitoring and tracking deaf and hard-of-hearing children’s expressive and receptive language acquisition and developmental stages toward English literacy.” To read the full text of SB-210, click here.

If passed in the Senate, SB-210 will be added to the California Education Code.