California Students To Become Lifesavers Under New Law Signed By Governor Brown

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO) – California is poised to create a new generation of lifesavers thanks to Assembly Bill 1719 by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona). Today Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation that will require high school districts to include CPR instruction in health education classes required for graduation.    

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 326,000 people experience cardiac arrest outside the hospital each year, and sadly, only 10 percent survive. Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.

“After two years of hard work, I’m thrilled that this bill will now become law,” said Rodriguez. “I am tremendously grateful to Governor Brown for his support of CPR education. Knowing how to perform CPR will empower students to act in an emergency and it may even inspire them to pursue careers in healthcare.”

AB 1719 received bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly and has a wide range of support including the California School Boards Association, California Professional Firefighters, SEIU and the City of Los Angeles. The legislation is co-sponsored by the American Heart Association and American Red Cross who have led the effort to pass similar legislation in 34 other states.

“I am so glad I learned CPR at a young age because it helped save my friend’s life,” said 13 year old Skylar Berry, an American Heart Association volunteer who learned CPR at a camp organized by her local Sacramento Metro Fire department. “We should all be prepared to act in the case of an emergency and I’m happy other students will now get the chance to learn CPR.”

Berry was at a birthday party when a group playing in the pool realized one of their friends was at the bottom. As they brought him to the surface, Skylar, who was 11 at the time, remembered the CPR training she’d received and immediately sprang into action. Since then, she’s been a strong advocate for teaching CPR to her fellow classmates and created the “Stayin’ Alive” club at her school to convey the importance of learning the lifesaving skill.

“We want to express our gratitude to Governor Brown for signing this bill, which will literally put lifesaving skills into the hands of California students before they leave high school,” said Gary Strong, CEO of the American Red Cross Gold Country Region “They will carry these skills into colleges and workplaces, homes and playing fields, making our community more prepared than ever before to respond to cardiac arrest in the critical moments before help arrives. We thank Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez for authoring this important piece of legislation, and we thank Governor Brown for setting in motion this new educational component that will have an impact for generations.”

Instruction in CPR will begin in the 2017-2018 school year.


Assemblymember Rodriguez is Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Local Emergency Preparedness, and Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management.  He represents the 52nd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona and portions of unincorporated Fontana