Students Critical of Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles have been getting some attention from local, state, and national levels. Companies such as Google, Uber, and General Motors have begun testing this new technology. LegiSchool’s Town Hall on autonomous vehicles gave students the opportunity to voice their concerns and ask challenging questions to a panel of knowledgeable experts.

In order to prepare the students for the topic, they were given a curriculum guide. Included in the guide is a thorough introduction to autonomous vehicles; as well as activities for students to start thinking critically about this emerging technology. These curriculum guides can also serve as a great tool for students who are unable to attend the Town Halls in person.

During the Town Hall panel, most students were hesitant to embrace autonomous vehicles, and this was voiced through their critical questions of the panelists. The dialogue gave the policy experts some ideas on what students worried about most (liability, ethical dilemmas, safety and the future of licensing). By the end of the panel, some students left with a different view, while others continued to voice concerns.

After lunch, students were welcomed by Capitol staffers and led on tours throughout the Capitol. Students had the privilege of visiting the Assembly and Senate Galleries, as well as locating their member’s offices.

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Many thanks to our panelists that participated (left to right):

  • Captain Sean Duryee, Commander of Commercial Vehicle Section for the California CHP
  • Lieutenant Reggie Williams, Government Relations for the California CHP
  • Juanita Martinez, Western Regional Manager for General Motors
  • Brian Soublet, Chief Counsel and Deputy Director for the California DMV

And a special shout out to our schools that traveled from across Northern and Central California to attend: Kingsburg High School, San Lorenzo High School and Madera South High School. We hope to be working with even more schools in the future!

Interested in participating in our Town Halls or utilizing our free curriculum guides? Email to sign up for updates.


Engaging Students in Tobacco Policy

December’s Town Hall meeting was a success! Approximately 120 students from across Northern California gathered at the Tsakopoulous Library Galleria a few blocks from the Capitol. Our Interim Director Elisia Hoffman served as the moderator, while the students and panelists critically asked questions of one another relating to tobacco policy.

Our distinguished panelists answered a variety of students’ questions, ranging from new policies on e-cigarettes, to perspectives on the effect of cigarette taxation. Panelists also brought their own questions and asked students to think about the changing culture of youth’s views on tobacco. The purpose of LegiSchool’s Town Halls is to engage students in matters of public policy that are important to Californians. And I felt this Town Hall was a perfect example of LegiSchool’s mission, vision and intent.

Students were given a curriculum guide to deepen their understanding of the topic. Our guides are a great way to bring current and state issues into the classroom. They can also be of good use to students who are unable to attend the Town Hall in person.

In addition to the Town Hall meeting, students had the opportunity to be given a tour by alumni Capitol Fellows and visit the Senate Floor. A lucky group of students were also able to visit their members’ offices and speak with a Legislative Director!


Many thanks to the engaging group of panelists:

• Dr. Angelo Williams, Director of the California Black Health Network
• Kim Chen, Government Affairs Manager at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
• Madeleine Cooper, Legislative Director for Assemblymember Harper
• David Wolfe, Legislative Director at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

And shout out to the participating high schools: Cordova High, Mt. Eden, JFK (Fremont) and Elk Creek Jr/Sr High School. We are looking forward to our February Town Hall meeting on driverless cars!

Civics in Action!

The topic of raising the minimum wage has received renewed attention at the local, state and national level as of late. Politicians, economists, labor unions, business owners, workers, taxpayers and governments all have a stake in this issue. So, at our December Town Hall Meeting, we turned to students to hear their thoughts, opinions and concerns about raising the minimum wage in California.

Our Curriculum Guide helped students learn all about the topic before they attended the meeting. Included in the guide are activities for students and critical thinking questions that help our young people wade through the issues and understand what minimum wage laws are all about.

At the Town Hall we heard incredibly insightful questions from the kids, about income inequality, impacts on small businesses and costs to consumers. Students were able to put into practice the things they learned in the classroom, about inflation, supply and demand.


Our esteemed panel of experts handled the student questions beautifully. This Town Hall was the perfect example of how LegiSchool connects students and state leaders to have dialogue about important policy matters.

Thank you Senator McGuire, Assemblymember McCarty, Seth Kerstein from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Matthew Sutton from the California Restaurant Association for your participation. And a big shout out to the schools who attended: Cordova, Kennedy, Madera and Marysville High Schools. Looking forward to our next Town Hall, which is all about regulating sugary drinks.


Students Learn About the Creative Economy

At our October Town Hall, 150 students gathered together at the State Capitol to discuss the creative economy in California. Our distinguished panelists answered a variety of student questions that ranged in topic from equal access to art education, available jobs in the creative industries, the best platform to teach creativity, and much, much more. The purpose of LegiSchool Town Halls is to engage students in matters of public policy that are important to Californians. Students learned about the topic in advance using this curriculum guide. Our curriculum guides are a great way to bring current issues into the classroom, even if you are unable to attend the Town Hall in person.

OLP Senate Floor 1

In addition to the Town Hall meeting, participating students received a tour of our beautiful, historic Capitol building. A lucky group of students even visited the Senate Floor! Many thanks to the participating panelists:

  • Dr. Richard Pan, State Senator
  • Mary Beth Barber, California Arts Council
  • Andrea Deveau, TechNet
  • Dr. L. Steven Winlock, Sacramento County Office of Education

Thank you also to the participating high schools: Academy of Our Lady of the Peace, George Washington Carver, Rio Americano, and Sacramento New Technology.

Did you miss this Town Hall? Don’t worry…our meetings are televised by The California Channel so you can watch the event here. Happy learning!