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Assemblymember Connolly Announces Winner of Legislative Contest

“There Ought to be a Law” winning idea details specific evacuation protocols for schools in high-risk wildfire zones.

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) announced the conclusion of his second official “There Ought to be a Law” contest. The "There Ought to Be a Law" contest allows residents of Assembly District 12 (AD12) to propose new state legislation that could improve the lives of 38.9 million Californians, particularly those in the North Bay. After reviewing over 300 submissions from district residents, the winning idea was selected from Fairfax resident Max Edwards, whose submission highlighted the lack of evacuation and shelter-in-place protocols for schools located in high risk wildfire and Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) zones.

“Reading through hundreds of submissions with new bill ideas, the second year of my ‘There Ought to be a Law’ highlighted the fantastic ideas and issues that our community is focused on in the North Bay,” said Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael). “I’m excited to have selected a bill that will enhance the safety of our community and ensure that our school districts and children are protected from the threat of wildfires. I want to thank everyone who participated in this year’s contest and I look forward to hosting this contest again, next year.”

“This open competition was a great idea by Assemblymember Connolly and his office, and I am honored and excited to have my submission chosen,” said contest winner Max Edwards. “As a state and society we are continually adapting to prevent and respond to the threat of wildfire. If enacted, this law would help the State further along that path, prompting all schools to be as prepared as possible and prevent catastrophe.”

California schools in high risk wildfire zones can sometimes lack proper evacuation procedures for students. In certain cases, particularly during catastrophic incidents, wildfires can move more quickly than school districts are able to notify parents and facilitate an effective evacuation. In the town of Paradise, the 2018 Camp Fire moved through the district so quickly that schools had not received an evacuation notice before faculty had to facilitate their own evacuation using buses and personal vehicles. This natural disaster highlighted the need for comprehensive evacuation and shelter-in-place protocols for schools in high wildfire risk areas.

The contest-winning idea addresses gaps in evacuation protocols by mandating that all public and private schools in high risk wildfire zones and WUI zones establish comprehensive wildfire protocols for evacuations and shelters-in-place. These recommended protocols include working with the local fire department to confirm annually that all defensible space and building hardening has been achieved and maintained, appropriate refugee shelter for students has been established, and communication and evacuation plans have been drawn in the event of an early notice evacuation warning.

Stay tuned for Assemblymember Damon Connolly’s full final bill package, with more new legislation to be announced throughout the week.


Assembymember Connolly represents the entirety of Marin County and Southern Sonoma County