- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2017

Russia’s involvement in last year’s U.S. presidential race is one step closer to being taught in California high schools upon the advancement Wednesday of a state lawmaker’s so-called “Pravda Act.”

California Assemblyman Marc Levine, a Democrat, first introduced the bill back in February to ensure high schoolers in the state are properly taught about last year’s White House contest, particularly with respect to the Russian government’s reported role in influencing its outcome.

The proposal cleared its first major legislative hurdle this week after passing the Assembly Education Committee by a 4-1 vote Wednesday, effectively sending the bill to the legislature’s Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

If approved by the full legislature and signed into law, Assembly Bill 838 will require high schools in California to incorporate Russia’s election meddling into future curriculum.

“The 2016 presidential election was unlike any other in American history,” Mr. Levine said, Courthouse News reported Wednesday. “We must ensure students in California are aware of actual and potential threats of hostile foreign governments’ attempts to influence their thoughts and opinions about our nation’s leaders.”

The Russian government oversaw an influence campaign last year that sought to interfere in November’s White House election and hinder the chances of former Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton with the aid of state-sponsored hackers and an international propaganda apparatus, according to the U.S. intelligence community. Moscow has denied the allegations. 

While the operation remains the subject of no fewer than three federal investigations, however, Mr. Levine said students nonetheless need to be properly educated on the historic election.

“We considered how many things the Legislature has weighed in on, like President Obama being elected, or environmental education, or the Chinese Exclusion Act,” the assemblyman said, according to Courthouse News. “I think this takes a much less intrusive role in education for our students than those other important things we did weigh in on.”

“Usually, winners write the history books, but we have an obligation to teach the truth. On a daily basis, President Trump engages in a misinformation campaign and repeatedly lies to the public,” Mr. Levine said previously. “In this case, it is important for history to reflect the facts. We must make sure students in California and across the United States receive accurate information about the 2016 Presidential election.”

California Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, a Republican, cast the lone dissenting vote Wednesday, Courthouse News reported. Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a Democrat, abstained from voting.

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