Policy Committees build momentum

Policy committees continue to build momentum as they heard a number of bills this week. Looking ahead, fiscal bills must be heard in the policy committee of their house of origin by April 28, while the deadline for non-fiscal bills is May 12. The legislature will leave for Spring Recess on April 6 and returning to Sacramento on April 17.

Legislative actions on bills of particular interest this week are noted below. Other pertinent bill updates are included in our bill chart.

Tobacco Control

AB 725 (Levine) as introduced on 2/15/17 – Support

AB 725 by Assembly Member Levine was heard in the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee this week. The measure would ban smoking on a state coastal beaches and state parks, in addition to banning the disposal of cigar or cigarette waste on those premises as well. There was considerable discussion surrounding whether the measure was too much of an imposition on individual freedoms at places intended for recreation. Additionally, members questioned whether cigars should be included in the measure, given that the litter is predominately caused by cigarettes. The measure did pass with 8 ‘aye’ votes, 4 ‘no’ votes and 3 abstentions. AB 725 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Health Care Coverage

 AB 340 (Arambula) as introduced on 2/7/17 – Support

The Assembly Health Committee heard AB 340 by Assembly Member Arambula, which would require screenings provided under Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) to screen for trauma. The measure received support by several organizations including CWDA and HOAC and was unanimously passed by the Committee. AB 340 now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Dental Health Services

 AB 15 (Maienschein) as amended 3/23/17 – Support

AB 15 by Assembly Member Maienschein would, in FY 2017-18, require the Department of Health Care Services to double Denti-Cal provider reimbursement rates for the 15 most common prevention, treatment, and oral evaluation services. The measure was heard in Assembly Health Committee this week and was unanimously passed with bipartisan support. The measure now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.