Legislature Resumes Busy Schedule, Suspense File Hearings Next Week
On Monday, the Legislature returned to Sacramento from its month-long summer recess, resuming a very busy schedule of hearings and floor debate. With just three weeks remaining in the 2017-18 Legislative Session, time is dwindling for Senators and Assembly Members to finalize amendments and advance their measures.
Notably this week, the Conference Committee on Wildfire Preparedness and Response held two hearings to continue consideration of SB 901 (Dodd) regarding wildfire liability. Tuesday’s hearing focused on maintaining a safe and reliable electric grid, and Thursday’s hearing focused on inverse condemnation and utility liability. The hearings consisted of expert panels on law, insurance, local jurisdictions, and utility operations. The committee did not take action and will likely continue its deliberations next week.
Next Thursday, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees will hold their suspense file hearings where the fate of hundreds of bills will be determined. The Legislature faces a Friday deadline for fiscal committees to meet and report bills to the floor, leaving two weeks of floor session only to round out the two-year legislative session.
Below, we highlight several bills of interest to CHEAC Members. For a full update, this week’s CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.
AB 626 (E. Garcia) as amended on August 6, 2018 – Oppose
AB 626 by Eduardo Garcia will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, August 13. This measure would create a new type of food facility defined as a “microenterprise home kitchen” in the California Retail Food Code and allow the sale of potentially hazardous foods directly to consumers in private homes. These entities would be provided a significant number of exemptions related to enforcement, health, and sanitation provisions.
CHEAC, along with our county colleagues, continues to oppose AB 626 due to concerns about increased risk of foodborne illness and the ability for jurisdictions to inspect and enforce these entities.
Access to Health Services
SB 1125 (Atkins) as amended May 25, 2018 – Support
SB 1125 by Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins was set for hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee this week. The measure would authorize Medi-Cal reimbursement to federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health centers (RHCs) for a maximum of two visits on the same day at a single location if the patient has a medical visit and a mental health or dental visit. Senator Atkins waived presentation, and the measure was placed on the suspense file where it will be heard next week.
Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellness Promotion
AB 1335 (Bonta) as amended July 5, 2018 – Support
AB 1335 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta was set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. The measure would require labels of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to bear the safety warning, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth-decay.” The safety warnings would be required for vending machines, dispensing machines, and points of purchase for any sealed SSBs. Assembly Member Bonta waived presentation, and AB 1335 was placed on the suspense file where it will be heard next week.
Health Coverage/Health Care Reform
AB 11 (McCarty) as amended July 3, 2018 – Support
Assembly Member Kevin McCarty’s AB 11 was set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Assembly Member McCarty waived presentation and the measure was placed on the suspense file where it will be heard next week. AB 11 would require screening services under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) Program to include developmental screening services for individuals zero to three years of age.
AB 2965 (Arambula) as amended May 25, 2018 – Support
AB 2965 by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula was set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. The measure is part of the bill proposal package by the Assembly Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage and would expand full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to all undocumented adults under the age of 26 with income at or below 138 percent FPL. Assembly Member Arambula waived presentation, and the measure was placed on the suspense file where it will be heard next week. Recall, funding for Medi-Cal expansion was not included in the recently-signed 2018-19 Budget Act, setting up an uncertain future for this measure.
SB 974 (Lara) as amended May 25, 2018 – Support
Senator Ricardo Lara’s SB 974 was set for the Assembly Appropriations Committee this week, but Senator Lara waived presentation and the measure was placed on the suspense file. SB 974 would expand full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to all undocumented adults 65 years of age and older with income at or below 138 FPL. Like AB 2965, this measure faces an uncertain fate given funding for Medi-Cal expansion was not included in the 2018-19 Budget Act. SB 974 will be heard on the suspense file next week.
AB 1798 (Chu) as amended March 14, 2018 – Support
Assembly Member Kansen Chu’s AB 1798 now heads to Governor Brown after receiving approval from the Senate this week. The measure would require all school buses operating in California to be equipped with a passenger restraint system by July 2035. CHEAC supports the measure to prevent injury and death among California children and improve safety of school transportation methods.
Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health
AB 2289 (Weber) as amended June 27, 2018 – Support
AB 2289 by Assembly Member Shirley Weber was set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee this week. Assembly Member Weber waived presentation and the measure was placed on the suspense file where it will be heard next week. The measure would set forth accommodation rights of pregnant and parenting pupils, would specify that schools may not require these pupils to complete academic work or other school assignments during their parental leave, and would require schools to provide pupils the opportunity to make up missed academic work upon their return to school.
AB 2785 (Rubio) as amended July 5, 2018 – Support
Assembly Member Blanca Rubio’s AB 2785 was set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee this week where the measure was placed on the suspense file. The measure would require by January 2020 that all California Community Colleges and the California State University provide reasonable accommodations on all campuses for a lactating student to express breastmilk, breastfeed an infant, or address other breastfeeding needs. The measure will be heard on suspense file next week.