California Legislature Returns from Summer Recess, Four Weeks Remain in Session

The California Legislature returned to Sacramento on Monday from its month-long summer recess, resuming bill negotiations, committee hearings, and floor deliberations. Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees face an August 30 deadline to hear and report fiscal bills to their respective floors. Appropriations Committees are expected to hold suspense file hearings the last week of August just prior to the Senate and Assembly entering two weeks of floor sessions only.

Looking ahead, the last day to amend bills is September 6, and the final day of this year’s session is September 13. Lawmakers face several extremely busy weeks ahead, particularly with a number of high-profile issues remaining outstanding, including labor, homelessness, wildfires, and vaccinations.

Below, we highlight several actions of interest from this week. For a full update on bills, the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.

Access to Health Services

AB 1494 (Aguiar-Curry) as amended July 11, 2019 – SUPPORT

Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s AB 1494 was set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee for Monday. The measure would require Medi-Cal reimbursement for telehealth, telephonic, or off-site services when delivered by an enrolled community clinic, including city or county clinics exempted from licensure, or fee-for-service Medi-Cal provider during or up to 90 days after an expiration of a state of emergency, as deemed appropriate by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry waived presentation and the measure was placed on the suspense file where it will be acted upon at a later date.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

SB 438 (Hertzberg) as amended July 11, 2019 – NEUTRAL

SB 438 by Senator Robert Hertzberg originally sought to prohibit local EMS agencies from contracting with private entities for EMS 9-1-1 dispatch services and reduce local EMS agency medical control. After months of negotiations, the measure, as amended on July 11, now allows local EMS agencies to continue private contractual arrangements but allows a public safety agency to operate medical dispatch for their own jurisdiction. In addition, recent amends further clarifies that EMS medical dispatch, including call processing, falls within the medical control of the local EMS medical director

CHEAC, along with our county colleague organizations CSAC, UCC, and RCRC, has been extensively engaged with the author and sponsors of the measure to negotiate amendments to ameliorate county concerns. Based on those negotiations, CHEAC, CSAC, UCC, and RCRC this week have moved from an oppose to a neutral position on the measure.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 1004 (McCarty) as amended July 8, 2019 – SUPPORT

Assembly Member Kevin McCarty’s AB 1004 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. The measure was set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday. However, Assembly Member McCarty waived presentation and the measure was placed on the suspense file where it will be acted upon at a later date.

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Services (MCAH)

AB 577 (Eggman) as amended August 14, 2019 – SUPPORT

AB 577 by Assembly Member Susan Talamantes Eggman was set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday. The measure would permit the completion of covered services associated with a maternal mental health condition for up to 12 months by a terminated or nonparticipating healthcare provider. The individual would be required to provide written documentation of a maternal mental health diagnosis to their health plan or insurer. AB 577 was directly reported to the Senate Floor via Senate Rule 28.8 on Monday.

Tobacco Control

SB 39 (Hill) as amended April 10, 2019 – SUPPORT

SB 39 by Senator Jerry Hill would require mail-order and online tobacco products to be packed in a container with specified conspicuous labeling and require the signature of a person 21 years of age or older upon or before completing the delivery of the products. SB 39 was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday and unanimously advanced to the Assembly Floor on an 18-0 vote.