CHEAC Legislative Committee Finishes Final Bill Review, Legislature Begins Policy Committee Hearings

Yesterday, CHEAC’s Legislative Committee met for its second meeting to review legislative bills introduced thus far in the 2021-22 Legislative Session. Legislative Committee members reviewed over 70 new measures of interest to local health departments. Many of these new legislative measures have now been added to the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart, which is available here. Below, we detail several of those measures:

Cannabis – Medical/Adult Use

AB 1034 (Bloom) as amended March 4, 2021 – WATCH

Assembly Member Richard Bloom has reintroduced a bill to allow for cannabis consumption lounges. This version will allow local jurisdictions to allow the smoking, vaporizing, and ingesting of cannabis or cannabis products on the premises of a licensed cannabis or microbusiness retailer and the preparation or sale of noncannabis food or beverage products so long as certain requirements are met such as age restrictions (over 21), consumption is not visible to the public, and the sale or consumption of alcohol or tobacco is prohibited.

Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellness Promotion

AB 1163 (Nazarian) as introduced February 18, 2021 – SUPPORT

AB 1163 by Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian would repeal the existing statutory prohibition on local jurisdictions’ authority to enact new taxes on groceries, including sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Recall, as part of a 2018 budget agreement struck between the Brown Administration, the Business Roundtable group, and labor organizations, local jurisdictions are prohibited from imposing new taxes on groceries until January 2031. AB 1163 is sponsored by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, California Dental Association, Public Health Advocates, and Public Health Institute.

AB 1197 (Quirk-Silva) as introduced February 18, 2021 – SUPPORT

AB 1197 by Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva would revise nutrition standards for school breakfasts and lunches to be more stringent than current federal requirements related to sodium, whole grains, and added sugars. The measure is sponsored by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association.

SB 464 (Hurtado) as introduced February 16, 2021 – SUPPORT

Senator Melissa Hurtado’s SB 464 would modernize the existing California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) by recasting eligibility criteria to include noncitizens meeting all CalFresh eligibility criteria except for requirements related to immigration status beginning January 2023. SB 464 is sponsored by the California Immigrant Policy Center.

Communicable Disease Control

AB 814 (Levine) as introduced February 16, 2021 – WATCH

AB 814 is a reintroduction of Assembly Member Marc Levine’s AB 661 from last year. This measure requires that any contact tracing data collected not be used, maintained, or disclosed for any purpose other than for facilitating contact tracing efforts. AB 814 also prohibits law enforcement officials from engaging in contact tracing.

SB 744 (Glazer) as introduced February 19, 2021 – OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED

Senator Glazer’s SB 744 would require CDPH to collect and make publicly available, by county, information obtained from healthcare providers on incidences of communicable respiratory viruses collected from the Confidential Morbidity Report (CMR). Individual case reports must include additional data points. CHEAC will be joining our health officer colleagues in requesting an amendment to ensure that CMR data, even when de-identified, remains confidential.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 1400 (Kalra) as introduced February 19, 2021 – SPECIAL INTEREST BILL

Assembly Member Ash Kalra, and joined by several fellow Assembly Members and Senators, has introduced AB 1400 to create the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act, or CalCare, providing health care coverage to all California residents, regardless of their citizenship status. This bill is sponsored by the California Nurses Association.

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Services

AB 1046 (Rubio) as introduced February 18, 2021 – SUPPORT

AB 1046 by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio requires the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency to consult with stakeholders to improve the state and counties’ abilities to draw down Medi-Cal funding for evidence-based maternal-infant and early childhood home visiting encounters. The measure specifies stakeholders to be consulted, including developers of the California Home Visiting and CalWORKs Home Visiting programs, LHD divisions, human services, and behavioral health services, among others. AB 1046 is sponsored by Nurse-Family Partnership.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

AB 805 (Maienschein) as introduced February 16, 2021 – WATCH WITH CONCERNS

This measure from Assembly Member Brian Maienschein would require medical health operational area coordinators (MHOACs) to report specified personal protective equipment (PPE) data weekly to CalOES during any health-related state of emergency in California. In addition, under normal conditions, MHOACs will be required to report PPE information to CalOES on a monthly basis.

SB 448 (Melendez) as introduced February 16, 2021 – OPPOSE

SB 448, authored by Senator Melissa Melendez, would require all emergency orders issued by the state or local governments to be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling public health or safety purpose and be limited in duration. The measure also requires that no emergency order to infringe upon express constitutional rights in a nontrivial manner such as freedom of assembly or religion.

Vital Statistics

AB 751 (Irwin) as introduced February 16, 2021 – SUPPORT

AB 751, by Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, proposed to delete the sunset provision in statute allowing local registrars to accept an electronic acknowledgement, sworn under penalty of perjury, that the requester of a marriage, birth, or death certificate is an authorized person. Also adds additional security requirements adhering to national standards. This measure is sponsored by the County Clerks Association.

Meanwhile, Senate policy committees began in earnest meeting to hear their bills this week. As we’ve noted in previous updates, policy committees are only able to meet in a few existing large hearing rooms given distancing restrictions and their respective legislative chambers. Of interest to CHEAC members, three legislative bills CHEAC supports were heard in the Senate Health Committee this week and are listed below:

Access to Health Services

SB 316 (Eggman) as introduced February 4, 2021 – SUPPORT

Senator Eggman’s SB 316, that authorizes reimbursement for a maximum of two visits on the same day at the same federally qualified health center (FQHC) or rural health center (RHC) under certain conditions, passed out of the Senate Health Committee on a 11-0 vote. The measure now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

SB 56 (Durazo) as amended March 1, 2021 – SUPPORT

SB 56, by Senator Maria Elena Durazo, would expand, effective July 2022, Medi-Cal to all undocumented adults 65 years of age and older with incomes at or below 138% FPL, subject to a state budget appropriation. After lengthy testimony from a myriad of advocacy groups in support of this bill, SB 56 was approved by the Senate Health Committee on a 9-2 vote and moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB 326 (Pan) as introduced February 5, 2021 – SUPPORT

SB 326, authored by Senator Pan, eliminates all federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) statutory “tie-backs,” and codifies ACA health insurance reform provisions in CA law such as the ten essential health benefits and prohibitions on imposing any pre-existing conditions requirements. This measure moved out of Committee on a 11-0 vote and moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee.