Legislature Continues Policy and Informational Hearings
This week, the California State Senate and Assembly continued to convene policy committee hearings on legislative bills, as well as informational hearings on a number of subjects, including those related to COVID-19. The Legislature will convene again next week before taking a one-week spring recess during the week of March 29.
Numerous CHEAC-tracked measures continue to make their way through the legislative process. The CHEAC Legislative Committee convened again this week and selected a handful of additional bills for tracking, which are now detailed on this week’s CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart. Below, we highlight several bills of interest:
Communicable Disease Control
AB 714 (Maienschein) as amended March 11, 2021 – WATCH
Assembly Member Brian Maienschein’s AB 714 would require specified congregate living facilities, including intermediate care facilities and nursing facilities, to report communicable disease-related information to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and to inform patients or residents about communicable disease cases within their facilities.
AB 1064 (Fong) as amended March 15, 2021 – WATCH
AB 1064 by Assembly Member Vince Fong would authorize a pharmacist to independently initiate and administer any vaccine approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for persons three years of age or older.
AB 1388 (Low) as amended March 11, 2021 – WATCH WITH CONCERNS
AB 1388 by Assembly Member Evan Low would require the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to report COVID-19 death data by zip code on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. CDPH would also be required to create a uniform dashboard for use by local health departments in reporting COVID-19 data on their public websites. CHEAC took a ‘Watch with Concerns’ position on the measure due to privacy concerns with reporting data by zip codes, particularly in zip codes with small populations.
SB 102 (Melendez) as amended March 17, 2021 – OPPOSE
Senator Melissa Melendez’s SB 102 would prohibit the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) from revoking a licensing or imposing a fine or penalty for failure to comply with any COVID-19 emergency order unless DCA or ABC can prove that the lack of compliance resulted in transmission of COVID-19. SB 102 will be heard in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee on Monday, March 22. This week, CHEAC took an oppose position on SB 102.
SB 682 (Rubio) as amended March 10, 2021 – SUPPORT
Senator Susan Rubio’s SB 682 would require the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency, in collaboration with specified state entities, to develop and implement a plan that establishes targets to reduce racial disparities in health outcomes by 50 percent by December 2030. CHHS must develop a plan to reach reduction targets in chronic health conditions affecting children, including, but not limited to, asthma, diabetes, dental caries, depression, and vaping-related diseases. SB 682 will be heard in the Senate Health Committee on April 7.
Below, a brief roundup of legislative hearings that occurred this week is provided:
Assembly Sub. 6 Assesses COVID-19 Expenditures, Vaccine Distribution Needs
On Thursday, the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight, and Program Evaluation convened an informational hearing on the state’s continued COVID-19 response, including vaccine distribution and anticipated federal support from the 2021 American Rescue Plan. Thursday’s hearing featured Government Operations Agency Secretary Yolanda Richardson and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Chief Deputy Director Susan Fanelli to provide an overview of vaccine distribution and administration activities, governance under the state’s third-party administrator (TPA) vaccine network, and equity in vaccine allocations and administration.
The hearing additionally covered the Newsom Administration’s COVID-19 expenditures to date and anticipated federal funds to be received by California as part of the recently enacted American Rescue Plan. Representatives from the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) provided subcommittee members with presentations on the subjects and responded to numerous budget- and fiscal-related questions relative to the state’s continued COVID-19 response.
Assembly Continues Review of CalAIM Components
Following a similar hearing last week, the Assembly Health Committee and Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday convened a joint informational hearing to explore the Medi-Cal eligibility, benefits, and managed care components of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) Initiative proposed by the Newsom Administration. Tuesday’s hearing focused on a series of policy questions relative to CalAIM “in lieu of services” (ILOS) and enhanced care management (ECM) services envisioned under the new proposal.
The hearing additionally covered CalAIM’s population health management (PHM) component, standardized Medi-Cal benefits, and standardized Medi-Cal eligibility. Representatives from the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), health plans, and consumer and stakeholder groups were witnesses to the multipart hearing on Tuesday and provided input on various elements of the sweeping CalAIM proposal.
Assembly Sub. 1 Examines Human Services Investments
The Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 additionally convened a hearing on Wednesday to examine human services-related investments under the jurisdiction of the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency, the California Department of Aging (CDA), the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS), and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). The hearing covered various anti-poverty investments, racial equity initiatives, homelessness services, and the state’s Master Plan for Aging. Representatives from the Newsom Administration, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA), the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and the California Budget and Policy Center, among others, appeared before the subcommittee.
Reopening of Sports Examined by Assembly Committee
The Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media on Wednesday convened an informational hearing to review the safe and equitable reopening of sports within the state. The hearing consisted of four panels that explored guidelines governing California sports, plans for safe reopening of sports in California, professional sports activities, and youth and adult recreational sports.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan presented to the committee on the state’s COVID-19 sports guidance, and numerous representatives from various sports entities and organizations appeared before the committee to share their pandemic experience and information on continued activities in ensuring the safe continuation of sporting activities in California.