Legislative Hearings Begin in Earnest, CHEAC Sponsored Bill Advances
This week the California State Legislature started back up a flurry of policy committees after their Spring Recess. All bills introduced in their house of origin with any fiscal implications must be heard in their policy committees by April 30 and non-fiscal bills must be heard by May 7.
Below, we highlight several bills of interest to CHEAC Members. Our full CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.
Public Health Infrastructure
AB 240 (Rodriguez) as introduced January 13, 2021 – SPONSOR
AB 240 by Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez was heard in the Assembly Health Committee this week. This measure is sponsored by CHEAC, HOAC, and SEIU California and also endorsed by UCC, RCRC, and Public Health Advocates. Recall this bill would require the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to contract with an appropriate and qualified entity to conduct an evaluation of the adequacy of the local health department infrastructure and to make recommendations for future staffing, workforce, and resource needs. AB 240 passed out of the Assembly Health Committee on a unanimous vote, 15-0, and moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee next week.
Communicable Disease Control
AB 526 (Wood) as amended April 6, 2021 – SUPPORT
Assembly Member Jim Wood’s AB 526 would allow dentists and podiatrists to independently prescribe and administer FDA approved or authorized vaccines. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Health Committee next Tuesday, April 13.
SB 102 (Melendez) as amended March 17, 2021 – OPPOSE
SB 102 by Senator Melissa Melendez would prohibit the Department of Consumer Affairs and any licensing board under its purview, as well as the Alcoholic Beverage Control, from revoking the license of any licensee for failure to comply with any COVID-19 emergency order without being able to provide non-compliance with emergency orders resulted in the transmission of the virus. SB 102 was heard in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee this week where it failed passage on a 6-7 vote with one member not voting. CHEAC opposed the measure out of concern for further risking the spread of COVID-19.
SB 306 (Pan) as amended March 24, 2021 – SUPPORT
Senator Richard Pan’s SB 306 was heard in the Senate Health Committee this week. The measure would allow pharmacists to provide expedited partner treatment (EPT) for sexually transmitted disease. The bill requires public and private health insurance to cover home STD kits, adds EPT treatment and liability protections for physicians when diagnosing and treating STDs, and requires third trimester congenital syphilis testing for pregnant persons. SB 306 would allow HIV counselors to perform specified STD tests and would require counselors to provide appropriate counseling and referrals before performing tests. SB 306 was advanced from the Senate Health Committee to the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee on a 9-1 vote with one member not voting. The bill will next be heard on April 19.
AB 654 (Reyes) as introduced February 12, 2021 – WATCH
This measure, authored by Assembly Member Eloise Gómez Reyes, is a clean-up bill for Ms. Reyes’ bill AB 685 that was signed into law last year requiring employers to notify employees who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and to report workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 to the local health department. CDPH is required to post outbreak information by industry on their website. AB 654 adds new language to require CDPH to also report outbreaks by workplace. A broad coalition of employers are opposed to the bill including the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Restaurant Association, and the Western Growers Association, among others. AB 654 passed out of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee this week on a 5-2 vote and now moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 1407 (Burke) as amended March 18, 2021 – SUPPORT
Assembly Member Autumn Burke’s AB 1407 was heard in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee this week. The measure would would require specified nursing schools and programs to include in its curriculum coursework on implicit bias. The measure would also require new nurse licensees to complete direct participation in an implicit bias course and would require hospitals to implement an evidence-based implicit bias program as part of its program that hires and trains new nursing program graduates. CHEAC is proud to support AB 1407 as a way to potentially reduce health and health care disparities among Californians of racial, ethnic, or cultural minorities. AB 1407 was advanced to the Assembly Health Committee on a 15-0 vote with four members not voting.