As Legislature Approaches Deadlines, Policy Committee Hearings in Full Swing

The California State Senate and Assembly this week continued with its steady pace of policy committee hearings as the Legislature approaches upcoming deadlines for measures to be advanced in the legislative process. Next Friday, April 30 is the last day for policy committees to meet and report to appropriations committees bills with fiscal implications introduced in their house of origin. The following week, on May 7, is the last day for policy committees to meet and report to the floor bills without fiscal implications introduced in their house of origin. May 14 is the last day for policy committees to meet prior to June 7.

Following these deadlines, the Legislature is anticipated to shift its focus in earnest again to the state budget. Budget committees and subcommittees will soon begin meeting again to review updated proposed investments set forth by the Governor’s May Revise, which is anticipated to be released by mid-May.

Notably this week, the Assembly swore in Assembly Member Dr. Akilah Weber, who represents the 79th Assembly District in San Diego County. Assembly Member Weber recently won a special election to fill the seat of her mother, Shirley Weber, who is now the California Secretary of State. Assembly Member Akilah Weber was previously elected to the La Mesa City Council and is an obstetrician/gynecologist and assistant clinical professor by training.

Below, we highlight a number of legislative bills of interest to CHEAC Members. For a full update, the latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.

Communicable Disease Control

AB 789 (Low) as amended February 5, 2021 – SUPPORT

Assembly Member Evan Low’s AB 789 would require patients receiving primary care services in an outpatient setting to be offered a Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C screening test if their insurance covers the costs. Follow-up care would be provided, or patients would be referred to a health care provider if the screening test is positive for Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C. AB 789 was advanced out of the Assembly Health Committee on consent and now moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 306 (Pan) as amended March 24, 2021 – SUPPORT

The measure, authored by Senator Richard Pan, was heard in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee this week. SB 306 would allow pharmacist to provide expedited partner treatment (EPT) for STDs. Health care service plans and insurers would be required to provide coverage for at home test kits. Requires pregnancies in the third trimester an additional blood test for syphilis. HIV counselors to perform specified STD tests and requires HIV counselor to provide appropriate counseling and referrals before performing tests. Requires reimbursements in the Family PACT program, subject to appropriation and draw down of FFP, for STD services to the uninsured, income eligible patients, or patients without healthcare coverage with confidentiality concerns who are not at risk for pregnancy or do not need contraceptive services. SB 306 was advanced out of the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee on a 10-3 vote with one member not voting and now moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB 742 (Pan) as amended March 4, 2021 – SUPPORT

Senator Richard Pan’s SB 742 was heard this week in the Senate Public Safety Committee. This measure would prohibit a person from engaging in physical obstruction, intimidation, or picketing targeted at a vaccination site during vaccination site operating hours, as well as one hour prior and one hour after. Violations would result in a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment in county jail not exceeding 6 months, or both. SB 742 was passed out of committee on a unanimous 5-0 vote and now moves on to Senate Appropriations and will be heard on Monday, May 3, 2021.

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Services (MCAH)

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

AB 1046, authored by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio, would require the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency to consult with stakeholders to improve state and counties’ abilities to draw down Medi-Cal funding for evidence based maternal-infant and early childhood home visiting encounters. Developers of the California Home Visiting and CalWORKs Home Visiting programs, LHD divisions, human services, and behavioral services, as well as specified stakeholders, would be consulted. AB 1046 has been placed on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File.

Tobacco Control

AB 541 (Berman) as amended March 2, 2021 – SUPPORT

AB 541, by Assembly Member Marc Berman, was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee this week. The measure would require disorder recovery and treatment facilities licensed under the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to evaluate each new patient or client for tobacco use. If tobacco use disorder is identified, the facility/program would be required to provide specified information and offer treatment or referral for tobacco use disorder treatment. AB 541 was placed on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File where it will be acted upon at a later date.

Vital Statistics

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

This measure, authored by Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, was heard in the Assembly Health Committee this week. AB 751 would remove the sunset date provisions allowing local registrars to accept electronic requests sworn under penalty of perjury, that the requester of a marriage, birth, or death certificate is an authorized person. Additionally, this measure would authorize officials to accept an electronic request from applicants using a process that authentically identifies applicants using National Institute of Standards and Technology Digital Identity Guidelines and other requirements. AB 751 was unanimously passed out of the Assembly Health Committee with a 15-0 vote and moves on to Assembly Appropriations Committee.