Legislature Continues Work on Budget Trailer Bills, Policy Committee Deadline Next Week
The California State Senate and Assembly this week continued with a steady pace of budget actions and policy matters. Legislators face a deadline of next Wednesday, July 14 for policy committees to hear and report bills in their opposite house, and the Legislature’s month-long summer recess is set to begin upon adjournment of session on Thursday, July 15.
In line with the unprecedented budget process this year, the Legislature acted on a handful of budget trailer bills and continue negotiations on a handful of other major investment areas. The Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee this week convened hearings to review education and higher education funding packages, as well as technical amendments to the 2021 Budget Act that was passed last week. These technical amendments include additional funding for wildfire prevention and response and county elections costs for administering the gubernatorial recall set for September 14. The Legislature has yet to act on the health budget trailer bill (AB 133/SB 133), among other subject areas. CHEAC will continue to keep Members apprised of relevant budget developments.
Also of news this week, the California State Capitol reinstated its mask mandate following reports of nine COVID-19 cases among Capitol employees, including four who are fully vaccinated. Lawmakers and staff in the Capitol, Legislative Office Building, and legislators’ district offices will be required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status, and unvaccinated lawmakers and staff must be tested twice per week. It was only weeks ago that the Capitol began to allow fully vaccinated persons to remove their masks while working in their offices.
Below, we highlight several actions on legislative measures of interest to CHEAC Members. For a full update, the latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.
Public Health Infrastructure
AB 240 (Rodriguez) as amended June 21, 2021 – SPONSOR
AB 240 by Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez, CHEAC’s sponsored measure, was heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee this week where it was referred to the Suspense File for action at a later date. The measure 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 make recommendations for future staffing, workforce, and resource needs. CHEAC is joined by HOAC, SEIU California, UCC, RCRC, and Public Health Advocates.
Communicable Disease Control
SB 306 (Pan) as amended June 23, 2021 – SUPPORT
Senator Richard Pan’s SB 306 was heard this week in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. This measure would expand access to various services addressing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including provisions allowing pharmacists to provide expedited partner treatment (EPT) for STDs, requiring private and public health insurance coverage to cover home STD kits, adding EPT treatment liability protections for health care providers when diagnosing and treating STDs, requiring specified health care professionals to provide syphilis screening and testing, allowing HIV counselors to perform rapid STD tests, and allowing Family PACT program reimbursements for STD-related services to uninsured individuals, income-eligible patients, or insured patients with confidentiality concerns. SB 306 was advanced from the Assembly Business and Profession Committee on a 16-2 vote with one member not voting and now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 263 (Arambula) as amended April 15, 2021 – SUPPORT
AB 263, authored by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula, was advanced out of Senate Judiciary Committee on an 11-0 vote. The measure would require all local and state public health orders and occupational safety and health measures to be complied by private detention facility operator. CHEAC is joined by HOAC is supporting the measure, which is now on the Senate Floor.