Legislators Break for 10-Day Spring Recess, Will Return on April 18
Upon adjournment of Senate and Assembly Floor Sessions yesterday, California lawmakers began their 10-day Spring Recess. Legislators are set to return to Sacramento on Monday, April 18. When lawmakers return to Sacramento, they face an April 29 deadline to hear and advance bills with a fiscal impact from policy committees to fiscal committees in their house of origin. As such, the final two weeks of April are set to be very busy in Sacramento.
This week featured a whirlwind of legislative activities with numerous policy committees, legislative debates, and press conferences. Legislators continue to grapple with a handful of big-ticket policy issues, including gas prices, behavioral health, gun violence, and criminal justice, that will undoubtedly be top-of-mind as lawmakers return from Spring Recess and prepare to receive the Governor’s May Revise Budget in mid-May.
In other legislative news, Assembly Member Lori Wilson of Solano County was sworn into the seat previously held by Jim Frazier who resigned earlier this year to pursue employment in the transportation sector. Assembly Member Wilson is the former mayor of Suisun City and ran unopposed in the special election to fill the vacant seat. Two other special elections occurring this week to fill other vacant legislative seats appear to be headed to runoff elections in June.
Below, we highlight several measures of interest to CHEAC Members. For a full update, the latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.
Access to Health Services
AB 2320 (C. Garcia) as introduced February 16, 2022 – SUPPORT
AB 2320 by Assembly Member Cristina Garcia would require the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish and administer the Reproductive Health Care Pilot Program to provide funds to community health clinics providing reproductive health services in five counties that agree to participate. AB 2320 was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Wednesday where it was advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on an 11-2 vote with two members not voting.
Chronic Disease Prevention & Wellness Promotion
AB 1953 (Maienschein) as amended March 29, 2022 – SUPPORT IN CONCEPT
Assembly Member Brian Maienschein’s AB 1953 was heard in the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on Wednesday. The measure would require all owners and operators of transit hubs, local parks, public buildings, publicly owned buildings, shopping malls, or municipal golf courses with a water infrastructure source to install and maintain at least one accessible water bottle refill station. AB 1953 was advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 7-1 vote with one member not voting.
AB 1737 (Holden) as amended March 28, 2022 – OPPOSE
AB 1737 by Assembly Member Chris Holden would expand the definition of an organized camp include a new definition of a children’s camp, tasking local agencies with oversight and regulation of children’s camps statewide. CHEAC regrettably opposes AB 1737 with county colleagues CSAC, UCC, RCRC, HOAC, and CCDEH. While we commend the author’s goal to create an oversight and enforcement structure for children’s camps, CHEAC and our partners are concerned with placing the responsibility with local health departments. Instead, CHEAC encourages consideration of assigning this responsibility to an agency with appropriate experience and expertise in oversight of entities with children in their care, such as the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). CHEAC and our county colleagues continue to engage with the author’s office on potential amendments to the measure.
AB 1737 was heard on Tuesday in the Assembly Health Committee and advanced on a 10-5 vote with five members not voting. The measure now moves to the Assembly Public Safety Committee where it will be heard on April 26.
Health Coverage/Health Care Reform
SB 872 (Dodd) as introduced January 24, 2022 – SUPPORT
Senator Bill Dodd’s SB 872 would authorize a county or a city and county to operate a licensed mobile pharmacy unit to provide prescription medication to individuals without fixed addresses, individuals living in county-owned housing facilities, and those enrolled in Medi-Cal managed care plans operated by the county, a health district, or a joint powers authority. SB 872 was heard in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development on Monday and advanced to the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 13-1 vote with one member not voting.
AB 1929 (Gabriel) as amended March 15, 2022 – SUPPORT
Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel’s AB 1929 would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish a community violence prevention and recovery program under which violence preventive services are provided by qualified violence prevention professionals as a covered benefit within the Medi-Cal program. The measure was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday and advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 13-0 vote with five members not voting.
Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Services (MCAH)
AB 1937 (Patterson) as amended March 16, 2022 – SUPPORT
AB 1937 by Assembly Member Jim Patterson would require the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to establish a health expense account for pregnant Medi-Cal and Medi-Cal Access beneficiaries. Beneficiaries would be eligible for reimbursement of out-of-pocket pregnancy-related costs not to exceed $1,250 within three months of the last day of pregnancy. AB 1937 was set to be heard on Wednesday but was canceled at the request of author.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness
SB 1464 (Pan) as amended March 28, 2022 – SPECIAL INTEREST BILL
Senator Richard Pan’s SB 1464 was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, but the measure was pulled from the agenda at the beginning of the hearing. SB 1464 would change existing statute relative to the enforcement of local public health officer orders by local sheriffs from permissive to mandatory. The bill would also require state funds for law enforcement to be withheld from law enforcement agencies that publicly announce they will oppose a public health order and require those withheld funds to be reallocated for public health purposes to the county public health department of the county in which the law enforcement agency operates. Senator Pan indicated during Wednesday’s hearing that the measure may be rescheduled by the end of the month, pursuant to the Legislature’s deadlines for fiscal bills.