Assembly Hears Appropriation Suspense File Measures, CHEAC Measure Advances

On Wednesday, the Assembly Appropriations Committee convened its suspense file hearing, determining the fate of numerous bills amid limited budget resources due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Assembly Appropriations Committee Chair Lorena Gonzalez opened Wednesday’s hearing noting that the committee had referred 188 out of 307 bills to the suspense file on Tuesday, representing over $8 billion in potential one-time and ongoing General Fund expenses.

Wednesday’s hearing lasted about 30 minutes with the majority of measures advancing with amendments to trim down potential General Fund costs. Below, we highlight several bills of interest to CHEAC Members and their outcome in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

For a full update, the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.

Public Health Workforce

AB 3224 (Rodriguez) – SUPPORT – DO PASS

This measure is sponsored by CHEAC, HOAC, and SEIU California and requires CDPH to contract with an entity to conduct an evaluation of the adequacy of local health department infrastructure and to make recommendations for future staffing, workforce needs, and resources.

Access to Health Services


Specifies that an FQHC and/or RHC “visit” includes an encounter between a provider and patient using telehealth in synchronous real-time or asynchronous store-and-forward. Specifies that FQHCs/RHCs would not have to establish an individual as a patient via face-to-face encounter prior to providing telehealth services. The measure was amended on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File to remove provisions around the E-Consult Services and Telehealth Assistance grant program.

Communicable Disease Control


Extends the sunset that authorizes physicians or pharmacists, without a prescription, to furnish hypodermic needles and syringes to those 18 years or older, passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 12-5 vote. This measure is co-sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance, the Health Officers Association of California (HOAC), and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Environmental Health

AB 2276 (Reyes)WATCH – DO PASS

Requires DHCS to ensure all children enrolled in Medi-Cal receive blood lead screening tests consistent with California regulations. Requires DHCS to establish a monitoring system to ensure children receive blood tests. Requires DHCS to require Medi-Cal providers test each child in Medi-Cal pursuant to state and federal laws, regulations, and guidelines. Requires DHCS to notify parents/guardians of children up to six years of age enrolled in Medi-Cal of risks of lead poisoning, requirement to receive tests, and recommendation of test if at risk of exposure. Requires DHCS to annually report on progress toward ensuring blood lead testing.

AB 2277 (Salas)WATCH – DO PASS

Requires DHCS to notify parents/guardians of children enrolled in Medi-Cal when a child misses a required blood lead screening test and specifies the notification shall be included in an annual notice to each family who has not utilized preventive services over the course of a year. Requires contract between DHCS and Medi-Cal managed care plans to require plans to identify on a quarterly basis every child enrolled in Medi-Cal without record of a blood lead test and remind responsible providers of the need to perform a blood lead test.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform


Requires DHCS, as part of their annual Medi-Cal assumptions and estimates, to include a variety of data elements related to drugs dispensed in Medi-Cal, pharmacies billing Medi-Cal, drug rebates, DHCS administrative costs, and any contracting costs for a vendor that administers the Medi-Cal prescription drug benefit. Requires DHCS to establish the independent Prescription Drug Medical Review System. Modifies existing statute to ensure DHCS’ cost reimbursement methodology for specialty drugs is sufficient to provide access to covered drugs.


Expands Covered California affordability subsidies included in the 2019 Budget Act, including additional premium support.


Expands requirements for the Health Care Payments Data Program overseen by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), including requiring OSHPD to convene a health care data policy advisory committee, require data be collected on all California residents, require OSHPD to develop guidance to require data submission from specific entities, define what data should be collected, and the data that should be used.

Injury Prevention


Authorizes CDPH to create the Office of Suicide Prevention and specifies various activities that the office may undertake, including providing strategic guidance to statewide and regional partners on suicide prevention best practices, conducting state level evaluation of suicide prevention policies and practices, and disseminating information to advance statewide progress in reaching populations with high rates of suicide.

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

AB 2178 (Levine)SUPPORT – DO PASS

Adds in statute a deenergization event as a condition qualifying as a state or local emergency.

Vital Statistics

AB 2376 (Flora) – SUPPORT – DO PASS

Removes the sunset provision in statute allowing local registrars to accept an electronic acknowledgement, sworn under penalty of perjury, that the requester of a marriage, birth, or death certificate is an authorized person. This measure is sponsored by the County Recorders Association.