California Legislature Returns for a Busy April Season

The California Legislature returned to Sacramento after a week-long Spring Recess for what is already shaping out to be a busy April season as Legislators work to meet the April 27 deadline for fiscal bills to be passed by the policy committee of their house of origin. Key activities and bills of interest are provided below. For detailed information, please refer to this week’s version of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart.

Assembly Committee Changes. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced a series of committee changes to take effect immediately. For the Assembly Health Committee, Assembly Member Chad Mayes will replace Assembly Member Brian Maienschein as Vice Chair and Assembly Member Frank Bigelow will replace Assembly Member Marc Steinorth on the committee.

Latino Caucus Bill Package. The California Latino Caucus announced their priority legislation for 2018, which focuses on protecting the rights and improving the lives of all Californians and California communities. Their 20-bill legislative package includes the following bills:

  • SB 946 (Lara) Safe Sidewalk Vending Act
  • SB 974 (Lara) Health4All Adults
  • SB 1108 (Hernandez) Protecting Access to Medi-Cal Coverage
  • SB 1155 (Hueso) Language Accessibility in Courts
  • AB 1037 (Limón) CA Dreamer Service Incentive Grant Program
  • AB 1786 (Cervantes) Articulation Agreements for California Veterans
  • AB 1862 (Santiago & Carrillo) Funding for TPS Immigration Services
  • AB 1877 (Limón) Emergency Communication Translation
  • AB 1885 (E. Garcia) CA Resident Worker Program & Economic Stabilization Act
  • AB 1942 (Santiago) Earned Income Tax Credit
  • AB 2015 (Reyes) Assisting Students with FAFSA and Dream Act Applications
  • AB 2079 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Sexual Harassment Prevention for Janitorial Workers
  • AB 2372 (Gloria) CA’s Sustainable and Affordable (CASA) Housing Act
  • AB 2477 (Rubio & Low) Dream Resource Liaisons
  • AB 2514 (Thurmond) Grant Program for Dual Language Instruction
  • AB 2597 (Arambula) Programs in Medical Education (PRIME)
  • AB 2772 (Medina) Ethnic Studies
  • AB 2885 (Rodriguez) Zero Emission Vehicles Rebates in Disadvantaged Communities
  • AB 2887 (Aguiar-Curry) Farmworker Housing Centers
  • AB 3022 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Retroactive High School Diplomas for Deported Pupils

CHEAC Bills of Interest. Below, we highlight activity from this week related to several bills of interest to CHEAC Members:

Environmental Health

AB 626 (E. Garcia) as amended on April 2, 2018 – Oppose

Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia’s AB 626 was significantly amended in the Senate this week. The amends were largely related to enforcement, health, and sanitation provisions. Recall, the measure would create a new type of food facility define as “microenterprise home kitchens” in the California Retail Food Code. Individuals would be allowed to operate these entities in private home kitchens and sell potentially-hazardous foods. Local health and environmental health departments would be required to permit and inspect these entities.

Some of the most notable recent amends would allow on-site consumption of foods and exempt microenterprise home kitchens from a variety of health and sanitation requirements. Local enforcement agencies would not be allowed to impose food safety requirements different from or in addition to those included in the bill, would be required to provide reasonable advance notice for inspection visits, and would not be allowed to conduct more than one inspection per year (unless consumer complaints occur). The amends also specify that a microenterprise home kitchen permit issued by a county shall be valid in any city within the county regardless of whether the city has authorized such kitchens.

The CHEAC Legislative Committee and Executive Committee continue to analyze these most recent amends and their potential impact. CHEAC and our county partners, including HOAC, CSAC, UCC, and RCRC, continue to oppose the measure over increased risks of foodborne illness and increased regulatory and enforcement requirements beyond the scope and ability of local health and environmental health departments.

The measure has been referred to the Senate Health and Senate Judiciary Committees and is expected to be heard in June.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 2430 (Arambula) as revised on April 4, 2018 – Support

AB 2430 by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula was heard in Assembly Health Committee this week. The measure seeks to expand Medi-Cal eligibility for seniors or disabled individuals by changing the income eligibility from 100% FPL to 138% FPL. CHEAC supports the measure alongside a lengthy list of supporters. The measure was unanimously passed by the Assembly Health Committee and will be heard next in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 974 (Lara) as introduced on February 1, 2018 – Support

SB 974, by Senator Ricardo Lara and a priority bill for the California Latino Caucus, would expand full-scope Medi-Cal eligibility to undocumented adults with income at or below 138% FPL. The measure, sponsored by Health Access California and the California Immigrant Policy Center, is supported by a wealth of organizations representing labor, immigrant rights, clinics, and physicians among others. CHEAC has taken a support position on SB 974, which was passed by the Senate Health Committee on a partisan vote, with Republicans voting no. The measure now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Services

AB 2785 (Rubio) as amended on April 5, 2018 – Support

AB 2785 by Assembly Member Blanca Rubio would require all California Community Colleges and the California State University to provide reasonable accommodations on all campuses for a lactating student to express breastmilk, breastfeed an infant, or address other breastfeeding needs. The bill would also ensure that a student does not incur an academic penalty as a result of using these accommodations and that a student be provided an opportunity to make up missed work.

CHEAC supports AB 2785, which was passed by the Assembly Higher Education and now moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.