CHEAC Bill Chart Now Available, Public Health Infrastructure Hearing Set for Next Week

The California Legislature continues to ramp up its activities as policy and budget committee hearings are set for the coming weeks. Last Friday was the Legislature’s deadline to introduce new bills for the 2019 Legislative Session, and, in total, nearly 2,600 bills were introduced.

The CHEAC Legislative Committee met last week to review the first batch of bills introduced this year. The Legislative Committee will be meeting once again in March to review the second batch of new bills and take positions on measures that have a potential impact on public health and local health departments.

Senate Health Informational Hearing on Public Health Infrastructure

Next Wednesday, March 6 at 1:30 pm, the Senate Health Committee will convene an informational hearing on California’s public health infrastructure and capacity. The hearing will explore the role of local health departments, capacity to address ongoing and emerging public health issues, and challenges and possible solutions available to local health departments.

CHEAC has worked closely with the Senate Health Committee to assemble a robust hearing and, in partnership with HOAC, identified panel witnesses featuring many local health department experts, leaders, and staff.

Senate Select Committees Announced

Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins this week announced that the Senate Rules Committee finalized assignments to Senate Select Committees. While the Senate has fewer select committees than the Assembly, some committees of interest include:

  • Select Committee on Social Determinants of Children’s Well-Being – Senator Holly Mitchell, Chair
  • Select Committee on Status of Boys and Men of Color – Senator Steven Bradford, Chair
  • Select Committee on Preparing California’s Future Workforce – Senator Anna Caballero, Chair

Our CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is now available here and includes bills of interest that were identified by the Legislative Committee during our meeting last week. Below, we highlight some of those measures.

Access to Health Services

SB 66 (Atkins) as introduced on January 8, 2019 – SUPPORT

SB 66 by Senate President pro Tempore authorizes Medi-Cal reimbursement at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and rural health clinics (RHCs) for a maximum of two visits on the same day at a single location if the patient has a medical visit and a mental health visit or dental visit. Recall, pro Tempore Atkins last year carried SB 1125 which sought to do the same as SB 66, but the measure was vetoed by Governor Brown due to cost limitations.

Chronic Disease Prevention and Wellness Promotion

SB 347 (Monning) as introduced February 19, 2019 – SUPPORT

Senator Bill Monning’s SB 347 would require labels of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to bear the safety warning, “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.” The safety warnings would be required for vending machines, dispensing machines, and points of purchase for any unsealed SSBs. Recall, Senator Bill Monning carried this same measure in 2017 and Assembly Member Rob Bonta carried the measure in 2018; both previous attempts were unsuccessful.

Health Coverage/Health Care Reform

AB 4 (Arambula) and SB 29 (Durazo) as introduced on December 3, 2018 – SUPPORT

Both AB 4 by Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula and SB 29 by Senator Maria Elena Durazo seek to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to all adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) regardless of immigration status.

AB 414 (Bonta) as introduced on February 7, 2019, and SB 175 (Pan) as introduced on January 28, 2019 – SUPPORT

AB 414 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta and SB 175 by Senator Richard Pan institute a state-level individual health insurance coverage mandate in California beginning in 2020. The measures require Covered California to determine a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance and specify that penalty revenues be directed to improve the affordability of healthcare coverage in California.

Tobacco Control

AB 1718 (Levine) as introduced on February 22, 2019, and SB 8 (Glazer) as introduced on December 3, 2018 – SUPPORT

AB 1718 by Assembly Member Marc Levine and SB 8 by Senator Steven Glazer prohibit smoking and disposal of any cigar or cigarette product on state coastal beaches and in state parks. Both Senator Glazer and Assembly Member Levine have carried these same measures the past several years, all of which were vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.

AB 739 (McCarty) as introduced on February 19, 2019, and SB 38 (Hill) as introduced on December 3, 2018 – SUPPORT

AB 739 by Assembly Member Kevin McCarty and SB 38 by Senator Jerry Hill would prohibit the sale of any flavored tobacco products in the state of California. Authors of both measures point to the significant increase in flavored tobacco product and electronic cigarette device use among youth and young adults in California as the need for the measures.