The California Legislature wrapped up an extremely busy week of committee hearings, bill negotiations, and amendments, breaking for its 10-day Spring Recess upon adjournment of yesterday’s session. Policy committee hearings stretched several hours – some into the evening hours – as committees considered and acted upon a significant number of measures. Advocates packed the halls of the Capitol, coming out in droves to voice their support and opposition to a variety of measures heard this week.
Recall, policy committees have only one week to hear and report fiscal bills introduced in their house of origin upon their return from Spring Recess on Monday, April 22. Given the approaching deadline, the weeks following Spring Recess are expected to be very busy.
Of note this week, AB 766 (Chiu) was set for hearing in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday; however, the measure was shelved just prior to the hearing at the request of the author. AB 766 would prohibit retailers from offering for sale an unsealed beverage container that is able to contain more than 16 fluid ounces. The measure was introduced as part of a package of bills intended to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). The fate of the remaining measures – bills to prohibit SSB financial incentives, require healthy drinks in checkout aisles, establish an SSB fee, and require SSB warning labels – remain unclear, yet the measures continue to make their way through the legislative process.
Below, we highlight actions from this week of particular interest to CHEAC Members. Our full CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.
Chronic Disease Prevention & Wellness Promotion
AB 138 (Bloom) as amended April 11, 2019 – WATCH
AB 138 by Assembly Member Richard Bloom was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday. The measure would impose a $0.02 per fluid ounce fee on specified SSB distributors. The measure specifies expenditures of the revenues to various state agencies and departments, including the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), to administer grants and allocations to promote health equity, reduce health disparities, and prevent illness, injury, and premature death. AB 138 was advanced to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on an 8-6 vote with one member not voting.
Communicable Disease Control
AB 262 (Gloria) as amended March 27, 2019 – WATCH
Assembly Member Todd Gloria’s AB 262 would require local health officers (LHOs), during a communicable disease outbreak or imminent threat of an outbreak or epidemic, to promptly notify and update governmental entities within their jurisdiction about communicable disease outbreaks that may impact those entities. AB 262 was advanced out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday on a 15-0 vote with one member not voting. The measure is now on the Assembly Floor.
SB 276 (Pan) as amended April 9, 2019 – SUPPORT
SB 276 by Senator Richard Pan would specify that immunization medical exemption request forms may be approved or denied only by the state public health officer or its designee upon determination utilizing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Physicians would be required to utilize a CDPH-developed statewide standardized request form when issuing an immunization exemption for medical reasons, and CDPH must maintain a medical exemption request database.
Advocates in opposition to SB 276 held a rally on the Capitol steps this Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of its upcoming hearing in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, April 23. CHEAC supports SB 276 to prevent and control the spread of infectious diseases throughout the state.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
AB 1544 (Gipson) as introduced February 22, 2019 – OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED
Assembly Member Mike Gipson’s AB 1544 would enact the Community Paramedicine or Triage to Alternate Destination Act to allow local emergency medical services agencies (LEMSAs) to develop local community paramedicine programs. The measure requires LEMSAs to use or establish local emergency medical care committees (EMCCs) and establishes the Community Paramedicine Medical Oversight Committee to advise the EMS Authority on and to approve minimum medical protocols for all community paramedicine programs, among other activities. AB 1544 was unanimously advanced from the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday and now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. CSAC, RCRC, UCC, CHEAC, EMSAAC, and EMDAC remain in oppose unless amended positions.
SB 438 (Hertzberg) as amended March 25, 2019 – OPPOSE
SB 438 by Senator Robert Hertzberg would restrict the use of non-governmental-operated public safety answering points (PSAPs), including 9-1-1 EMS dispatching centers. The measure would circumvent existing oversight activities of LEMSA medical directors to ensure the appropriate deployment and use of EMS resources. SB 438 was heard in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on Wednesday, and witnesses from EMDAC and EMSAAC testified in opposition to the bill. CSAC, RCRC, UCC, CHEAC, EMSAAC, and EMDAC are all opposed to the measure. The measure was advanced to the Senate Health Committee on a 6-1 vote.
AB 377 (E. Garcia) as amended March 25, 2019 – SUPPORT
AB 377 by Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday. AB 377 is the clean-up measure to AB 626 (Chapter 470, Statutes of 2018) which established microenterprise home kitchens operations. CHEAC, along with CCDEH and HOAC, has engaged extensively over the past several months with the author’s office and original sponsors of the measure to seek clarifying and technical amendments around jurisdictional opt-in procedures, local permitting and inspection activities, and exempted food safety and sanitation provisions. Recall, CHEAC and our county colleague organizations strongly opposed AB 626 last year. While CHEAC remains significantly concerned with the potential for increased risk to the public’s health and safety through the operation of microenterprise home kitchen operations, CHEAC is supportive of AB 377 as it provides greater clarity of critical provisions enacted through AB 626. AB 377 was advanced from the Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 13-1 vote with one member not voting.
Health Coverage/Health Care Reform
AB 4 (Bonta) as amended March 28, 2019 – SUPPORT
Assembly Member Rob Bonta’s AB 4 would expand Medi-Cal coverage to all undocumented adults with income at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). AB 4 was heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday in a packed hearing room, largely consisting of immigrant rights and health access advocates. With no opposition during public comment, the bill was advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 11-3 vote with one member not voting.
AB 414 (Bonta) as introduced February 7, 2019 – SUPPORT
AB 414 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta would institute a state-level individual health insurance coverage mandate in California and would require Covered California to determine a penalty for not obtaining health insurance. Revenues generated from fines would be directed to improve the affordability of health coverage in California. The California Nurses Association (CNA) expressed opposition, contending that imposing a penalty fee on individuals who cannot pay for insurance will not push them to purchase coverage they could not afford in the first place. The measure was heard on Tuesday in the Assembly Health Committee and advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on an 11-1 vote with three members not voting.
SB 175 (Pan) as amended April 3, 2019 – SUPPORT
Similar to AB 414 (Bonta), SB 175 by Senator Richard Pan would also institute a state-level individual mandate. SB 175 differs slightly in directing penalty revenues to also cover operational costs of Covered California in administering the individual mandate and financial assistance program, as well as requiring Covered California to conduct specified annual outreach and enrollment efforts among individuals who do not maintain minimal essential coverage. SB 175 was heard in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday and advanced to the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 6-1 vote with two members not voting.
AB 537 (Wood) as corrected March 21, 2019 – SUPPORT
AB 537 by Assembly Member Jim Wood would require DHCS, in collaboration with stakeholders, to establish a quality assessment and performance improvement program for all Medi-Cal managed care plans. Plans would be required to meet specified minimum performance levels (MPLs) to improve care quality and reduce health disparities. DHCS would also be required to develop a plan for a value-based financial incentive program for Medi-Cal managed care plans. AB 537 was advanced from the Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on an 11-3 vote with one member not voting.
AB 645 (Irwin) as amended March 6, 2019 – SUPPORT
Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin’s AB 645 would require licensed firearms dealers to post and firearm packaging to include information on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Department of Justice (DOJ) would also be required to update the firearm safety certificate exam to cover the topic of suicide prevention. AB 645 was advanced from the Assembly Appropriations Committee to the Assembly Floor on a 15-0 vote with three members not voting on Wednesday.
Jail and Community Corrections Services
SB 433 (Monning) as amended April 11, 2019 – SUPPORT IN CONCEPT
SB 433 by Senator Bill Monning was heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. The measure would require the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), in collaboration with CDPH, to establish and oversee the Office of Youth Development and Diversion (OYDD) Grant Program, consisting of up to five three-year pilot programs to be administered by a county health department. Under the grant program, counties would be required to conduct a series of activities in partnership with community-based organizations and local governmental entities related to youth development and diversion programming and services. CHEAC supports the measure in concept and continues to work with the author’s office and sponsors to refine aspects of the measure to make the pilots more workable for county health departments. SB 433 was advanced from the Senate Public Safety Committee to the Senate Human Services Committee on a 6-1 vote.
Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health Services
SB 464 (Mitchell) as amended April 11, 2019 – SUPPORT
SB 464 by Senator Holly Mitchell was heard in the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday. SB 464 would require specified health facilities providing perinatal care to implement an implicit bias program for all health care providers involved in perinatal care within those facilities. Hospitals would be required to provide patients with information on filing a discrimination complaint, and CDPH would be required to track and publish specified maternal morbidity and mortality data, among other activities. SB 464 was advanced to the Senate Appropriations Committee on an 8-0 vote with one member not voting.
AB 1718 (Levine) as introduced February 22, 2019 – SUPPORT
Assembly Member Marc Levine’s AB 1718 would ban smoking and disposal of cigar and cigarette waste at all state coastal beaches or in state parks. AB 1718 was heard in the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday and was advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 10-4 vote. Recall, this measure has been introduced the past several years and vetoed each time by then-Governor Jerry Brown.
SB 538 (Rubio) as amended March 28, 2019 – SUPPORT
SB 538 by Senator Susan Rubio would require manufacturers of electronic cigarettes to submit a written physical description and a photograph of each type of electronic cigarette device to CDPH. CDPH would then be required to make available online all written descriptions and photographs of these products and conduct a public outreach campaign to notify schools and parent organizations of the listings’ availability. CHEAC has taken a support position on SB 538.